Summer Staycation: Explore Colorado Macaroni Kid-Style!

June 5, 2019

Why pay high travel rates to go somewhere with 94% humidity when our summers are gorgeous and full of family fun? Let Macaroni Kid be your guide! Visit some of the best family-friendly places Colorado has to offer, recommended by local Mac Kid publishers.


  • Boulder Creek (Boulder) Fun for younger kids to wade in and older kids to tube in. Keep in mind the flow is fast earlier in the summer so tube at your own risk.
  • Carousel of Happiness (Nederland) The nonprofit Carousel is a magical menagerie featuring 56 whimsical, hand-carved animals on a restored 1910 Looff carousel, turning to the music of a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ. At a $1 per ride, it’s worth the day trip. Before or after, stop by the Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center.
  • Celestial Seasonings (Boulder) Take a free factory tour (children must be 5 or older) and enjoy free samplings of any or all of their teas in the Tasting Room.
  • Gateway Park Fun Center (Boulder) This indoor/outdoor family fun center even has a story time on Tuesdays!
  • Pearl Street Mall (Boulder) A must-see in the summer.  With a rock playground, small splash pad, street performers, great restaurants(or hot dog carts), there’s something for everyone.  Don’t forget the shopping!

Colorado Springs

  • America the Beautiful Park (Colorado Springs) Cool off at the Julie Penrose Fountain this summer. With stunning views of Pikes Peak and the fantasy playground, this park is sure to delight both kids and adults.
  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (Colorado Springs) The results are in and Cheyenne Zoo is ranked #4 for "Best Zoo" in North America! Located at 6,800 feet above sea level, the unique design of the Zoo’s animal exhibits gets guests closer than ever before.
  • Helen Hunt Falls & Starsmore Discovery Center (Colorado Springs) Visit the interactive discovery center at the base of Cheyenne Mountain. Up further, you'll find beautiful falls and a sand-bottom creek that shimmers with gold "fairy dust."
  • Paint Mines Interpretive Park (Calhan) This day trip involves a little bit of hiking so tie up those tennies! Your family will enjoy all the nooks and crannies found in the beautiful Paint Mines.
  • Penny Arcade (Manitou Springs) Enjoy the fun, relaxing atmosphere of Manitou! Play games at the Penny Arcade, dip your toes in Fountain Creek, find unique treasures at all the shops, and enjoy a frozen treat at the Colorado Custard Company, owned by local legend, Matt Carpenter.
  • Patsy's Candies (Colorado Springs) Take a candy tour and get behind the scenes to see how they make their delicious treats!

Douglas County

  • Boondocks Food & Fun (Parker) You can play all day on bumper boats, go-karts, a bowling alley, two miniature golf courses, laser tag, and video games. Special pricing on Tuesdays & Thursdays.
  • Civic Green Park (Highlands Ranch) This fantastic playground has fountains, a wading creek, and plenty of room to run around. The library is right next door. Town Center shops and restaurants are within walking distance.
  • Colorado Renaissance Festival (Larkspur) Medieval fun takes place eight weekends each summer. Enjoy entertainers, musicians, games, great food and drink, and the joust!
  • H2O'Brien Pool (Parker) Cool off on a hot day! Dumping buckets, geysers, an enormous play structure, two water slides, and a splash pad too. Little Squirt Time is only for those under 48" and takes place weekdays from 9:00–10:00 AM.
  • Philip S. Miller Park (Castle Rock) This 300-acre park has a fun playground, a small splash pad, plenty of trails, and an outdoor stair climb. Castle Rock Zip Line Tours and the Miller Activity Complex (The MAC) are also on site.

Downtown Denver

  • 16th Street Mall (Denver) Explore 16 blocks of shopping and dining, plus street performers and plenty of events during the summer months.
  • Denver Mint (Denver) One of the six United States Mints is located right here in our capital! Take a tour and discover what makes our Mint different from the rest!
  • Downtown Aquarium (Denver) Get you an up-close look at underwater life found in various habitats: North America, In the Desert, Under the Sea, At the Wharf, The Rainforest, Coral Lagoon, Sunken Temple, Shipwreck, and At the Beach.
  • Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park (Denver) Fun for the WHOLE family with amusement park rides, a water park, shows, concerts, shops, and more!
  • Greek Festival (Denver) Denver is full of festivals but one of the longest running (50+ years!) is the Denver Greek Festival, held every year in mid-June. Enjoy authentic mouth-watering food, music, Greek vendors, and tours of the Cathedral. Children under 12 are free.

Englewood-Greenwood Village-Centennial

  • Belleview Miniature Train & Children’s Farm (Englewood) Find these low-cost local gems within a 36-acre park. During those hot summer months, cool off with a splash in the creek.

  • Centennial Center Park (Centennial) This popular park adjacent to the Centennial Civic Center features a fabulous splash pad and playground.
  • Family Sports Center (Centennial) If it's too hot or rainy to play outside, this indoor play space has inflatables, bumper cars, a climbing wall, an ice rink, miniature golf, and more!
  • Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA) (Englewood) MOA is comprised of a free indoor museum and outdoor art collections. Take a self-guided walking tour at your own pace.
  • Pirates Cove Water Park (Englewood) It's the perfect water park for families, with three water slides, a lazy river, large sandbox, splash pad, and a huge interactive playground with a giant dumping bucket!
  • The Streets at Southglenn (Centennial) An outdoor shopping center with a library, movie theater, indoor skiing, day spas, painting & cooking classes, and much more!


  • Denver Adventures and Zipline Tours (Conifer)The adventures don't stop with the thrill of ziplining. Denver Adventures is open year-round offering a variety of adrenaline - fueled activities to check out
  • Morrison Natural History Museum (Morrison) It may be small but it is packed with a wide variety of fossils, including mammoth tusks and baby dino footprints. Kids might even get the opportunity to use real paleontology tools to work on real fossils.
  • Mother Cabrini Shrine (Golden) The stairway to the top is called the "Stairway of Prayer" and was built in 1954. Journey to the top our and count the steps to see if there really is 373 to the top. You will find markers along the way to help you keep track!
  • Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre (Morrison) Incredible concerts, classic films (most suitable for adults and teens), and breathtaking views. When concerts aren't scheduled, you can visit the park free of charge for hiking (lots of kid-friendly trails), picnic on the legendary stage, and get a workout on the stairs.
  • Tiny Town (Morrison) Visit a miniature town, take a train ride, and picnic and play at a fabulous playground, all surrounded by our lovely foothills.

Fort Collins

  • Cache La Poudre River Canyon (Larimer County) You can hike, swim, kayak, river raft, hunt, fish, camp, snowmobile, ATV (deep breath), and so much more! Don’t miss Red Feather Lakes, The Great Stupa for a spiritual retreat, and Vern’s Place for one of their famous cinnamon rolls.
  • The Farm At Lee Martinez Park (Fort Collins) This working historic farm features the farm school, silo, and barn, all full of history and animals ready to feed and pet. Horses, pigs, cows, chickens, sheep, and goats are all waiting to see you!
  • The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (Fort Collins) Museum exhibits connect kids to culture, sound, and nature as well as the history of Northern Colorado. Special events for all ages are held in the Otterbox digital dome.
  • Lory State Park (Fort Collins) Get back to nature! Enjoy camping, picnicking, biking and hiking trails for every fitness level, and great nature programs going on all year long.


  • Aspen Grove (Littleton) An outdoor shopping center featuring a movie theater, Gigi's Cupcakes, outdoor festivals and specialty markets, Farmers Market, and more!
  • Bear Creek Lake Park (Lakewood) Love the outdoors? Bear Creek Lake has a swim beach, hiking trails, an equestrian center, fishing, archery, motorized and non-motorized watercraft for rent, yurts for overnight camping, and fabulous year-round naturalist programs for kids, teens, and adults.
  • Clement Park (Littleton) This park has it all... a beautiful lake with a walking path, playgrounds for big and little kids, batting cages and ball fields, a skate park, a library, a splash pad, plus live music and festivals during the summer!
  • Lakewood Heritage Center (Lakewood) Check out the historic buildings of Lakewood, see a concert, or enjoy one of the many festivals that the City of Lakewood has to offer at the Lakewood Heritage Center.
  • Skate City Littleton (Littleton) Cool off or stay dry while the kids burn off some energy! Skate City offers many special events and discounts year round, family skate on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings, and open skating almost every day during the week!


  • LaVern M. Johnson Park (Lyons) One of the most beautiful parks around. The new Whitewater Park beckons to kayakers and tubers to drop in and go for a ride. It has 8 features that are spread out nicely with big pools and eddies. It also boasts a zipline for kids and a swimming hole!
  • Longmont Museum & Cultural Center (Longmont) Check out the new exhibit: TreeHouses! The Museum hosts Movie Nights and Concerts outside and in the beautiful Steward Auditorium. Programs include Discovery Days for preschoolers and Discovery Kids for school-age children.  
  • St. Vrain State Park (Firestone) See egrets, pelicans, and cormorants, and spend a peaceful day in the outdoors. The Blue Heron Reservoir is great for fishing!
  • Union Reservoir (Longmont) Enjoy a variety of water activities, including swimming, fishing, kayaking, and SUPs.
  • Village at the Peaks Shopping Center (Longmont) In addition to great shopping, you can enjoy free weekly yoga, concerts, and family events including their Page to Peaks Series that brings books to life!


  • Benson Sculpture Park (Loveland) Benson Sculpture Park hosts dozens of sculptures throughout the year but the Park comes to life in August with creations from around the world. Just across the road is North Lake Park, featuring the Buckhorn Northern Railroad (Memorial Day to Labor Day), a picnic area, and two playgrounds.
  • Big Thompson Canyon (Loveland) Take a beautiful ride through scenic mountains. This scenic drive becomes Trail Ridge Road, where you can find hiking, camping, shopping, picnicking, rock climbing, and so much more.
  • Carter Lake (Loveland) This local camping area is just the place for scuba diving, swimming, picnicking, fishing, rock climbing, sailing, and water skiing.
  • Chupungu Sculpture Park at Centerra (Loveland) View 80+ sculptures from Zimbabwean artists in this 26-acre park where concerts, yoga, and other family events happen weekly throughout the summer.
  • Windsor Lake (Windsor) Shop, dine, play on the playground, and view historic buildings and the local historical fire station in Downtown Windsor. Then take a short walk to Windsor Lake where you can rent a paddle boat or just relax and enjoy the afternoon.

Macaroni Kid is national! Before you head out on any vacation, visit and use the drop-down menu to see if there is one for your destination. It's a great way to plan your vacation and save money too, since many events listed by Macaroni Kid sites are free or low cost!