Greeley, Colorado, started out as a utopian community in the late 1800s -- a place where families could live in peace and harmony with each other and with nature. Though its commune days are behind it, Greeley, just 50 miles northwest of Denver, remains a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities for kids to enjoy.
Learn Something New
Your kids will be seriously impressed by the model railroad at the Greeley Freight Station Museum (gfsm.org). The winding tracks, complete with buildings, scenery and a wharf with working ships, covers 5,500 square feet of space and includes more than 2,000 train cars. Local history is much more entertaining when you learn it by visiting a living history museum, and the Centennial Village Museum (greeleygov.com) brings Greeley’s history to life. Kids can explore period houses, old-fashioned stores and replicas of working farms at this 7-acre museum park.
Explore the Outdoors
Rent bikes to ride on the Poudre River Trail (poudretrail.org). The 1.9-mile ride from Poudre Ponds -- where kids can jump off their bikes to explore the fish hatchery -- to Rover Run Dog Park is not too strenuous. If you don’t mind taking a 10-minute drive south, kids will love the chance to spot deer, wild turkey and other animals roaming at the trail’s Kodak Watchable Wildlife Area. It’s 25 miles from downtown Greeley, but the drive is worth it to see the Pawnee National Grassland (fs.usda.gov). The wild prairie is home to animals like coyote, fox, deer and birds, and its windswept grasses still look much as they did when settlers traveled across them in covered wagons.
Take a Dip
Zip down the speed slide, splash in the activity pool or just float on the lazy river at the Family FunPlex (greeleygov.com) indoor aquatic center. Kids can pop outside to play a round of miniature golf while they dry off. Different parts of the water park are open on different days, so check the online schedule so you know what to expect on your visit. During warm weather, swim outside at the Centennial Outdoor Pool (greeleygov.com) off Reservoir Road. It’s open all summer, with open swim hours in the afternoon.
Engage in Local Recreation
Go early on weekend nights to cosmic bowling at Chipper’s Classic Lanes (chipperslanes.com). The crowd can get a little raucous as the evening progresses, but kids will appreciate the glow-in-the-dark bowling experience. Highland Park Lanes (highlandparklanes.com) has open bowling hours every day of the week, so kids can practice their strike-hitting techniques as often as they like. Mid-week family skate sessions are an ideal time to hit the ice at the Ice Haus (greeleygov.com) ice skating rink with your kids, but if your kids are comfortable on their skates, you can skate at any of the rink’s public sessions.