Family Fun, Colorado Style

Colorado family attractions offer awesome options to inspire, delight and deliver good times... check out the best!

Mesa Verde

Head out for great times with the family at the best attractions in Colorado! The fun is just a short drive, and you'll find interesting, educational and inspiring options among these special places.

Mesa Verde National Park

It's a very special place that is designated as a World Heritage Site, and Mesa Verde (Green Table) National Park is an iconic site for ancient treasures. Visitors marvel at the sophistication of the ancient people who built Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in the park with 150 rooms and 75 open areas. The 21 kiva rooms and an additional 30 rooms have striking residential features -- at one time housing more than 100 ancestral Puebloans. These were their homes for over 700 years, and today they are just part of 600 cliff dwellings and more than 5,000 archeological sites that are among the most well preserved and famous in the United States. Located in the southwest corner of Colorado, Mesa Verde is close to the town of Durango, so on your visit don't miss the kid-pleasing fun of a ride on the historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Address: P.O. Box 8, Mesa Verde, Colorado, 81330
Phone:   970-529-4465
Website: www.nps.gov/meve/contacts.htm

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

They're the tallest sand dunes in North America and an eye-popping sandbox that will get an excited reaction from your kids! Slide down the dunes in an inner tube, roll and play in the sand before you cool off with a splash in Medano Creek, have a picnic, go for a hike, go horseback riding or backpacking... it's a unique wilderness destination just 35 miles northeast of Alamosa, Colorado with plenty of accommodations convenient for a family getaway. The Visitor Center has exhibits and the kids can earn a Junior Ranger's Badge at kid-friendly programs in the park.

Address: 11999 Highway 150, Mosca, Colorado, 81146
Phone:   719-378-6399
Website: www.nps.gov/grsa/contacts.htm

Pikes Peak

Towering above the city of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak was the inspiration for the song "America the Beautiful" and welcomes more than 250,000 visitors to its summit every year, second only to Japan's Mount Fuji. At an altitude of 14,115 feet above sea level, it is just the 31st highest of Colorado's 54 mountain peaks! Weather-permitting, the mountain is open all year and you can drive to the summit on the same 12.42 miles of gravel road that racers run in the annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb, or take it easy and ride to the top on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. There are trails for climbers and those who choose to hike to the top. Notable mountain events include the August Pikes Peak Marathon, when world-class runners make the 26-mile round trip up to the summit and back, and the annual New Year's Eve fireworks display set off each Dec. 31 at 12 a.m. When your day on the mountain is fun and done, Colorado Springs is minutes away and home to more family-friendly attractions, including Garden of the Gods, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and the United States Air Force Academy.

Address: Pikes Peak Highway, Manitou Springs, Colorado
Phone:   719-385-7325
Website: www.pikespeakcolorado.com

Red Rocks Amphitheater and Park

In stunning Red Rocks Park just outside of Denver, the amphitheater has been hosting the world's greatest musical performers for spring to fall concerts for many years. Colorado has welcomed performances by the Beatles and U2, country and pop superstars and talented musical acts to appeal to every age and taste from symphonic orchestra performances to opera. Red Rocks also hosts a summer movie series under the stars. While the shows are wildly popular, Red Rocks is more than a concert venue. It's a geological wonder, and the only naturally occurring acoustically-perfect amphitheater in the world, set 6,450 feet above sea level in 868 acres of spectacular mountain park scenery. There are family and recreational activities all year, including hiking, biking, dining and guided tours -- in addition to the concerts in this magical place.

Address: 18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison, Colorado, 80465
Phone:   720-865-2494
Website: www.redrocksonline.com

United States Olympic Training Center

Every year more than 140,000 visitors tour the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, many of them children with Olympic dreams that come to life during their visit. USOC ambassadors give year-round tours that allow kids a peek at athlete training facilities in the Sports Center Gymnasiums, facilities for weight-lifting and wrestling, the USA Shooting Center and the swimmer's home at the Aquatics Center. Tours also take you to see the service areas for athletes, including coaching, sports science and sports medicine. Tours begin with a short introductory film and last approximately an hour. Life-sized sports figures with narrative panels lead you through the complex and provide information about the various Olympic sports. There's a fun Olympic Shop for Team USA merchandise, interactive kiosks with information on all American Olympic athletes, a 12-foot Olympic Ring Wall and an Olympic Flame display. Dreams of honor and athletic glory start here for America's Olympic hopefuls!

Address: 1750 E. Boulder Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80909
Phone:  719-866-2583
Website: www.teamusa.org

Image of Mesa Verde courtesy of NPS Photo

More Colorado family attractions

Denver Museum of Nature and Science
United States Air Force Academy
Rocky Mountain National Park

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