While downhill skiing at Winter Park Resort tops the list of family-friendly activities in Winter Park, Colorado in the winter months, the area also offers families plenty to do off the trails — indoors and out. Here are two outdoor adventures my family enjoyed on a recent weekend trip to this Front Range mountain town, just 67 miles from Denver, plus a couple of suggestions for indoor fun.
Tubing with Kids in Winter Park, Colorado
I dare say that Winter Park might be the tubing capital of Colorado, with a whopping six different options to choose from in the Winter Park-Fraser valley. We opted to check out the new Coca-Cola Tubing hill at Winter Park Resort, a stone’s throw from the Village and adjacent to the free Vintage parking lot.
Now, this hill is quite different from the lanes I’ve experienced at Keystone, Vail and Beaver Creek. The Winter Park Coca-Cola Tubing hill is short, in comparison to those hills, but it’s got some really fun banked turns! I shrieked and laughed so hard sliding up the sides, thinking at times I just might flip over. Okay, it’s not that speedy and scary — I’m just prone to the melodramatic on fast rides… as you’ll see on this short clip:
When we visited the tubing hill — on a powder afternoon, while most folks were skiing — we never had to wait long in line at the top of the four lanes. We fit in about 10 runs in one hour; cost is $49 per hour.
Now, if you’d prefer lengthier tubing hills, consider the offerings at the Fraser Tubing Hill or Colorado Adventure Park in Fraser. These two spots adjacent to one another are fiercely competitive. Here’s the scene as we drove up to the sites: at the Y in the road, you can choose to go left up to the Fraser Tubing Hill or right to Colorado Adventure Park (where the penguin is pointing).
While we didn’t tube at either place, I did check them out to get the scoop. Fraser Tubing Hill has been in business 42 years and it bills itself as the “original” tubing hill. It has two lifts up the hill, and you get to sit down in your tube as you ascend the lift.
Meanwhile, Colorado Adventure Park — which also offers mini snowmobiling for young children — just opened three years ago. It has one lift up to the top of its hill, and you need to stand for that ride.
Both of these two hills are a bit more “free for all” than the tubing at Winter Park Resort. That is, you can fly down Superman style on your stomach if you like, and it appeared as if no one is standing at the top of a lane to monitor when you can go down as tubers in front of you get out of the way. In fact, there are no lanes; just a big wide, old-fashioned sledding hill.
Still three more options for sledding in the area are the Grand Lake Nordic Center, Ski Granby Ranch and Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA of the Rockies. I highly advise you stop by the downtown Winter Park visitors center to pick up a one-sheet of paper listing all the prices and details for the tubing hills in the area. It’s a handy resource!
Snowmobiling with Kids with Grand Adventures in Winter Park, Colorado
Even if you’ve never driven a snowmobile before, you can take the handles on a guided tour with Grand Adventures, which offers a two-hour “Continental Divide Adventure” that leaves conveniently from its base across the street from Winter Park Resort. Children as young as four can ride as passengers; drivers must be 16 — to my kids’ chagrin! We own snowmobiles, and they tool around our yard and adjacent open space; still, we all enjoyed the very controlled and safe ride through some beautiful high-alpine scenery above Winter Park.
After getting outfitted with required, certified helmets, our group on eight snowmobiles saddled up and got a brief lesson (or reminder) on how to drive the sleds from our guide “Snowmobile Steve.” After that, we set off into the wilderness, always in a single file, admiring the beautiful fresh snow that had fallen the day and evening prior — the snow-covered evergreens were gorgeous!
Here’s a peek at our ride on groomed roads and along narrow trails through the trees:
In addition to tubing and snowmobiling, my family and I had a ball (pun!) bowling at a hip new spot called The Foundry in downtown Winter Park — what a boon for the area! It’s such a great place to not only bowl, but dine on delicious pizza and watch movies in a full-size theater, too. I’ll share more details in an upcoming post, I promise.
On our weekend visit, we ran out of time to check out the Grand Park Community Recreation Center, with its full-size swimming pool, water slide, water sprays and lazy river. Daily admission to this fun spot is open to visitors; just make sure you bring your own towel and lock if you want to use the lockers (both are for sale, but not to borrow).
For more lowdown on what to do in Winter Park with kids, I again suggest stopping by the visitor center, in downtown Winter park — next to Hideaway Park (with a great children’s playground) and across the street from McDonalds. You’ll find smart folks manning the desk, plus loads of maps and brochures — and free stickers for your kids!
I am one of three Colorado bloggers exploring the sights of Grand County, Colorado, this year, courtesy of the Grand County Colorado Tourism Board. Follow our adventures on Twitter with the hashtag #VisitGrandCounty. For more things to do with kids in Winter Park, Colorado, check out my post about skiing at Winter Park Resort.