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From spotting owls and sniffing wildflowers to searching for hidden elves, here are some fun-filled ways to enjoy springtime in Colorado as a family.
Spot a Great Horned Owl | Bluff Lake Nature Center
Give One Year of 5280 for just $16.
The mile-long loop around Bluff Lake is a great place to search for wildlife, including the three baby Great Horned Owls that were recently spotted in one of the cottonwoods by the lake. If you’re really lucky, you might also catch a glimpse a reclusive American Beaver along nearby Sand Creek. Cost: free
Wildflower Walk | Roxborough State Park
The gentle, 1.4-mile-long Willow Creek Trail, which begins by the Visitor Center, is known for its abundance of wildflowers in spring, including tall scarlet and orange paintbrush, purple and white prairie flowers, larkspur, and poppy and copper mallow. Older kids will also like exploring the Fountain Valley Trail, which passes beneath the park’s biggest red rock formations. Cost: $7 day pass or $70 annual pass per vehicle
Plant Some Seeds | Various
Visit your local nursery or hardware store to buy some seeds, potting mix, and containers, then spend a few fun hours planting your child’s favorite veggies and flowers. Place the pots in a sunny window, water them regularly, and watch them grow until early May, when you can safely transplant to your yard. Cost: varies
Watch a Baby Zebra | Denver Zoo
Kids of all ages will enjoy watching the antics of one of the Denver Zoo’s most recent additions—an endangered Grevy’s zebra named Denali, who was born on New Years Day. Cost: $17 for adults, $12 for kids ages 3 to 11, and free for 2 and under
Family Backpack Adventure | Lory State Park
Lory and some other state parks offer adventure backpacks to families with younger kids. These come stuffed with bug boxes, magnifiers, binoculars, guidebooks, and suggestions for activities sure to interest your budding naturalist. Older kids will enjoy exploring the park’s extensive trail network or launching their own boat in one of Horsetooth Reservoir’s sheltered coves. Cost: $7 day pass or $70 annual pass per vehicle
Elf Scavenger Hunt | Denver Museum of Nature and Science
If it’s raining or too windy outside, head instead to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. In addition to towering Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, and T. Rex dinosaurs, the new Mythic Creatures exhibit, and the kid-friendly Exhibition Health hall, the museum has eight painted elves hidden in its dioramas. Can you find them all? Cost: $14.95 for adults, $9.95 for ages 318, and free for 2 and under. A $90 annual family membership is also available.