Coming soon to a school district near you!
By Vicki Martinez
Sing along: “On the first day of winter break, my children said to me…”
“I’m so-o bored!”
If leaping ladies, geese-a-layin’ and golden rings aren’t enough to keep the kids entertained, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Here are 16 fun and family-friendly activities to fill the two weeks and two days while school’s out.
1. Pearl Street Mall
Street performers may be putting on shows while you’re there, and there’s no shortage of places to eat and shop (Into the Wind is especially popular with kids). Let the sunshine warm little bodies while they play among iconic sculptures (animal sculptures at Pearl and 14th streets, and The Buffalo at Pearl and 11th streets). Or, go at night to experience the glittering, sparkling, festive holiday lights.
2. Go Sledding
We don’t recommend doing the “Clark Griswold,” but these slippery slopes will get the heart pumping: Tantra Park, Foothills Community Park, Scott Carpenter Park, Chautauqua Meadow or Harlow Platts Park in Boulder. In Longmont, try the hill at Skyline High School, and if you’re in Lafayette, check out Waneka Lake Park.
3. Visit Valmont City Park
Play a round of disc golf. Bring the bikes and take on the Valmont Bike Park: try the tot track, or watch the gravity-defying pros do their thing on the advanced tracks. Take your pup for a romp at the Valmont Dog Park.
4. Go to Gateway Park Fun Center
With go-karts, mini-golf and a giant arcade, you can spend an entire day at this indoor/outdoor family fun center.
5. Take a Hike
Family-friendly winter hikes:
• Betasso Preserve (Canyon Loop)
• Boy Scout Trail (begin at Realization Point Trailhead)
• Flagstaff Mountain (take the Flagstaff Trail to enjoy the Boulder Star up close)
• First and Second Flatiron
• Marshall Mesa Loop
• Teller Lake
6. Bake Cookies
Aah! Nothing beats the smell of warm cookies straight from the oven. The perfect activity for one of those rare days when we don’t get sunshine!
7. Go Fly a Kite!
8. Learn to Play Go
If you have kiddos or teens who love chess or checkers, consider introducing them to this ancient board game. Go Club meets at the main branch of the Boulder Public Library most Sundays from 1:30–4:45 p.m. in the Children’s Story Space.
9.. Check Out the CU Connection
While the students are away, the family gets to play. You may not get to see Ralphie, but CU has lots to do. How about some bowling, ping pong or board games in a new environment? Head over to The Connection located in the University Memorial Center.
10. Attend Local Cultural Events
There is always something fun going on in our community no matter which town you live in! Art exhibits, musical events, holiday festivals—you name it. Check out our daily calendar to keep up with local events.
11. Take a Scenic Drive
Grab a thermos full of hot chocolate or hot apple cider and head to the mountains! Click the “Scenic Drives” tab at BoulderColoradoUsa.com for ideas. They even have a brochure (in PDF form) highlighting four fantastic forays.
12. Try Your
Hand Feet at Snowshoeing
Boulder County offers plenty of places to give snowshoeing a try:
Eldora Nordic Center // Bald Mountain // Betasso Preserve
Heil Valley Ranch // Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain
13. Have a Hot Chocolate Crawl
Alas! The days of pub-crawling may be behind you, but why not spend an afternoon sipping sweet concoctions of warm, chocolaty delight? Plan your route by Googling “best hot chocolate in Boulder County” or try a few of these: Piece, Love & Chocolate, Ozo Coffee, The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse or Boxcar Coffee.
14. Explore Natural and Cultural Wonders
The CU Museum of Natural History, located in the Henderson Building, gladly accepts donations, but admission is always free. Don’t forget to stop by the hands-on Discovery Corner.
15. Go Ice Skating
- NedRINK in Nederland
- WinterSkate in Historic Downtown Louisville boasts over 6,500 square feet of ice.
- Longmont Ice Pavilion
- The Sport Stable Ice Rink in Superior
16. Grab the Binoculars and Go Birding
» Dowdy Draw near Eldorado Springs
» Lower Skunk Canyon near NCAR
» Sawhill and Walden Ponds
south of Gunbarrel
» Teller Farms in east Boulder
» Waneka Lake Park, Lafayette
» Jim Hamm Nature Area, Longmont
Who knows? Maybe you’ll find the elusive Phasianidae preening in a Pyrus communis (aka, a partridge in a pear tree)