Many people love to vacation in Boulder because of the surrounding scenery, countless thrilling activities, great places to shop and eat, along with a host of other different reasons. Yet Boulder happens to be a great city to visit, especially when you have children. Why may you ask? Because there are many things to do there with your kiddos that won’t cost you a penny.
That’s good to hear, right? It is a great place for family fun. There's history, hiking, lots of fun parks and much more. These are a few of the best free things to do in Boulder with kids!
Pearl Street Mall in Boulder with Kids
Pearl Street is chock full of history. Signs scattered throughout the mall tell the fascinating history of the area — from the courthouse that burned down in a fire in 1932 to stories of the gold rush era.
But the Pearl Street Mall is also a colorful bevy of entertainment. Kids can play on climbable animal sculptures or splash in the spray pad.
A full sized Spiderman beckons passersby into Rocket Fizz. With classic candy and jokes from the parent generation, we had a blast just checking everything out. But beware. While entry into the store is free. There is a good change your kids will work you for some fun candy while there.
Boulder Farmers Market
USA Today, not long ago, ranked the Boulder Farmers’ Market as #1 in the nation. There you will find delicious fruit, fragrant flowers, live music, a fun atmosphere, and of course, plenty of free samples! The market is open on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings from April till November but check with their website to get the exact times, as they tend to change through the year.
Visit Chautauqua Park and the Flatirons
Here capture stunningly-beautiful pictures of you and your family in Chautauqua Park. The park itself is beautiful even with a layer of fresh white snow.
. The best way to explore the Flatirons with kids is by setting out on the Flatiron Loop Trail, where it won’t be too challenging for them compared to other places. Park admittance and parking are free, and your family is sure to have a fantastic day in the great outdoors.
I knew of the Chautauqua Auditorium but it wasn’t until my daughter studied Colorado history this year in Fourth Grade that I learned what an interesting history the whole park has. This made the top of our must-see list of Boulder kids activities.
Wandered into the Ranger Cottage which was filled with animals native to the area, and information on local hikes. The kids will enjoy seeing all the life like animals. The kids coloring and comic books were also a hit with our kids.
Chat with the knowledgeable rangers about the animals, history and local terrain. I had no idea that we had any bats in Colorado let alone the several species of bats native to Colorado. So I learned something new.
Want to take your kids to a location that has excellent scenery and views? Then it’s best to head on over to Flagstaff Mountain, where there are climbing and hiking trails opportunities that are waiting for you. It’s also pretty neat to see the city far below from these heights.
Insider Tip: Check out these other Boulder kids’ activities!
National Center for Atmospheric Research
While its name may not give you the impression that it’s something you can do with the whole family, it is. Mostly geared towards teenagers and adults, your younger children will still appreciate some of their exhibits, including steering a hurricane, touching a cloud, and meteorology exploration. The National Center for Atmospheric Research is free and worth the visit while you’re there.
Some families enjoy hiking more than others, and if this sounds like your family, check out Settler’s Park. Just like with Flagstaff Mountain, you’ll find outstanding views at the top. The Red Rocks Loop is the most popular hiking trail there, and it’s just over a mile in length. The wildflowers are gorgeous there during the spring and summer months.
University of Colorado Kid-friendly Museums
You don’t have to be a student to enjoy the beautiful University of Colorado. You will find the Museum of Natural History, which houses many fun and educational exhibits that the whole family will love. The history museum is free, but they do suggest a donation that’s more than fair. They have ancient artifacts, dinosaur fossils, displays on global warming, while smaller kids will especially love their Discovery Corner. If your kids love art and antique collectibles, you should also head on over to the Art Museum that’s also on campus.
Where to Stay in Boulder
Our family really likes the Embassy Suites Boulder. The spacious suite layout combined with the free nightly manager’s receptions and cooked-to-order breakfasts make it easy for families. Locally created art is scattered throughout the hotel property. The lobby welcomes you with a work by Lindsay Pichaske that features a pink coyote enviously peering from outside the hotel to the lobby inside where a long-eared hare and blue-maned mountain goat reside. Digital frames with chirping birds by David Zimmer line the hallway leading to the restaurant. There's a great little pool where yoga is also hekd during the summer.
These are just a few of the free things that you can do with your kids while you are visiting Boulder, Colorado. Whichever of these you choose, you’re sure to be left wondering how it could be free. For those who know the area, what are some other free things to do with kids that they would enjoy? I’d love to hear from you. Tell us in the comments below!