Aspen's Kid-Friendly Attractions: Where to Take the Little Ones

Aspen's Kid-Friendly Attractions: Where to Take the Little Ones

  • The Sky Residences at W Aspen
  • 05/9/24

Aspen, Colorado, is often celebrated for its pristine ski slopes and upscale ambiance, but it also boasts a wealth of activities that cater to families with children. From outdoor adventures that make the most of its stunning natural surroundings to educational experiences that engage young minds, Aspen provides ample opportunities for family fun. Here’s a guide to some of the best kid-friendly attractions in Aspen that will make your family trip memorable.

Aspen Recreation Center

The Aspen Recreation Center (ARC) is a family favorite, offering a variety of indoor activities that are perfect for a day away from the slopes. The facility includes an indoor aquatic area with a pool and waterslide, an ice-skating rink, climbing walls, and more. It’s an ideal spot for children of all ages to burn off some energy while parents can either join in the fun or relax knowing their kids are in a safe, entertaining environment.

Buttermilk Mountain

Known as the most family-friendly of Aspen’s four ski areas, Buttermilk Mountain is perfect for young skiers and snowboarders. The gentle slopes are great for beginners, and the ski school offers excellent programs for teaching children the basics of skiing and snowboarding. The annual X Games are held here, which can be an exciting event for kids to watch and get inspired by top athletes.

The Ice Age Discovery Center

Located at the Snowmass Base Village, the Ice Age Discovery Center is a fascinating stop for young explorers. This educational center showcases fossils from the Snowmass Ice Age dig, where thousands of bones from ancient mammoths, mastodons, and other Ice Age creatures were found. The exhibits are interactive and designed to educate children about the region’s prehistoric past in a fun, engaging way.

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) offers a fantastic way to learn about local wildlife and natural habitats. With family-friendly programs throughout the year, ACES hosts guided nature walks and educational talks that are perfect for sparking an interest in environmental science. During the summer, the center’s guided hikes are a great way to explore the area’s flora and fauna with expert naturalists.

Silver Queen Gondola

Take a ride on the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain for breathtaking views of the surrounding Rockies. Once at the summit, families can enjoy picnicking, hiking, or just playing in the nature-themed playground. During the summer, there are also yoga classes and live music events, making it a hit for both kids and parents.

Aspen Art Museum

For a dose of culture, take your children to the Aspen Art Museum, where they can appreciate contemporary art through interactive exhibits and children-specific activities. The museum offers free admission and family workshops designed to make art accessible and exciting for kids, encouraging creativity and expression.

Maroon Bells

A trip to Aspen would not be complete without visiting the Maroon Bells, one of Colorado’s most iconic natural landmarks. Accessible by public bus during the summer months, these famous twin peaks are a fantastic spot for family photos, picnicking, and easy hiking. The scenic area also offers a chance to spot wildlife and learn about the local ecosystem through various ranger-led programs.

Crater Lake Trail

For families with older children, the Crater Lake Trail offers a rewarding hike that isn’t too challenging. The trail is about 3.6 miles round trip and offers stunning views of the Maroon Bells reflected in the water of Crater Lake. It’s a perfect way to introduce kids to the joys of hiking in the Rockies.

Wheeler Opera House

The historic Wheeler Opera House is a great venue to catch a family-friendly performance. Throughout the year, it hosts a variety of shows, including live theater, music, and dance performances that can be enjoyed by all ages. The beautiful architecture and rich history of the building add to the experience.

Local Parks and Playgrounds

Don’t overlook the simple pleasure of local parks and playgrounds in Aspen. Paepcke Park, with its open grassy areas and basic playground equipment, offers a tranquil setting for children to play and parents to relax. The park often hosts free concerts and community events during the summer months, making it a lively center for local families.

With these attractions, Aspen is more than just a ski destination—it’s a versatile vacation spot with a wide variety of activities that can cater to the entire family. Whether your kids are budding naturalists, aspiring artists, or eager adventurers, Aspen offers experiences that will enrich their vacation and create lasting memories.

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