Kids and Family Activities in Aspen, Colorado
Learning Activities & Camps
• A Natural. Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) offers a variety of programs for kids throughout the summer. The one-hour Little Naturalist sessions, half-day wildlife classes, and extended Field School courses teach children about their worlds and the creatures who live in it. Topics include Snakes Alive!, Flower Power, and Paws and Claws. (www.aspennature.org; 970.925.5756)
• Hop on Board. Aspen’s public skateboard park has been named one of the best in the country, and legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk confirmed that on a visit last summer. Kid’s can come skate for free or learn to skateboard at the nearby Othello’s Sk8 Shop, which offers instruction and camps. (970.544.8274)
• Be Creative. The Aspen Art Museum offers week-long art programs, as well as special events and classes all summer long. (www.aspenartmuseum.org; 970.925.8050)
• Get Cooking. The Cooking School of Aspen is a state-of-the-art facility where little gourmet cooks can indulge in kid-specific classes, learning basic kitchen skills including how to make some of their favorite foods. (www.cookingschoolofaspen.com; 970.920.1879)
• On Stage. Aspen Theatre in the Park offers Classes for Children, where kids of all ages learn from the masters. Fast Tracks (ages 8-12) and Teen Apprenticeships (ages 13-17) give an inside look into the actor’s studio. (www.aspentheatreinthepark.com; 970.925.9313)
• Listen Up. Aspen Music Festival and School features programs from orchestra to opera, conducting to contemporary music, piano, guitar and more. With a distinguished faculty in addition to 200-plus world-class concerts, master classes, and lectures, the school is an intense musical world of its own, a crucible of artistry that has shaped young classical performers for more than fifty years. (www.aspenmusicfestival.com; 970.925.3254)
• Eddy Out. Aspen Kayak School, operated by whitewater kings Charlie MacArthur and Kirk Baker, offers classes for all ages and levels, from dry land exercises to advanced whitewater rodeo. (www.aspenkayak.com; 970.925.4433)
Fun for the Whole Family
• Rafting. Throughout the spring, summer, and fall, Aspen’s rafting companies offer the perfect activity for families, with river trips on the Roaring Fork, the Colorado, and the Arkansas with everything from mellow one class rapids for beginners to class three or four rapids for older kids and more adventurous parents! Blazing Paddles (www.blazingadventures.com; 970.923.4544) and Colorado Riff-Raft (www.riffraft.com; 970.925.5404) are two of many local outfitters.
• Giddy Up. A family outing in the Wild West wouldn’t be complete without saddling up, and Aspen’s many horseback riding outfitters offer fun and safe trips with endless views. H2J Riding School and Summer Camp is a hands-on equestrian program featuring a summer day camp, private lessons and pony rides for horse lovers, big or small. With two outdoor arenas, a large indoor arena, and experienced, qualified trainers, H2J offers many choices for the beginner, intermediate or advanced rider. (www.h2j.com; 970.923.9297)
• Bike Rentals. The numerous bike shops in downtown Aspen, including Aspen Velo (970.925.1495), Hub of Aspen (970.925.7970), and Aspen Bike Tours & Rentals (970.925.9169) rent mountain bikes, cruisers, specialty cycles (including covered four-seaters built for families), bike accessories for smaller children, and helmets for riders of all ages. A spin around town or down the scenic Rio Grande trail is a sure crowd-pleaser.
• Bike Tours and Mountain Biking Camps. Bike Tours are an easy way to keep the family smiling, as any ride—from beginner to advanced—offers jaw-dropping beauty and thrills. Sun Dog Athletics offers private group mountain biking lessons, a family affair to get the adrenaline pumping (www.sundogathletics.com, 970.925. 1069). Timberline Bicycle Tours (www.timberlinebike.com; 970.925.3586) and Blazing Adventures (www.blazingadventures.com; 970.923.4544) also offer guided rides for all ages and abilities.
• Snowmass Rodeo. Your kids will never forgive you if you skip this one—a real, competitive rodeo on Saturday and Wednesday nights from mid June through August. Feast on a barbecue dinner and special kids’ activities, like learning to rope from real cowboys and getting in on the action at the calf scramble. (970.923.3520)