Top 10 Activities for Kids in Colorado
Like most big changes in our life, our kids are usually part of the reason to make those decisions. Need to be closer to family? Move to another town. Want the kids to go to a charter school, but it has no bus transportation? Find a more flexible job. Kids need to learn to swim? Invest in $$ swim lessons on Saturday mornings. Our move from Arizona to Colorado was not any different. Just a bigger change.
Before we even completed our move to Colorado, we'd bought our season ski passes to Loveland Ski Resort, invested in down jackets and decided our Toyota Prius was great for a desert commute, but wouldn't do well in the snow.
Here I've compiled my list of the top 10 activities for kids in the Colorado Springs area, but there are SO many more out there I haven't listed:
1. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo - Whether you're just visiting or live here, I have to tell you this is the BEST zoo! Nestled on the side of Cheyenne Mountain, you can easily see the zoo in a day. Every time my family goes to the zoo (we are members!), we see either a new animal, experience a new encounter, or see something we've never seen before! In fact, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was voted #4 best zoo in North America by USA TODAY 10Best Readers Choice Awards in July 2020! They've just opened their new penguin and hippo exhibit, welcomed a couple of baby giraffes and a young moose calf is there now too I can't wait to see!
2. Pikes Peak Library District - The libraries in the Pikes Peak region (basically Colorado Springs) are AMAZING! The PPLD libraries are huge, the staff is amazing and they offer so many classes and programs, I'm amazed how many people don't take advantage of this wonderful piece of our community! Complete with Maker Spaces with 3D printers, engravers and many other creative tools, it's easy to learn a new craft. I took my kids to a magic show at the East Library one day and it was the BEST magic show I've ever seen - and it was free!
3. YMCA - The Pikes Peak YMCA branches are fantastic! I grew up doing activities at a local YMCA and love that we have 3 branches within a short driving (or walking!) distance to our house! Memberships are affordable and kids programming, sports and activities are plentiful and flexible for the most busy family schedules. We're currently still in COVID-19 restrictions and the YMCA has been very accommodating. Our oldest daughter was able to participate in a youth basketball summer camp for a week and had a great time while still following social distancing guidelines. My youngest just finished up the school-age swim lessons and I've been enjoying the fitness equipment and classes.
4. Parks - We LOVE how many great parks there are in the Colorado Springs area! After 3 years here, we still discover new parks all the time. One of our favorites is the John Venezia Community Park on the north side of town. Complete with several playgrounds, clean restrooms and a nice splash pad, it's perfect for (nearly) year-round enjoyment!
5. Lost Island Mini Golf - This place is relatively new and has a lot to offer all ages and at affordable prices! Lost Island Mini Golf open 7 days a week and has (2) 18-hole miniature golf courses that are fantastic and effectively themed with dinosaurs, Jurassic Park elements and even a giant King Kong you can see from Academy Blvd. At only $5 per course for kids, it's a perfect outing any time! If mini golf isn't your thing, they also have an inflatable park, a party venue, a snack and drink bar inside and an indoor play place for kids 8 & under. They added an outdoor warrior obstacle course this year that seems to always be full of kids and adults enjoying a challenging workout.
6. Colorado Soccer Buddies - I feel like finding a good soccer program for young kids is like the holy grail of motherhood. I'm no "soccer mom" - I just want my kids to get some outside exercise, learn teamwork and if they happen to have some natural talent, great (spoiler alert - they don't!). Oh - and I don't want to spend a fortune for this when they're young. But for some reason, I've always been disappointed by the programs I've tried before - until Colorado Soccer Buddies! Pricing is affordable and a 50-minute practice once a week is perfect. The coaching staff is top notch - focusing more on quality teamwork, listening and cooperation than trying to coach Olympic athletes. It's a joy to watch and my daughter loves playing! She may still run towards the wrong goal at times, but 🤷♀️.
7. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center - The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has been around for more than 100 years and is a beautiful art museum, art school and also offers Broadway-quality theatre performances. I took my oldest daughter to a performance of Matilda last year and we loved it! My only tip is not to sit in the front 2 rows as you'll be looking at the actor's toes at best (at worst, you'll be looking up their nose!). I'm not theatre or art critic, but the performance quality was incredible! They have fantastic exhibits every few months that all ages will love, including some hands-on kid-friendly exhibits too.
8. Painted Mines Interpretive Park - The Painted Mines Interpretive Park in Calhan, is a great day trip from anywhere in southern Colorado. It's run by El Paso County and is free to enter all year. A short mile or so walk will get you to the painted mines from the parking lot. Wear good walking shoes and be prepared for mud in rainy or snow-melt season! Kids and adults will love seeing the colorful geological formations!
9. The North Pole - Up in the mountains just 30 minutes from Colorado Springs is the North Pole-Santa's Workshop! They're open mid-May through December 24th and is a fun, clean amusement park that's well-themed and complete with over 25 rides, attractions, shows, shops and dining options. The whole family will enjoy a day here!
10. Manitou Springs Penny Arcade - Just a short drive south of Colorado Springs is the Manitou Springs historic penny arcade with fun, classic games the whole family will enjoy! There are cute shops and restaurants right nearby you can visit and make it a fun afternoon!