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-   -   One day in Ft Collins with a 5 and 1 year old (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/one-day-in-ft-collins-with-a-5-and-1-year-old-1019686/)

pantanal Jul 11th, 2014 08:43 AM

One day in Ft Collins with a 5 and 1 year old
 
I will be in Fort Collins for 1 day with my 5 year old and 18 month old in late September. The rest of the trip we'll be in Estes Park (a week) and Boulder (a few days). What do you recommend for a fun day with 2 little ones?

I'll have a car, but don't want to drive out of town since we'll already be driving up from Estes for the day. (We're coming for my husband's work, and he needs to go to Ft Collins for one day. Since we only have 1 rental car, we'll all be going to Ft Collins rather than me attempting to spend a day in Rocky Mt National Park without a car.)

I looked at the Discovery Museum, but saw it had mixed reviews. Generally, my older child loves science museums so I'm still considering this option.

I like seeing college campuses, so am also thinking of visiting CSU and letting the kids run around. I'm sure there are good and cheap places for lunch near a campus, and we could have a picnic on the lawn there.

Other ideas? We'll be there from about 9 am til 3 pm, more or less.

Thanks!

gabriele Jul 11th, 2014 12:37 PM

I have heard nothing but good things about the Discovery Museum from locals. City Park is my favorite place in Ft Collins. It has a lake, picnic areas with playground, ducks, lots of activity and definitely more room to run than on CSU's campus where there will be lots of students on bikes and skateboards and teams may be practicing on fields. Another option is the farm at Martinez Park, which should be just about the right speed for a five year old. Either option off campus would require you to bring along food for a picnic since there are no options in the immediate areas. One last thought - Spring Creek Gardens has a Childrens garden where you may find other young children.

Nelson Jul 11th, 2014 01:08 PM

The negative reviews of the discovery museum are probably in comparison to the old Fort Collins museum. The new discovery museum is more expensive, has less local history, and is definitely geared towards kids. These things could turn off some people.

But I think it should be a great choice for you. The museum is just a couple blocks from the farm at Lee Martinez Park, also great for kids. From either place you can walk the Poudre Trail which follows pleasantly alongside the river. Both directions are good, but maybe heading west (upstream) is a bit nicer. You can also easily walk over into old town Fort Collins, where your daughter might get to see a train.

I think just that area fills up your day and you won't have to drive anywhere once you are in town.

But the Spring Creek Gardens mentioned by gabriele are very nice and worth a visit. Have fun!

pantanal Jul 13th, 2014 04:24 PM

Thanks, these are great ideas. I'm thinking the Spring Creek Gardens would be fun, because it is outside, and my 5 year old could learn about a different habitat (we live on the east coast), and there's even a kids' program the morning we'll be in town! I couldn't find if it is free or not, but either way, I think we'll go. Thanks for the advice!

livetoroam Jul 13th, 2014 08:31 PM

Agree with all the above suggestions. When my kids were little we also enjoyed going out to see the Clydesdales at Budweiser and looking at all the funny creations at the Swetsville Zoo right off of I 25. My kids were inspired to make their own art out of spare parts afterwards. If the weather is bad, you could take them swimming or ice skating at EPIC.

Nelson Jul 14th, 2014 07:58 PM

The Swetsville Zoo is great, but I'm not sure how it has fared since the floods of both last fall and this spring. Hopefully it is back in operation.

Too bad the train that used to go around the cornfield is long gone. But it's a fun place for kids of any age.


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