12 Things To Do With Family in Fort Collins, Colorado

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Fort Collins is a vibrant college town with a lively craft beer scene and abundant outdoor recreation. While popular for its world-class breweries and proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park, Fort Collins also offers plenty of family-friendly activities.

From museums and farms to hiking trails and amusement parks, Fort Collins has something for travelers of all ages. Read on for 12 of the best things to do with family in Fort Collins, Colorado.

1. Explore the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

With expansive galleries featuring dynamic hands-on exhibits, the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is one of the best things to do with kids in Fort Collins. Learn about space exploration in the Space Gallery, conduct fun experiments in the Innovation Studio, and dig for dinosaur bones in the Dinosaur Canyon.

Introduce kids to physics concepts like gravity and friction through interactive play. With thought-provoking exhibits covering science, technology, health, culture and the environment, it’s both fun and educational for all ages.

2. Ride the Roller Coasters at The Farm at Lee Martinez Park

Located just minutes from Old Town, The Farm at Lee Martinez Park is a community park featuring playground equipment, a petting zoo and carnival rides from spring through fall. Families with younger children can ride the kid-friendly rides like bumper cars, carousel and gem mine adventure while teens will enjoy the on-site roller coasters. Catch a magic show during special events or grab snacks like funnel cake and snow cones. With free admission and ride tickets sold separately, it’s affordable family fun.

3. Hike Arthur’s Rock Trail

Offering stunning Rocky Mountain views, Arthur’s Rock Trail is one of the best family-friendly hikes near Fort Collins. The gradual 3-mile loop passes through shaded pine forest before opening up at the base of a large granite rock formation.

After a short scramble, you’re rewarded with panoramic vistas of Horsetooth Reservoir, the plains to the east and mountains to the west. With interpretive signs about the area’s ecology along the way, it’s both scenic and educational. The trail is easily manageable for younger hikers or you can challenge athletic teens to climb Arthur’s Rock.

4. Pick Your Own Fruit at Berry Patch Farms

What kid doesn’t love picking fresh fruit? Let your kids discover where food comes from at Berry Patch Farms, a you-pick berry farm open May through October. Families can pick strawberries, raspberries, apples, pumpkins and fall vegetables from the vine and enjoy tractor-drawn wagon rides around the farm.

Kids will enjoy learning about fruit cultivation from planting seeds to plucking ripe berries. After berry picking, stop by the farm store to buy homemade baked goods like fruit pies and turnovers. It’s wholesome outdoor fun for the whole family!

5. Explore the Butterfly House at Foothills Mall

Escape cold weather by stepping into the tropical butterfly house at Foothills Mall, featuring hundreds of brightly colored butterflies from Central & South America, Africa and Asia. As butterflies flutter freely in a climate-controlled rainforest environment, kids can identify different species with vibrant patterned wings.

When not gazing at butterflies, check out educational exhibits on metamorphosis and the butterfly lifecycle. For an additional fee, reserve a cup of nectar to hand-feed eager butterflies landing on your arm! It’s an up-close butterfly encounter suitable for all ages.

6. Scale the Rock Climbing Walls at Ascent Climbing Gym

From novice climbers to experienced mountaineers, Ascent Climbing Gym offers dynamic indoor rock climbing for all abilities. Families can challenge themselves on over 13,000 square feet of climbing surface area on angles walls built for top roping, lead climbing and bouldering. Kids ages 3 and up can scale junior walls while supervised by professional route setters.

Teens will love clipping bolts on steep overhangs. With daily membership options, it’s a weatherproof activity to burn energy on active family vacations. Ascent’s helpful staff and safety protocols ensure a rewarding experience.

7. Pedal on the Poudre River Trail

Stretching over 18 miles from Windsor to Fort Collins, the Poudre River Trail offers an idyllic family bike ride or walk alongside the riparian corridor. Pedal or stroll past cottonwood forests, wetland areas and the meandering Poudre River with opportunities to spot native wildlife like great blue herons, belted kingfishers and beavers.

Well-managed and paved, the mostly flat trail has gradual ascents making it ideal for parents with small children. Many access points exist near playgrounds and parks for mid-ride diversions. For a longer adventure, continue towards Bellevue or challenge athletic riders to pedal from Windsor Lake to Fort Collins.

8. Meet Farm Animals at McIntyre Farms

From fluffy rabbits to funny fainting goats, kids go cuckoo for farm animals! Satisfy their agricultural curiosity at McIntyre Farms, a family-owned farmstead offering guided tours to meet adorable farm residents like piglets, baby chicks, llamas and more.

Friendly staff explain each animal’s unique traits while kids can brush, touch and occasionally feed select animals with proper supervision. After interacting with their favorite farm friends, families can play a round of mini-golf on the Whimsical 18 hole course, ride down enormous slides and explore the playhouses. It’s farm fresh fun for ages 2 to 92!

9. Experience Hands-On Science at the Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures

Dreaming of faraway places? Embark on an indoor cultural journey through the eyes of a child at the Global Village Museum, an interactive children’s museum focused on art and culture. Kids can climb into the cockpit of a commercial jet, cook foods from around the world, design African masks and craft Japanese origami.

Other highlights include crawling through a kid-sized mock archeological dig and using teamwork to move a giant Egyptian statue. With weekly cultural performances and craft activities included with admission, it creatively sparks curiosity about our diverse world.

10. See Majestic Raptors at the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program

Combining rehabilitation efforts with educational outreach, the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program cares for injured birds of prey with the goal of releasing rehabilitated raptors back into the wild. Free public educational programs allow visitors to observe the raptors and learn about their unique adaptations that make them powerful hunters.

See owls, eagles, hawks and falcons show off their natural behaviors like spreading their wings or ripping apart enrichment objects with sharp talons. With a strong commitment toward conservation, it’s perfect for nature-loving families who want to get within feet of majestic raptors.

11. Make an Edible Fort at Restaurant Fort Collins

Ever dreamed of eating your way through a fort? At Restaurant Fort Collins, families enter an imaginative world crafted entirely of gingerbread to devour gingerbread pancakes topped with candy pieces and frosting inside the fairytale castle.

Make pancake art with squeeze bottles of syrup and sprinkles at your table before constructing graham cracker forts lined with frosting glue and edible embellishments like chocolate rocks, animal crackers and gummy bears. Parents indulge in mimosas while kids customize hot chocolates with flavors like salted caramel and peppermint. With gluten-free/vegan options too, it’s a fantastical dining experience suited for princes, princesses and parents!

12. Skate the Ice at NoCo Ice Center

Lace up those skates for indoor ice skating fun at NoCo Ice Center! Their NHL regulation ice rink hosts open skating sessions perfect for beginners wanting to learn basic skating skills or hockey fans wishing to practice slapshots.

Rent skates if needed and use on-ice walkers, seal skating aids and instructional classes to help new skaters gain confidence on slippery ice. Aspiring hockey players should catch a youth league game for family-friendly spectating. With reasonably priced admissions and party room rentals, NoCo Ice Center is ideal for birthday parties or playdates with friends!

Conclusion


With abundant parks and preserved open spaces surrounding the city, Fort Collins lets families connect with nature while enjoying cultural attractions suitable for kids of all ages.

From hands-on children’s museums and u-pick farms to trails for hiking and biking, Fort Collins delivers memorable adventures for traveling clans.

Ride a historic carousel, interact with exotic butterflies or pick ripe fruit from the vine during warmer months. When winter weather hits, enjoy indoor diversions like climbing walls, indoor skating and flipping pancakes inside a life-size gingerbread house.

With endless options for affordable fun, Fort Collins is an underrated gem for families.

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