The road winds back and forth as your car climbs up into the Rocky Mountains. It’s difficult not to be distracted by the beauty of it all. When you take your family vacation to Estes Park, Colorado, you’ll be surprised at how mesmerized the kids are at the landscape that surrounds you. Traveling with kids is never easy, but when the mountains finally part and a little town appears along the road just below you, it feels entirely possible.
Head on over to the Y-M-C-A!
Keep driving past the lake, through downtown Estes Park, and onward toward the Y. (Take care not to run over any elk along the way. They are everywhere and have no problem meandering into the road if they spot a tasty patch of grass on the other side.) The spectacle of five to ten of these large creatures walking alongside your car is enough to delight the kids, but it’s only the beginning of the fun.
Summer camp for kids of all ages
Do you remember going to summer camp as a child? There was swimming, archery, field games, hiking, and don’t forget about arts and crafts. The YMCA of the Rockies is just like that except there’s no age limit on who can join in on all the excitement. Numerous programs are available throughout the year for young explorers who want to learn about the local wildlife, navigate the wilderness, or experience an age-appropriate hike on the grounds. During our visit, we learned about the rules of safe hiking before departing on a short treasure hunt that had my son positively thrilled before we headed over to partake in some miniature golf.
The seasons come and go, and the Y up in Estes Park has activities that will delight every member of your group whether you take a family vacation in the winter or in the summer. Check out their website to see whether you’ll be snowshoeing or fly fishing during your visit.
Art: No glitter glue required
Some campers adored playing with pipe cleaners and pom poms, but for others, the art cabin was a nightmare. No one, however, can resist the Craft & Design Center at this particular Y. Everyone in the family can find a project they feel passionate about from jewelry making to ceramic painting to leather stamping. We spent a good hour making honest to goodness mosaics and then made some tie dye t-shirts while we waited for our turn to do the grout work—which was a fantastically messy project. The staff in the Craft & Design Center helped us every step of the way and made that stop our favorite one at the YMCA.
Take a ride on the horsey side
On the Y grounds you’ll find Jackson Stables, a wonderful place for the little people to come face to face with horses and ponies. Take a ride in the stunning Rocky Mountains or steer the kids along a short path close to home base where they can feel the independence of riding on their own. Either way, meeting such powerful, majestic animals face to face (and butt to saddle) will have a lasting impact on your smallest family members, just like many of the other activities offered by the YMCA of the Rockies.