How many times have we told our kids, “Go play outside!” during the summer? When the weather is nice, there is no better place for our little ones to be — soaking up the sun, moving their bodies, and burning off some of that never-ending energy.
There are plenty of kid-approved outdoor activities in Loveland, from hiking, biking and swimming, to some more unique activities, like playing I-Spy with sculptures, riding a miniature train, and playing a round of mini-golf. Add these ideas to your family bucket list and check them off throughout the summer!
Encompassing 26 acres, Chapungu Sculpture Park is a one-of-a-kind sanctuary at Centerra in Loveland merging culture with nature. This permanent and public outdoor exhibit contains 82 sculptures created by Zimbabwean artisans and plenty of open space to explore. There are plenty of things designed specifically for kids — and there’s even a section themed around children, which can be found if you click “The Children” on the park’s detailed map! Kids especially love climbing the hill near the stage, which is near this area. The park is open 365 days out of the year and there is no fee to explore!
Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch has been family-owned and -operated for more than 70 years in Loveland. This 3,200-acre property offers a “don’t fence me in” horseback riding experience for all ages and abilities. Choose from a variety of scenic ride options ranging from 1–3 hours, and Chow Down Rides, which include food! And for your littlest rider, opt for the Lead-Around Rides, which offers a safe and fun first-time-in-the-saddle experience circling the arena three times. All rides are available year-round, weather dependent. Click here for more information about horseback riding at Sylvan Dale!
Ask anyone about their most memorable hiking experiences in Loveland and Devil’s Backbone is bound to be on the list. This 2,198-acre open space is a natural playground for families, with 12 miles of trails, which connect to Rimrock Open Space and Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, available for hiking, running, horseback riding, mountain biking and wildlife viewing. Take the 4.3-mile, out-and-back Devil’s Backbone Nature Trail to reach the famous Keyhole arch, where you can pose for a group picture! Just make sure you pack enough drinking water and wear plenty of sunscreen, as this trail has no shade.
Got an athlete in your family? Or just an active little one who needs to burn off some energy? Take them to Loveland Sports Park for a day of non-stop play and recreation. This massive park is a wonderland for kids of all ages, complete with a skate park with bowls and a street course, seven full-size soccer fields, playgrounds, a seasonal spray ground, sand volleyball courts, basketball courts, inline hockey rinks, concessions and more.
Cool off at Boyd Lake State Park, home to the 1,700-acre Boyd Lake, perfect for all sorts of water sports. But there’s even more you can do here! That’s why we created an entire guide for the park, which includes information about boating, swimming, biking, hiking, paddleboarding, camping, fishing and more. All types of watercraft, including ski boats, fishing boats, jet skis, sailboats and canoes, use this popular lake situated along the western-most edge of the plains at the foot of Longs Peak.
Benson Sculpture Garden features 170 sculptures from world-renowned artists, all scattered throughout the scenic 10-acre park. It is a fun destination for all ages to explore — and kids in particular will love going on a I-Spy Scavenger Hunt with the Loveland Museum’s Explorers Club! Head to their Virtual Offerings page for a bunch of printables to bring along, including a My Favorite Sculpture Map and a variety of activity pages with lists of “I Spy” fill-in-the-blanks and coloring pages.
Mehaffey Park is a massive 64-acre park with a variety of amenities everyone in the family will love, including a “tree house” playground, a climbing wall, a skatepark, tennis, pickleball and basketball courts, a dog park, picnic areas, an arboretum, a recreation trail, a 9-hole disc golf course, and much more. The Adventure Playground offers non-stop fun for kids, with a climbing wall, a waterfall, boulders/stepping stones, log tunnels, a turbo slide, a treehouse play structure, a wagon playset, a sand box, bucket swings, spinner bowls, and so much more. The water is turned on seasonally, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, weather permitting!
If you have a bike rider or two in your family, spend an afternoon exploring Bobcat Ridge Natural Area on two wheels. This vast scenic area is filled with foothills, ponderosa pines, stunning red rock cliffs, a grassy valley and plenty of wildlife, such as elk, wild turkey and mountain lions. The 4.3-mile Valley Loop Trail is a perfect introductory trail for beginners and little ones, as it offers enough switchbacks and technical difficulties to be entertaining, but plenty of smooth trails and very few obstacles so beginner riders can feel comfortable.
If your kid has shown any interest in golfing, there is no better place to explore their interest in golf than the Cattail Creek Mini-Course. The course was specifically built as a new-to-golf learning facility for all ages, offering 9 holes of mini-course golf that you play with just two clubs and a unique ball specially designed for Starting New at Golf (SNAG) golfers. Here, your kids will learn how to maneuver the course with new full swing, pitch, chip and putt skills. After you’ve practiced on the mini-course with special equipment, you’ll transfer your skills to regulation golf equipment and practice on the driving range. Rates for the Cattail Creek Mini-Course are reasonable, costing just $7 for adults, $6 for kids ages 5-12, and free for children 4 and under.
We love North Lake Park for a number of reasons — the sports courts, access to Lake Loveland, and the beautiful scenery. But our kids have one thing on their minds: the train! That’s right, there’s a miniature train winding through the park Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Buckhorn Northern Railroad includes 1,588 feet of track, a small depot, a tunnel, a water tower, a gasoline-powered engine, two open passenger cars, a cattle car, and a caboose. The train itself is an authentic replica of the actual steam train that once hauled clay from Devil’s Backbone to Wild’s Brickyard, west of Loveland. Riding will cost you just $1 per rider and the train operates Tuesday through Sunday all summer long! For more information about the Buckhorn Northern Railroad, click here.
What are your family’s favorite kid-approved activities in Loveland? Let us know in the comments below!