Aspen a kids’ playground, too
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Coming to the mountains as a family is nothing short of an adventure.
Parents can experience Aspen’s bluebird days with stunning mountain vistas while the kids take part in group skiing lessons where they can have fun and spread their wings. The area offers plenty of family-friendly dining and off-mountain activity to keep everyone happy, so jump in and try a little of everything while you’re here.
Enrolling your kids in ski/snowboard lessons should be your first step. Aspen/Snowmass offers group lessons for children ages 7 to 12 years old. Programs for younger kids ages 3 to 6 are available as well, like Powder Pandas at Buttermilk, and Big Burn Bears at Snowmass. Instructors offer children a comfortable environment to learn to ski or snowboard. Call (970) 923-1227.
For children who are too little to ski, Snowmass’s Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center, (970) 923-8733, offers several types of childcare for ages eight weeks to 4 years. Snow Cubs, also at Snowmass, provides individual care and attention in their Colorado state-licensed day care facility. For reservations or more information, call toll free (877) 282-7736 or locally at (970) 923-1227 for details.
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Even locals need some time indoors now and then to warm up and recharge for another day on the slopes. For a tropical break, the Roaring Fork Valley offers some great indoor pools and recreation centers.
The Aspen Recreation Center, or ARC, on Maroon Creek Road, (970) 544-4100, features waterfalls and a lazy river, not to mention a twisty-turny water slide, lap pool, steam room and hot tub to keep the whole family satisfied. The ARC also boasts a climbing wall and the Lewis Ice Arena, where skates are just a rental away. And for a different kind of snow experience, the ARC has sledding hill just outside its doors.
Snowmass Village now has a brand-new Recreation Center, (970) 922-2240, with a wading pool, lap pool, leisure pool, water slide and hot tub!
For outdoor fun on ice, the Silver Circle Ice Rink, (970) 925-1710, offers skating in downtown Aspen (on Durant Avenue, across from the bus station) from noon to 9 p.m. daily. The fee, which includes rental skates, is $10 for adults and $8.50 for children, age 12 and younger.
Of course, all of this activity makes you hungry, in which case you’ll be on the prowl for a spot with tasty food and a casual, fun atmosphere. In Aspen, Boogie’s Diner (925-6610) is a perfect place to bring the kids, with its homey comfort food and rich ice cream desserts. Or try Little Annie’s Eating House (925-1098), where the tablecloths are checkered and each item on the menu is its own tried-and-true gem, or the Hickory House (925-2313), with its stick-to-the-ribs kid-friendly menu.
There’s also more than skiing around these parts for outdoor family fun. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies specializes in winter snowshoe tours with beautiful scenery, a peaceful walk in the woods, and plenty of information about local flora and fauna. Tours are available on Aspen and Snowmass mountains, and at the ghost town of Ashcroft, in the Castle Creek Valley south of Aspen. Call 925-5756 for details.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get more picturesque, take your kids to the Sing-A-Long by the campfire at the Treehouse Plaza at Snowmass’s new Base Village. For no charge, s’mores and hot chocolate are served while a cowboy strums a guitar and sings songs by the fire. This special apres-ski event takes place on Mondays at 3:30 p.m. A similar event, but with storytellers around the campfire, happens at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Time for a little break from the kids? Here are some baby-sitting services for your romantic night away from the little ones: Aspen Baby at http://www.aspenbaby.com, (970) 319-9435; Aspen Babysitting Company at http://www.aspenbabysittingcompany.com, 970-948-6849; and Mom’s Day Off at (970) 963-8558.
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