Since the Omni Interlocken is situated about halfway between Boulder and Denver, Colorado, the property is a great home base for visiting top family-friendly attractions in both cities, as well as in some smaller towns in between. Here are my suggestions for things for families to see in do when you stay at the Omni Interlocken in the summer months:
This spinning ride is one of dozens for all ages at Denver’s Elitch Gardens amusement park
Butterfly Pavilion, Westminster: Sixteen hundred free-flying butterflies make their home at the Butterfly Pavilion, just a 10-minute drive southeast of the Omni Interlocken. Also see creepy-crawling things like tarantulas, scorpions and beetles, as well as sea cucumbers and horseshoe crabs.
Water World, Federal Heights: A 15-minute drive away is this huge, 64-acre water park that’s open Memorial Day through Labor Day. With more than 40 water-based rides, it’s impossible to fit them all in during one visit, so hit the “must-do” attractions – like the “Mile High Flyer” watercoaster — first. Arrive before the park opens daily at 10 a.m., or after 1:45 p.m. when the price of admission drops.
Pearl Street Mall, Boulder: This pedestrian area comes alive in the summertime – especially on weekends – with street performers and sidewalk fun. Downtown shops and restaurants abound, and there are plenty of places to grab an ice cream cone or other sweet treats. On Saturdays and Wednesdays, check out the festive farmer’s market.
Chautauqua Trails, Boulder: Trailheads for some mellow routes for families can be found in Chautauqua Park, such as the Chautauqua, Bluebell Baird, Mesa loop that’s 1.6 miles. Check out this guide for more in-town hiking options.
Elitch Gardens, Denver: This downtown Denver theme park has thrill rides for older kids – including the adrenaline-charged Mind Eraser coaster – as well as tamer attractions for younger kids. The adjacent water park, filled with raft rides, body slides, lazy river and giant wave pool, is included in the daily ticket price. The park reopens on weekend in October for a family-friendly FrightFest.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science: Exhibits such as Space Odyssey, Egyptian Mummies and Prehistoric Journey are ideal for school-age kids; my children’s favorite is Expedition Health, where they learn how their own bodies work through clever hands-on activities. Steer younger children to Discovery Zone for building with blocks and digging in the sand. There’s also an IMAX theater and planetarium.
Denver Zoo: The Toyota Elephant Passage is a $50 million exhibit that debuted June 1 at the beloved Denver Zoo in City Park; it features six expansive outdoor yards for such animals as Asian elephants, Malayan tapirs and greater one-horned rhinos. Young children like the inexpensive train and carousel rides.
Children’s Museum of Denver: With “playscapes” for kids from infancy through age eight, this children’s museum offers lots of interactive fun. Highlights include a real fire truck that kids can climb on.
U.S. Mint, Denver: Families can take a tour of Denver’s U.S. Mint to learn about the craftsmanship that goes into making coins. Tours are free, but reservations are required.
Hiking at Red Rocks, Morrison: Red Rocks is home to a super-cool amphitheatre, where major musical acts hold concerts in the summer months. But there are also loads of hiking trails for families to enjoy during the day. Pack a picnic or stop by the Ship Rock Grille for lunch. The park is about 15 miles west of Denver.
Editorial Note: Kara received complimentary accommodations and meals at Omni Interlocken Resort. Water World and Elitch Gardens provided complimentary tickets for the day as well. Photos by Kara Williams