Head to Fort Collins for a Fall Micro-Trip the Whole Family will Enjoy
Travel during the past several months of the pandemic has been challenging at best; nonexistent at worst. Thanks to Colorado’s swift response to COVID-19, many of the beloved destinations in our state are ready and able to welcome visitors. We invite you to dip a toe into travel to Fort Collins this fall and winter, with a Micro-Trip – a short visit to explore local offerings that fall into an intriguing category. This month we’ll highlight our Fall Family Field Trip options: the best activities for children and their adult chaperones. Look for another Fort Collins Micro-Trip option in November.
Get hands-on at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery: The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery’s newest exhibit, Mental Health: Mind Matters, opened Oct. 3. On display until Jan. 10, the exhibit aims to build a greater understanding of the importance of mental health and create a safe space for important conversations about mental illness with hands-on experiences. As a bonus, there is no admission charge to the museum during the exhibit’s run. The Museum boasts activities for all ages, including the Digital Dome, an interactive music exhibit, Tornado Tube and the area history display. Visit fcmod.org.
The Cooking Studio: Build skills in the kitchen while creating delicious memories at The Cooking Studio, which hosts family-friendly cooking classes. Kids will enjoy upcoming kids and teens classes including “Burgers & Fries,” “Homemade Ramen,” and “Crepes & Cinnamon Rolls.” Bon appetit!
Fantastic family parks: Fort Collins is home to 7 community parks and 43 neighborhood parks. Here is 1 of our favorites for family fun:
Fossil Creek Park– Why Go: Dino-happy littles love this local play place, which boasts giant Wooly Mammoth and shark climbing structures and a climbing wall embedded with “fossils.”
Look ahead to the holidays: Old Town Fort Collins comes alive during the holidays, with thousands of twinkling lights, a free ice-skating rink (skate rentals are free, too!), new virtual Santa Claus visits and the always-popular Downtown Santas Quest. Families are invited to explore downtown on a quest to find Santa Claus figurines cleverly hidden in storefront windows of participating Old Town businesses. Collect all the unique Santa names and enter to win $450 in downtown gift cards.
Explore a Natural Area: Fort Collins is home to over 50 protected Natural Areas encompassing more than 36,000 acres and more than 100 miles of trail. Hike, bike, boat and more, all for free. Volunteer master naturalists lead eagle watches, skygazing and other events at the Natural Areas (registration required).
For two of the less busy Natural Areas in the network, head to Running Deer Natural Area where you can walk along a flat, easy trail to see the top of a historic fire tower. This interesting and nearly solitary destination features expansive views of the Front Range. Meanwhile, Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area offers outstanding birding in a peaceful setting.
Or, check out these two Natural Areas for unexpected options: Coyote Ridge Natural Area’s Hidden Clues trail heads out from the on-site cabin (located one mile from the trailhead) and includes interactive interpretive signs designed for little hikers. Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area features a raptor observatory, a sod-topped shelter, fun signs and views of the foothills.
Plan ahead for a summer splash: Since it debuted in fall 2019, the Poudre River Whitewater Park has been a perfect spot to spend a summer day. Located on the river just north of Old Town in the popular River District, the park beacons with two boating features for kayakers and tubers, a pedestrian bridge, a riverside terrace with seating and a play area for kids; there’s also access for people with disabilities. Check in on the park throughout the year via the live camera, and plan your visit. While the water’s too chilly for swimming, the area also features the first marker and gateway on the new Heritage Trail. Look for interpretive signs, markers and gateways all along the trail, detailing interesting and ingenious ways humans have interacted with the Poudre River.
Visit a brewery (NEW): Brand new Stodgy Brewing Company (1802 Laporte Ave.) boasts a big front patio and yard area, perfect for social distancing while sipping a Table Saison, Stout or even something from the guest tap, like a gluten-free pumpkin ale courtesy of Holidaily Brewing in Golden. Plus, it’s dog friendly, there’s free WiFi and you can score Waltzing Kangaroo pies everyday or tasty bites from rotating food trucks on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Kid-friendly food favorites:
- Fort Collins Donut Company (FoCo DoCo) serves up fresh, hot donuts in flavors like strawberry rhubarb, salted honey and FoCo Cream (a take on the Boston cream).
- Chick’nCone, features fried chicken stuffed waffle cones.
We all scream: For ice cream, of course. There are so many incredible independent ice cream options in Fort Collins we suggest a “s’cream around” so you can try them all:
Old Town Churn, the latest endeavor from Denver-based Little Man Ice Cream;
City Park Gelato & aMore for a dozen varieties of homemade gelato and fruit-flavored sorbets.
Visit the…landfill??? Calling all kiddos who are obsessed with the garbage truck! Larimer County Landfill’s Garbage Garage Education Center offers fun educational programs and hosts workshops, patio games, story times and other activities. Learn how the landfill works, just how much trash you create, what gets made from the stuff we recycle and more.
Stay Safe Pledge
We are excited to welcome you to Fort Collins and we want to do so in a way that keeps both you and our local residents safe. As such, we ask that you take the Stay Safe Pledge, a shared commitment to take necessary precautions for all of us to stay safe while following recommended health practices. For more information, visit www.visitftcollins.com/coronavirus.
ABOUT Fort Collins:
Fort Collins is a city nestled in the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado. It is home to Colorado State University and has been dubbed the “Choice City” for the number of “best of” lists it tops. It offers a thriving arts and music scene, eclectic shops and restaurants, hundreds of miles of walking and biking paths, a colorful past filled with inspiring characters and access to abundant outdoor pursuits. Downtown Fort Collins is the ideal destination for exploring fine and folk art, craft breweries, independent restaurants and distinctive shops, and festivals and live performances in a lively urban environment.