Gunnison, Colorado, nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, offers an abundance of natural …
Aspen, the picturesque mountain town nestled in the heart of Colorado, is renowned for its world-class skiing, stunning natural beauty, and vibrant cultural scene. While it may be a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers, Aspen also offers a wealth of family-friendly attractions that will keep children of all ages entertained. From outdoor adventures to interactive museums, there’s no shortage of kid-friendly fun in Aspen.
Explore the Great Outdoors
Aspen boasts an abundance of natural beauty, and there’s no better way to experience it than by getting out and exploring. From scenic hikes to thrilling bike rides, there’s an array of outdoor activities that are perfect for families.
The Maroon Bells, located just outside of Aspen, are often described as the most photographed peaks in all of North America, and for good reason. With their towering granite spires and reflection in Maroon Lake, the Maroon Bells offer a breathtaking setting for a family adventure. There are several hiking trails of varying difficulty levels, allowing families to choose the one that suits their needs. The Maroon Bells are accessible by shuttle bus from Aspen Highlands, making it easy for families to reach this natural wonder.
Rio Grande Trail
For a more leisurely outdoor activity, consider a bike ride along the Rio Grande Trail. This scenic trail follows the course of the Roaring Fork River and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The trail is paved and mostly flat, making it suitable for riders of all skill levels. There are several rental shops in Aspen where you can rent bikes for the whole family, including kids’ bikes and trailers. Pack a picnic and enjoy a day of cycling and exploring the beauty of Aspen.
If your family is up for a bit more of a challenge, hiking Smuggler Mountain is a great option. The trailhead is conveniently located just minutes from downtown Aspen, making it easily accessible. The hike up Smuggler Mountain offers panoramic views of Aspen and the surrounding mountains, and the trail is well-maintained and suitable for families with older children. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, and take breaks along the way to admire the scenery.
Discover Interactive Museums
When the weather isn’t cooperating or you’re looking for some indoor entertainment, Aspen has a selection of interactive museums that are perfect for kids. These museums offer hands-on exhibits and educational experiences that will captivate the young and young at heart.
Aspen Art Museum
The Aspen Art Museum is not your typical art museum. While it does house an impressive collection of contemporary art, it also offers a variety of programs and activities specifically designed for children and families. The museum hosts regular art workshops, where kids can unleash their creativity and create their own masterpieces. It also offers interactive exhibits that engage children in the world of art. Admission to the museum is free, making it an affordable option for families.
Step back in time at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum, which offers a glimpse into Aspen’s rich history. Housed in a beautiful Victorian mansion, the museum features exhibits on silver mining, skiing, and the history of Aspen’s early settlers. Kids will love exploring the interactive displays and learning about the town’s fascinating past. The museum also offers guided tours that are tailored to children, providing a fun and educational experience for the whole family.
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES)
The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is dedicated to educating visitors about the natural environment and the importance of conservation. The center offers a range of programs and exhibits that are designed to engage children and foster a love for nature. Kids can explore the center’s interpretive exhibits, participate in hands-on activities, and even meet some of the center’s resident animals. The ACES also offers guided nature hikes and bird-watching tours, providing an opportunity for families to get up close and personal with Aspen’s wildlife.
Experience Unique Attractions
In addition to outdoor adventures and interactive museums, Aspen also offers a variety of unique attractions that are sure to delight kids and parents alike.
Aspen Recreation Center (ARC)
The Aspen Recreation Center, also known as ARC, is a must-visit for families. This state-of-the-art recreational facility offers a wide range of activities, including indoor ice skating, swimming, rock climbing, and more. Kids can splash around in the pools, take a spin on the ice rink, or challenge themselves on the climbing wall. The ARC also has a dedicated kids’ area with a play structure, perfect for younger children. With its affordable daily admission fees, the ARC provides hours of family fun at an affordable price.
Elk Camp Gondola
For an unforgettable mountain adventure, take a ride on the Elk Camp Gondola. This scenic gondola ride takes you to the top of Snowmass Mountain, where you’ll find a host of activities for the whole family. From a thrilling zipline course to a climbing wall and a bungee trampoline, there’s something for everyone at Elk Camp. Kids can also enjoy the Lost Forest, a nature-themed adventure park with a ropes course, a tubing hill, and a fishing pond. The Elk Camp Gondola operates year-round and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Aspen Ice Garden
If your family enjoys ice skating, make sure to visit the Aspen Ice Garden. This intimate ice rink offers public skating sessions as well as skate rentals. It’s the perfect place to lace up your skates and glide across the ice while enjoying the stunning mountain views. The Aspen Ice Garden also hosts regular ice shows and hockey games, providing entertainment for the whole family. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a beginner, a visit to the Aspen Ice Garden is sure to be a memorable experience.
Where to Stay in Aspen
Aspen offers a variety of family-friendly accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you prefer the convenience of a hotel or the comfort of a vacation rental, there’s something for everyone in Aspen.
Several hotels in Aspen cater specifically to families, offering amenities and services designed with kids in mind. These hotels often have spacious rooms or suites that can accommodate families, as well as on-site restaurants and recreational facilities. Some hotels even offer kids’ clubs or babysitting services, giving parents a chance to relax while the kids have fun.
If you prefer the privacy and flexibility of a vacation rental, Aspen has a wide selection of properties to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a cozy cabin in the woods or a luxurious mountain chalet, you’re sure to find the perfect rental for your family. Vacation rentals typically offer multiple bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and other amenities that make traveling with kids a breeze.
Plan Your Family Adventure in Aspen
From outdoor adventures to interactive museums and unique attractions, Aspen offers a wealth of family-friendly fun. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or an extended vacation, there’s no shortage of activities to keep your little ones entertained. So pack your bags, gather the family, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Aspen, where fun and excitement await at every turn.