If you’re already plotting how to keep your kids entertained this summer beyond the local park and swimming pool, check out these spots to explore, get dirty, take in the natural beauty, and let kids be kids. These mini outdoor adventures require minimal planning and travel time, as they are all within a 30-minute drive of Boulder. Expand your repertoire of family-friendly stops that can easily be squeezed in between lunch and naptime. However, you may find yourself wanting to stay longer as you slow down to savor the simple pleasures of summer.
- Whimsy Farm, Boulder. Enjoy the sweetness of summer at Whimsy Farm, a pick-your-own fruit farm with no shortage of character or charm. Connect with nature and enjoy simple pleasures like their one-of-a-kind raspberry maze, toy trains, classes, events, art and more. Kids will delight in finding the golden raspberries at the center of the maze. Parents will delight in not having to pack snacks for once and instead let your children pick snacks fresh from the vine. If you are looking to enjoy a little bit of “fruitopia” be sure to visit Colorado’s only commercial blueberry farm. Check out what fruits are in season for picking here: http://www.whimsyfarm.co/
- Coot Lake / Tom Watson State Park, 63rd St. Boulder. Watch your kids light up as they explore this flat 1.2 mile loop around Coot Lake offering an art walk, wildlife reserve, and picnic spots with scenic views of the mountains. Parents, bring your cameras, as you will want to Facebook your child’s adorableness with a backdrop that’s downright breathtaking. The well-maintained trails connect to the Boulder Reservoir, allowing you to expand your adventure into a full afternoon if desired. A playground at Tom Watson State Park is conveniently located across the street if your child hasn’t already exhausted himself on the trails. Visit http://www.bouldercounty.org for more information.
- Ya Ya Farm & Orchard, Longmont. With a name like “Ya Ya,” one can only expect this spot to be off the “cuteness charts.” And rightfully so. Take in the natural beauty at this historic, century-old farm specializing in U-pick-it heirloom apples and family-friendly activities. Walk the scenic grounds that boast over 800 apple trees, enjoy an apple cider donut, feed the horses or plan a night-time camp fire with a few other families. http://www.yayafarmandorchard.com/
- Bobolink Trailhead, Boulder. The trailhead, located just west of the intersection of Baseline and Cherryvale roads, offers a fun, flat trail to explore along the creek. Pack a picnic, wade in the water, and meander the trails. Bicycles are allowed on the paved Greenway section of the trail. Visit https://bouldercolorado.gov for more information.
- Sunflower Farms, Longmont. You can’t help but smile the moment you step foot onto Sunflower Farm. This working farm has hours available for the public to enjoy this magical spot. Kids can explore an old abandoned airplane, tree house, tractors, sandbox and more. From animals to ziplines, your family will adore this farm. Parents, you will want to high five yourself after visiting this place. Don’t miss the Friday evening FarmFest this summer.
- Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat, Boulder. What was once an open-pit gravel mine has evolved into wildlife habitat that spans 102 acres. Bring your binoculars as this wetland boasts some of the county’s best bird watching. Older kids will be entertained exploring 3.5 miles of trails, ponds, and marshlands. Feel like “Parent of the Year” after your child explores and learns about this rich wetland ecosystem first-hand. Located close to the intersection of 75th St. and Valmont St. Visit http://www.bouldercounty.org for more information.