Spring's arguably never been more welcome than it is this year. The air is fresh and cool, the sun is likely shining, and there are lots of things to do outside with your kiddos in Boulder, famous for its love of outdoor fun. Here's how to plan a spring getaway right now.
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Downtown Boulder’s brick-paved Pearl Street Mall is filled with flowerbeds that bloom with upwards of 15,000 tulips in springtime. The timing of the buds’ opening is, of course, up to Mother Nature, but you will often see the tulips begin to pop up in early April, with peak time often happening mid to late April. Bring a camera and make a day of it with Pearl Street’s amazing shopping and dining.
We've got a guide to some of the best wildflower hikes, and included is a wildflower identification guide. Make a game out of who can spot the most wildflower varieties on the trail. As early as late March, you'll start to see pasque flowers and spring beauties coming up, and then wild irises and Oregon grape moving into mid-spring — along with many other varieties. Please remember that wildflowers "grow by the inch and die by the foot," so tread carefully and don't pick any of these lovelies.
Prepared-Parent Tip: Always bring sunscreen and plenty of water for everyone. And now's a good time to teach the little ones about Mountain Manners.
Boulder's has exploded with more than 90 murals over the last few years. Many of them have QR codes next to them so you can read a description or listen to an audio clip from the artist. Another option is this public art walk, which is great for families and takes you through downtown, with plenty of places to stop for snacks and drinks.
Prepared-Parent Tip: Our mural guide marks which ones are in family-friendly locations.
Take a little walk down vibrant Pearl Street, with its colorful flower boxes and restaurants that have opened out onto the street for open-air seating. Start off right at Piece, Love and Chocolate on the West End of Pearl, and then burn off the sugar you all ingested as you make your way east, stopping at the Boulder Book Store to read a book or two, Into the Wind kite and toy shop, and the climb-able animal sculptures between 14th and 15th streets. Along the way, you’ll see some mesmerizing street performers, balloon artists and plenty of lunch spots.
Prepared-Parent Tip: Your best bets for potty stops are at the public restrooms at 13th and Pearl, Peppercorn (hidden in the back among the table linens) or the Capital One Cafe. Be sure to be a good patron and buy a little something if you're gonna use the facilities.
Boulder is surrounded by farmland, and spring is a great time to visit to meet...CUTE BABY ANIMALS! One such farm is Sunflower Farm, which has a few new fuzzy little lambs to greet. You'll need to make a reservation online for Farmfest Public Hours, which will grant you direct contact with your favorite farm animals. Enjoy the huge shade trees with incredible tire swings, sit on a tractor and discover an old airplane, sandboxes, bicycles, hammocks and free-roaming chickens, among many other things to explore.
Prepared-Parent Tip: Leave your pets at home. And always call ahead to check hours (sometimes farmers have to close unexpectedly to work the fields or tend to the animals) or to see if you need a reservation.
Good, old-fashioned family fun awaits at Gateway Park Fun Center, where you can play mini-golf, drive go-karts or swing away in the batting cages.
Just minutes from downtown Boulder is Setters Park, a trailhead and hiking area that includes Red Rocks Trail. Take this short hike to end at a summit of otherworldly ochre-colored sandstone formations that are perfect for kiddos to scramble around on, as they invent imaginary worlds and games.
It’s a blast to watch Boulder’s hard-core cyclocross riders negotiate the bumps and turns at Valmont Bike Park, but it’s even more fun for parents to watch their own kids try the Tot Track, designed for striders and tricycles. If they get bored with that, there’s a Tot Lot playground to climb on. The views are gorgeous, so bring some snacks and sprawl out on the picnic tables.
Prepared-Parent Tip: Very nearby Valmont Bike Park is the Boulder Municipal Airport. If your wee ones are into airplanes, take an extra 10 minutes to pull up outside the runway and watch gliders and small planes land and take off.
There are lots of expanded outdoor patios available for dining in Boulder. The city has closed a few roads to through traffic so that restaurants can open additional seating right on the street. You'll need to wear a face-covering to any restaurants and can remove it for eating or drinking. Restaurants are allowed to serve guests inside at limited capacities, too. Read more about Dining Safely in Boulder, which includes a map of street closures for outdoor dining.
Prepared-Parent Tip: Most Boulder restaurants are kid-friendly, so don't worry too much about where to go. You'll be welcomed just about everywhere.