If you’re looking for the best things to do in Boulder with kids, this is the place. We recently visited and really packed our day with fun activities. We didn’t get to do everything we wanted (there’s a lot), but made a list of fun things to do for next time we visit. I’ll share my list for fun family activities in Boulder, CO so you can also enjoy all this fun city has to offer.
Let’s Jet, Kids! uses affiliate links. As an Amazon (and other networks) Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. It is no extra cost to you.
Table of Contents
A Little About Boulder
Where is Boulder?
Boulder, Colorado is a town located slightly northwest of Denver. It’s considered a laid-back, friendly town, filled with outdoorsy, loving people.
Boulder is also a college town, home to one of the University of Colorado campuses (often called “CU”.) This gives the town a vibrant energy, great transportation, and plenty of fun activities.
Boulder is well known for its array of outdoor recreation and wide choices of hiking trails. It’s also well known for the sandstone Flatirons that welcome you to the city and appear as a common symbol of the town.
Best Family Activities in Boulder, CO
For the best things to do in Boulder with kids, check out this great list of family friendly activities. Some are free, some are not, but all are fun and worth a visit.
1. NOAA Research Center
At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research center, you can learn about the many aspects of communication, ocean, and space.
Much like at the Discovery center in Colorado Springs, you can watch a presentation of Earth on a 6 foot, 3-D sphere.
Head to the Space Weather Prediction Center to learn about the weather in space, where solar eruptions affect the weather for up to 93 million miles.
Learn about the Global Monitoring Division, which analyzes air across the globe in their clean air observatories (located all over, like Alaska, Hawaii, Samoa, Greenland, and more).
Note: Tours are every Tuesday, but currently not running. Check for updates to see when tours will begin again.
2. National Center for Atmospheric Research
1850 Table Mesa Dr
With some overlapping topics as the NOAA, you can get a nice, kid-friendly, hands-on experience at the Mesa Lab visitor center at the NCAR. This will be one of the most interesting things you do in Boulder with kids.
Learn all about weather and the climate by playing games and checking out exhibits. Stop in the theater to watch an educational video about weather and climate, touch a cloud and learn about the effects on wind on the earth, and be enlightened about steps we can take to help control climate change.
You can do all this on your own, with a guided tour on your phone, or with a public tour lead by an employee.
Check out the public tours that run (currently 3-4x a week at noon). They are free and no reservations are required (though you can sign up so they know to expect you!)
3. Heritage Center at the University of Colorado (CU)
1600 Pleasant St
*Closed for renovation until 2026. Virtual galleries are available in the meantime!
If you’re looking for some more educational things to do in Boulder with kids, then head over to the university where plenty of opportunities abound. They probably won’t realize they’re learning because they’ll be having so much fun.
The Heritage Center is home to the history of CU, with yearbooks, over 40,000 photos, and even a replica of the University made out of 1 million Legos. You can also check out the Space Center Gallery which features CU astronauts, space suits, and even an Aerobee rocket.
Free to visit
4. CU Art Museum
1085 18th Street
Meander through the impressive collection of art and exhibits. Or get more hands on.
The second Saturday of the month offers programs to get the community involved in the art process by making an art project. This is great for families!
Free to visit
5. Museum of Natural History at CU
In the Henderson Building, 1030 Broadyway St
You can enjoy rotating exhibits through the Museum of Natural History.
Or, get more involved in your visit. Children can participate in finding the Pinyon Mouse in each gallery, read books and do puzzles in the Paleontology Hall after looking at fossils, and count rings on the trees and explore leaf fossils in the Tree Space.
Free to Visit
6. Fiske Planetarium at CU
2414 Regent Dr
Families will love catching a show at the planetarium. The full size dome features films that talk about black hole, stars, planets, gravity, and mapping the night sky.
In addition, you can also attend laser shows and “liquid sky” shows that are set to music.
Purchase your tickets in advance to reserve your spot!
7. Hike at Chautauqua Park
900 Baseline Rd
Some of our favorite family activities in Boulder include getting out in nature to enjoy the fresh air. We loved Chautauqua Park and the variety of trails.
Home to the trails that lead to the Flatirons, Chautauqua Park is a great place for family activities in Boulder. There are lots of trail options in the open space hiking area, varying by difficulty and distance so you can pick the just-right one.
We loved the Flatirons loop, which wasn’t too hard, but gave some great views of Boulder as we got near the Flatirons.
You can also take the slightly shorter Chautauqua Trail with similar payoffs.
Right near the parking lot is a huge, green turf area at Chautauqua Park. The park also has a playground, sport courts, picnic areas, and a garden.
Dogs may join, but must be on a leash (unless they have gone through the Voice and Sight program, which takes at least a month)
8. Float the Boulder Creek
Pick a nice, hot day to jump into the Boulder Creek on a tube. This ideal family activity in Boulder is a fun way to relax and keep cool.
There are a lot of opportunities to start your float. For larger, faster rapids, begin at Eben G. Fine Park on the west side of town (don’t go any further upstream than this as the water conditions are more dangerous for tubing).
If you want a more gentle stretch, put in at the library for a relaxing float.
And of course, use common sense. The early summer months will likely have higher water levels, with fast-moving currents. Later summer months are typically more gentle. But any month you go, use judgement before you hop in.
9. Or Walk the Boulder Creek Path
If you don’t feel like floating the river, you can always just walk along it instead. Pack a picnic and take advantage of beautiful little spots along the river to enjoy lunch.
The Boulder Creek Trail is great for all ages and is accessible, allowing all to enjoy a nice walk through Boulder.
The path consists of both paved and gravel sections, but flat and groomed to allow strollers and wheelchairs. The entire path is 7.2 miles and goes from one end of town to the other, east and west.
As you walk along, you’ll encounter views of the city, the mountains, and of course the creek. The creek is a great place to take a dip to cool off.
10. Fish Observatory at Boulder Creek
Millennium Harvest House- 1345 28th St
Boulder Creek is filled with Rainbow and Brown Trout. To get a cool view of these fish, head to the Fish Observatory along the Boulder Creek. You can find it behind the Millennium Harvest House hotel. Right behind is a trail and bridge, and to one side you can go down below to see the little round window that are below the river.
Some of these windows appeared to be painted over, but there was one that seemed clean. Even at that, the water can be murky. But it’s still cool to see if you can notice any fish below the water.
11. Take a Tea Factory Tour at Celestial Seasonings
4600 Sleepytime Drive
If you ever drink tea, then you’re probably familiar with the brand Celestial Seasonings. Their headquarters is in Boulder and you can take an affordable tour ($5) to see how their tea is made.
The tour is available to everyone over the age of 5. Enjoy 45 minutes on site as you learn about the process of making these tea products.
Then, you’ll get to choose samples from over 100 flavors of teas.
Tours are available Tuesday through Saturday, every hour on the hour from 10am to 5pm.
If you like taking tours of big brands (<– like a free candy tour in Denver), be sure not to miss this one!
12. Walk Along Pearl Street
Pearl Street is one of the most famous streets in Colorado (rivaling Colfax or 16th Street in Denver). It’s definitely the most popular street in Boulder.
Pearl Street is home to Pearl Street Mall. The entire section of the mall is pedestrian-only traffic. It’s filled with shops, restaurants, and plenty of entertainment.
Along Pearl Street we found magicians, chess players, balloon animal artists, and play areas for the kids.
We enjoyed the hands on fountain, splash pad, and climbing on play rocks.
It was also the perfect place to stop for a hot dog and ice cream. (We already ate lunch, but hey, we were on Pearl Street and trying to soak it in.)
In the past, I’ve also seen jugglers, musicians, guys on stilts, and other street performers. Pearl Street is a fun are to walk around and enjoy the heart of Boulder.
Is this really one of the family activities in Boulder that kids will like? Well, I asked my kids at the end of the day, after a long day of exploring, what their favorite part of Boulder was.
My daughter said Pearl Street. It’s just a really fun area.
(And I’m sure having ice cream had some influence on her answer.)
13. Drive Up (and hike) Flagstaff Mountain
Flagstaff Mountain is a popular place to go for picnics and incredible views. Take Flagstaff Road up the mountain about 4 miles. You’re now at Realization Point, which is a great place to get out and enjoy the scenery.
If you want more movement, you can take one of the many trails that begin at Realization Point. Tenderfoot Trail is a great one for families as it’s only about 1.6 miles and pretty easy. For a little shorter, try the loop made by the Ute and Rangeview trails at just over a mile.
Whether you are in it just to drive up for the views at the top or to explore the trails when you get there, Flagstaff is a beautiful place to enjoy.
14. Farmer’s Market
13th Street, between Arapahoe and Canyon Blvd
With dates extending beyond just summer months, the local Farmer’s Market is a fun event you can attend not just once, but twice a week.
Everything sold at the Boulder Farmer’s Market is a result of locally grown and created products. The goal is to create equitable food access and support local farmers and agriculture.
Be part of the community by spending just $5, or adding just 5 things to your bag for purchase as part of the Take5 initiative to support farmers.
Choose from fresh and locally grown produce, enticing herbs, or even tamales and other food stands ready to serve up a quick lunch. It’s all from nearby sources, and all delicious.
Kids can join, but pets will need to stay behind.
Catch the market on Saturdays from 8 am to 2 pm, or on Wednesday evenings from 4 pm to 8 pm. The market runs from late spring to fall. Check exact dates.
15. Play or Relax at Boulder Falls
Located on Boulder Canyon Drive
Just a short drive through the Boulder Canyon will bring you to one of the easiest hikes in Boulder. In fact, it’s more of a walk up and down stairs for a mere .1 mile to reach the beautiful Boulder Falls.
The falls is a gorgeous place deep in the canyon to snap some great photos or dip your feet (carefully) into the creek.
We enjoyed finding some larger boulders at the bottom of the falls to sit on while the kids hopped from rock to rock and splashed their feet.
This is one of the easy things to do in Boulder with kids that doesn’t cost anything and is memorable for the whole family.
16. Swim at Boulder Reservoir
5565 N 51st St
The Boulder Reservoir is home to a great lake with a nice beach area. As a bonus, there are lifeguards on duty for added safety.
Take the boat out, grab the paddle board, or just play at the swim area at Boulder Reservoir for the day. With 700 acres, there’s plenty of space for lots of fun water activities.
Pack a picnic, or if you’re there Thursday through Sunday in the summer (shortened schedule by the end of August), you can grab some lunch at the Reservoir Cafe right on site.
Murtisol Paddle Board
This is the paddle board we have and we LOVE it. Easy, quick manual inflation, wide platform, and AFFORDABLE!
Where to Stay in Boulder
Boulder has plenty of options for where to stay. The Residence Inn is perfect for families because it offers great location, amenities, and large apartment style rooms (option) for extra space.
Enjoy an indoor pool, small market with snacks for purchase, fitness area, spacious rooms, and easy walking (under 20 minutes) to a few top attractions in Boulder at this TOP RATED hotel.
Things to do in Boulder with Kids: Wrap Up
As you can see, there are so many great family activities in Boulder that can last a few days! We especially loved the waterfall and hiking around the famous Flatirons. Pearl Street is always a must, too, when visiting Boulder with kids. We can’t wait for the Heritage Center to open back up so we can get a live view of the impressive Lego replicas of the university campus.
If you are staying in Denver, then Boulder makes a great day trip. Pick a few activities that look most appealing to you and spend a day in Boulder.
What are you most looking forward to when visiting Boulder? Hopefully you’ve found lots of great ideas of things to do in Boulder with kids for your next visit.
SAVE TO PINTEREST!