The school year is coming to a close, which means kiddos around the Centennial State will soon be basking in their newfound freedom. The luxuries of sleeping in, spending hours at the park and pool, and perhaps getting a bit more screen time than usual won’t lose their luster right away. When they do, take the minis out to pick flowers, spread out the checkered blanket at one of the prime picnic spots around town, or maybe even catch an outdoor flick. By our estimate, that means parents have approximately 45 more minutes before the “I’m bored” refrain sets in.

Stave it off even longer when you gather your gaggle for one (or all) of these experiences. Found all along the Front Range, each activity inconspicuously hides a learning opportunity within a healthy dose of fun. Shhh: School’s in for summer.

Experience the sweet life at Hammond’s.

  • Where: 5735 Washington Street, Denver
  • Cost: Free

If your kids dreamed along with Willy last December, then take them to see the real-life Wonkas at work this summer with a (free!) tour of Hammond’s Candies Factory. Over its 100-plus-year history, the Denver-based confectioner has introduced signature treats that run the gamut from traditional lollipops to gooey Natural Chocolate Mitchell Sweets to downright wacky chocolates like Chicken and Waffles. On your 30-minute trip through the sugary world (don’t worry, no psychedelic tunnels of terror in this workshop), you’ll see where and how more than 5,000 pounds of Hammond’s delights are pulled, twisted, and stretched each day. Then, sample a treat of your choosing—no golden ticket required, but reservations are recommended.

Try intergalactic travel at Fiske Planetarium.

An exterior shot of the Fiske Planetarium
Photo courtesy of Fiske Planetarium
  • Where: 2414 Regent Drive, Boulder
  • Cost: $8 for children/seniors/veterans, $12 for adults

You can take your kids to space this summer even if you don’t have a Jeff Bezos–size budget. Just journey over to Fiske Planetarium, situated in the heart of the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus. Beneath the 65-foot diameter dome, the largest between Chicago and Los Angeles, astronauts of all ages will launch into the stratosphere. Tweens and teens can immerse themselves in solar superstorms and churning black holes, while explorers as young as four will enjoy tagging along with Max the dog and his human Tori as they visit the moon. Adults: Listen closely for familiar narrators like Liam Neeson, Benedict Cumberbatch, and George Takei of Star Trek fame. Many of the films, which typically run for 30 to 45 minutes, are followed by a Q&A with one of Fiske’s stellar staff members.

Pet the whole zoo at Lil’ Buckaroo’s Farm.

A girl leads a baby goat onto a platform
Photo courtesy of Lil’ Buckaroo’s Farm
  • Where: 4738 Weld County Road 5, Erie
  • Cost: $20 for adults, $16 for children four to 17, $12 for kids one to three years, free for kids under one year

Biology class is in session, and it’s all hands-on-fur at Lil’ Buckaroo’s Farm. Established in 2022, the family-owned petting zoo includes an 8,400-square-foot barn filled with “the sweetest animals from around the U.S. that we could find,” says owner Gina Mackovic, adding that they specifically chose breeds with calm dispositions. “Well, except for the rowdy goats,” she adds. The farm brigade includes mini breeds of cows, horses, pigs, and donkeys, along with silkie chickens and Sheldon, the 30-year-old tortoise. Sheep, alpacas, turkeys, cats, and rabbits round out the menagerie. The ever-present farm staff explain what the animals eat and where they prefer to be scratched as they welcome guests to enter the enclosures for a snuggle or two. They also encourage children to ask their own questions, perhaps regarding whether or not Sheldon can feel your youngster stroking his shell (he can!). Guests can visit during one-hour, self-guided tours or join for an event like Toddler Time.

Teach a raptor to fetch at the Broadmoor.

A woman holds a falcon on her gloved hand
Photo courtesy of the Broadmoor
  • Where: 1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs
  • Cost: $209.10 for a beginner’s class

Forget Fido and his slobbery ball. This summer, take the kids to the Broadmoor and watch how humans train birds of prey to return with wild game. Falconry is a 4,000-year-old tradition still practiced today—including by the licensed falconers leading your 1.5-hour beginner’s lesson. You’ll start by getting acquainted with Rip the gyrfalcon (the largest bird of the falcon species and a quartet of hawks dubbed Maverick, Iceman, Goose, and Phoenix. If Leila the Eurasian eagle owl is feeling friendly, you just may feel the whoosh of wind as she soars right above your head. Then, you’re off to the flying field, where the falconer will explain why they use hoods to keep the winged hunters calm and how they use rewards to train birds what to catch before a free-flight demonstration. Parents, get the camera ready for the lesson’s end when your burgeoning bird whisperer gets a chance to safely hold one of these majestic creatures.

Whip up something yummy at the Cooking Studio.

Two kids whisk eggs in a cooking class
Photo courtesy of the Cooking Studio
  • Where: 123 N. College Avenue, Suite 130, Fort Collins
  • Cost: $69 per child for Kids Class, $129 per child for two-day Kids Camp, $138 for parent and child at Parent/Child Class

Have an aspiring Rachel Ray or Bobby Flay on your hands? Help them expand their culinary repertoire from Pop-Tarts and PB&J to coq au vin and bacon-wrapped dates with one of the many classes and two-day camps available through the Cooking Studio. Kids will master foundational cooking and baking techniques like how to properly cut an onion and why it’s important to clean as you go, as well as honing skills that go beyond the kitchen like responsibility, organization, and creativity. “It gives them so much confidence to be trusted to manage the kitchen environment,” says founder and owner Trish O’Neill. “They often go home and make the same recipes at home for their families.” Parents are welcome to cook alongside their kiddo, too. Just opt into one of the Saturday afternoon parent-child lessons.