Both a charming mountain town and a year-round recreation destination, Estes Park is one of our favorite communities in Colorado. As the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, it offers everything you need to embark on an outdoor adventure: scenic drives, a full range of hikes and bike rides, fishing, rock climbing and more. But even outside this destination park, the village is home to tons of attractions for more adventure, local shopping, sweet treats, tours, go-karts, costumed family portraits and more.
In this guide, we rounded up all the necessary kid-friendly activities to make sure everyone in your group has a great time. For a guide with even more things to do, check out Everything You Need to Do When You Visit Estes Park.
Video courtesy of Trout Haven Resorts
Operated by Trout Haven Resorts, this fishing pond offers fun activities all year long. During the spring and summer, guests can enjoy hassle-free fishing with a mountainous backdrop. The pond is regularly stocked with Rainbow Trout, no license is required, and their team provides all the equipment, including bait! During the winter, the pond turns into a winter wonderland complete with ice fishing, ice skating and skate rentals. For all the details and prices, click here.
Based right here in Estes Park, the Green Jeep Tours team uses their famous bright green jeeps to take guests on off-road wilderness adventures, elk viewing tours, hiking tours, brewery tours and more. You can explore all their options available throughout the year here.
The Stanley Hotel is much more than just a luxury hotel. In addition to its historic rooms, legendary grounds and destination dining services, its storied and haunted past reaches back more than 100 years, making it one of the most famous hotels in the country. Guided explorations of those legends include The Historic Stanley Day Tour, the F.O. and Friends Family History Tour designed specifically for children 8 and under, and The Historic Stanley Night Tour which takes you through the hotel and grounds in the dead of night.
In addition to the stories, the possible haunts and the luxuries available at the Stanley, guests can also enjoy the hotel’s partnership with Kent Mountain Adventures Center to do everything from adventure hikes to ice climbing!
In 1935, the Slack family opened The Taffy Shop and it has been a landmark of Estes Park ever since. In 2014, another local family took the reigns, as well as the original secret recipe which has always been kept in a safe deposit box. The gourmet taffy is made by hand and from scratch right in the store where you can taste it and take some home.
At this award-winning portrait studio, the entire family can take part in playtime and capture memories along the way. Their team offers hundreds of costumes and props so everyone can dress up in old fashioned costumes, then they take high-quality portraits finished with a classic, western look. To check out their work, go to the Facebook page here.
The only park of its kind in the area, Open Air Adventure Park is an aerial adventure park that puts you anywhere from 10 to 21 feet above the ground. Up in the air in harnesses and climbing on ropes, guests have 90 minutes to explore 32 different elements which range from easy green to hard black. This attraction is seasonal and you can get more information here.
YMCA of the Rockies offers an experience every Colorado family should enjoy at least once. On the grounds of the Estes Park Center, they offer lodging, camps, outdoor adventure and family activities. That long list of kid-friendly fun includes campfire reservations, an 18-hole mini-golf course, an indoor roller skating rink, horseback riding with Jackson Stables, archery for adults and children 6 years and older, and so much more. And with your purchase of the Day Pass, you get access to tons of these activities at no extra charge! To see the full list of activities, click here.
Rocky Mountain National Park is the most popular outdoor recreation destination in Northern Colorado for tourists and locals alike. It spans 415 square miles, offers both drives and hikes, 300 miles of hiking trails, native wildlife like elk, bald eagles and bighorn sheep, winter activities, wilderness camping, and more.
To begin your explorations, we recommend The 9 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park to See Fall Colors and The 10 Best Hiking Trails Near Estes Park, Colorado.
A Northern Colorado destination for family fun, Fun City is a seasonal, outdoor entertainment facility complete with the iconic, giant rainbow slide, a bungee trampoline, miniature golf, bumper boats and bumper cars, go-karts and more. To see everything your group can do, click here.
SK Horses operates two seasonal stables in Estes Park. Cowpoke Corner Corral is located just 3 miles from downtown Estes Park at the edge of Roosevelt National Forest and National Park Gateway Stables is located at the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. Each one offers various options for warm weather rides through the surrounding wilderness—from pony rides for kids and one-hour group rides to full-day rides that climb all the way up to Ypsilon Lake.
Estes Ark might be one of the most unique shopping destinations in the state and its located right off Highway 34 in Estes Park. The building itself was built in 1994 and is shaped like Noah’s Ark. Inside, you’ll find an extensive stuffed animal collection, books, games, toys and a slot car racetrack.
Estes Park Museum explores the history of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park through exhibits on local wildlife, vintage vehicles, historic natural disasters, old pioneers and more.
If you have a favorite kid-friendly activity in Estes Park, tell us about it in the comments below!