The coldest part of the year is here, but the kids are restless! Boulder is known for its amazing outdoor activities for families in the warmer seasons, but it also offers some great, warm indoor activities that families can enjoy when the air is too cold for comfort. I’ve compiled three fun and FREE! Boulder, CO indoor activities for kids.
#1 CU Museum of Natural History
The University of Colorado’s Museum of Natural History earned the #1 spot by being fun, educational, interactive AND parent-friendly! The museum offers kid-inspired exhibits (right now — butterflies and dinosaurs!) and a cute gift shop on the main level. In the lower level, kids will have a great time in the interactive play and learning area. Right outside the play area parents can enjoy a nice, FREE cup of coffee or tea in the museum’s BioLounge with comfortable seats and inviting atmosphere. Family-friendly bathrooms are located upstairs. While there are beautiful staircases in this beautiful, old building, there is also a centrally-located elevator making the museum handicapped and stroller-friendly. Admission is free, donations are accepted. The gift shop offers a fun array of science-inspired items. The museum is open Monday – Friday 9-5, Saturday 9-4 and Sunday 10-4. Paid parking is located South of the museum.
#2 NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research)
NCAR’s Visitor Center is an excellent spot to take the kids on a cold winter’s day. Here, they can learn about weather and climate with interactive displays. Kids can play with clouds and even create their own tornado! Other exhibits include Sun-Earth Connections, Layers of the Atmosphere, Climate Discovery and more. Guided tours are available from 12-1 on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, or you can opt to move through the exhibits on your own. The visitor center is open on weekdays from 8-5 and weekends from 9-4. NCAR offers a cafeteria that is open weekdays (except holidays) for breakfast, 8:00 am – 9:30 am and lunch, 11:30 – 1:30 pm (Cafeteria accepts only cash). Admission is always FREE to the public! Parking is free.
#3 Boulder Public Library (Main Library)
Boulder offers five public libraries in different areas around town, but my favorite for families is the Main Library location on Arapahoe Avenue in Central Boulder. I’m focusing on this location for it’s fun Children’s area as well as the Seeds Library Cafe, a full-service coffee shop right inside the library! The Children’s area is glass-enclosed, allowing kids to make some noise without disturbing other patrons and offers a vast collection of books as well as hands-on activities, a story time meeting area, and kid-sized computer desks and seating. The area has its own private bathrooms for kids & caregivers. The Library is open Monday – Thursday 9am-8pm, Friday & Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 12-6. Monday – Friday the parking for the first 90 minutes is free, additional time can be purchased for $1.25/hr. Saturdays and Sundays parking is always free.
Parents will enjoy the Seeds Library Cafe, located on the bridge overlooking Boulder Creek between the main library and the arts & media area. The cafe is operated by the Boulder County Farmers’ Markets and offers not only coffee and espresso drinks but breakfast and lunch as well. The cafe is open Monday-Thursday from 9-5, Friday & Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 12-5.