Winter Scene 2010: Winter fun for kids

Turn off the TV and make cold weather into family time

Jefferson Dodge


Just because the
weather turns cold
and that white stuff
starts falling from
the sky doesn’t
mean you should park your
kid in front of the television.
Boulder County has a plethora
of activities that are perfect
for children during the winter

From snow sports to local
recreation center programs,
there are lots of opportunities
to get the kids out of the
house and moving their bodies,
whether it’s after school or on
the weekends.
And some are cheap, if not

So turn off those video
games and get out of the
house to experience some of the amazing stuff that
the little ones can do in the winter right here in
Boulder County.
Here are some of the highlights:

Play in the snow: The first choice, of
course, is to take the kids up to Eldora, whether they
prefer one plank or two. Children 5 and under are
only $8 for the whole day, and lessons are available
for ages 4 and up ( Aside from skiing
and snowboarding, there are a host of snow-related
activities that sometimes go overlooked, like
snowshoeing and sledding. Don’t forget making snow
forts, snowmen and snow angels in the backyard.
Followed by hot chocolate, of course.

Head to a rec center: The county’s recreation
centers and YMCA of Boulder Valley (www. offer programs for kids when the playing
fields are covered with snow and ice. In addition to
mainstream indoor sports like swimming, basketball
and volleyball, there are kids’ programs in a variety of
other areas, including science, ballet, music and art.
Even jumping rope.

Paint a pot: From Color Me Mine in Boulder
( to Crackpots in
Longmont (, let your young
ones exercise their artistic side by painting their own
piece of pottery.

Check out a museum: You’ve got your traditional
museums, like the Boulder History Museum
at 1206 Euclid Ave. (, and then
you’ve got a kid-centered one like the WOW!
Children’s Museum in Lafayette (www.wowmuseum.
com), which has really cool, hands-on stuff for children
of all ages. There are also museums at our local
university, like the Heritage Center (
at the top of Old Main and the CU Museum of
Natural History ( And don’t
forget the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
( at 1750 13th St.

Go ice skating: There are several options for
skating in the county, and we recommend the outdoor
ones. There’s just something about being bundled
up and inhaling that clear, crisp, cold air. And several
of these rinks offer skate rental. In addition to
the rink in downtown Boulder at One Boulder Plaza
(, there is the Longmont
Ice Pavilion at Roosevelt Park (
us/REC/ICERINK) and WinterSkate in downtown
Louisville at the Steinbaugh Pavilion (www.bceproductions.
com/winterskate). In addition, Nederland’s
tennis court complex is converted into an Olympicsize
ice rink in the winter (

Visit a climbing gym: There are several to
choose from, especially in Boulder, or you could
swing by one of the local rec centers that have
climbing walls. Kids love to climb, and you don’t really
need much gear, since most of these places will provide
harnesses and climbing shoes if you need them.
Two places to check out locally for lessons are The
Spot Bouldering Gym ( and
Boulder Rock Club (

Let ’em bounce: Longmont has a place
called B&C Bounce Town, at 1821 Lefthand Circle,
where you can let your children get all of that excess
energy out by running and jumping through inflatable
castles, slides and mazes. And you can just chill on a
comfy couch nearby with your iPhone. (www.

Take them to the
library: I know, I know, this
is pretty old school, but, yes,
they still have those places
where people go to read and
check out books. And the
county’s libraries have great
kids sections for all ages.
There are also story hours
where adults read stories
aloud, reviving the magic of
those days gone by when families
gathered together to hear
bards tell tall tales and spin
yarns. This is a good opportunity
to remind your children
that life is not just about video
games and iPods and TV.

Go bowling: Talk about
old school. Longmont and
Lafayette still have bowling alleys, and in Boulder you
can bowl at The Connection in the University
Memorial Center on the CU campus. Centennial
Lanes in Longmont is at 110 E. Ninth Ave. (www.centennial-, and Lafayette has the Coal Creek
Bowling Center at 550 W. South Boulder Rd. (www.

Check out the fun center: The Gateway
Park Fun Center ( in
north Boulder, off of Hwy. 36, is now open yearround,
and there are indoor activities if the weather
is harsh. This is one of those ultimate playgrounds for
kids and adults alike. The center features go-karts,
miniature golf, batting cages, a human maze, an
arcade, inline hockey and a driving range.

Finally, if you want to stray outside of Boulder
County, there is a whole world of winter-suited wonder
for youngsters in and on the way to Denver,
from the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster (www.butterfies.
org) to the Denver Museum of Nature and
Science ( and the Denver Zoo, with
its special winter Zoolights displays (www.denverzoo.