What to do with Toddlers in the Winter in Aspen
We’d like to welcome Stephanie Hirsch as a contributor to AspenRealLife. Stephanie is a full-time mother, blogger, and ghostwriter who has spent her career in copywriting, blog and website design, ghostwriting books, and even running a nutritional tea company, and she is exactly what this blog is needing, to talk about what to do with our little ones.
Toddler Activities in Aspen
My child doesn’t even say two-syllable words yet and I’m plagued with the perpetual fear that he’s going to look at me with his heart-wrenchingly blue eyes all misty and utter these words, “Mom, I’m bored!”
It began haunting me this summer as I watched him happily toddling around our yard, chucking rocks he dug out of the ground into the Frying Pan River. It was amidst the very sun and warmth of summer that the threat of Winter Blues hung ominously over my head.
Living on the river has its perks as well as its drawbacks. Namely, there are no sidewalks. There are no playgrounds for eleven miles. And running to the store to get the garlic you forgot at Whole Foods costs you a precious 60 minutes in the car. Do you pay the toll and risk a fussy baby strapped in the backseat, or go granulated?
During the summer, our time was spent hopping from playground to pool to hiking trail. We literally never got bored in this valley. But now that it’s icy and he is not as of yet of “skiing” age (a milestone more significant to locals than a Bar Mitzvah), we’re getting a major case of the wiggles.
What’s a mom to do with little ones in the snow? A ton, actually! I’ve been exploring for two months and I’m eager to share my list with you. Without further ado, here’s your definitive guide to playing in and outside in the Roaring Fork Valley during winter.
Aspen Winter Activities For Kids
No matter where we call home in the Roaring Fork Valley, you’ll feel the warm magic in the air in Aspen; especially in the winter!
But Après Ski isn’t the only hot ticket in town for the winter. In fact, there are countless family activities that you can make an afternoon, day, or evening of.
Locals’ Tip: If you’re heading up-valley to play in Aspen but you don’t want to shuffle kids across town from your parking spot, find the Downtowner App in the App Store on your mobile device to request free rides anywhere in town.
Pitkin County Library
Visit the Pitkin County Library at 120 N. Mill Street for Preschool Storytime Mondays; Baby, Toddler, and Preschool Storytimes; in addition to After School Wednesdays for all ages. You may pop in on crafts, stories, running around, science, or even music.
I was delighted to see that the Pitkin County Library is now participating in 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. It’s a national program to help parents track the reading of 1,000 books before their child starts kindergarten. What’s more, for every 100 books you read your child, he or she will earn a small prize and their name will go up on our windows under how many books they have heard. Once they hit that 1,000 book mark they earn a little something special and their picture will go up in the window.
Skiing lessons with Aspen Snowmass start at age 2, and you can read all about them here. Choose to send your little one to a morning half-day or a full day of group lesson with children in their age group, with consideration of the child’s potty training progress.
The full day is from 9:30 to 3 p.m. and includes “child care”, lessons, a lift ticket, equipment for the day (including a helmet) and lunch. A half day will cost parents $199 in-season and a full day will run $239.
The Aspen Recreation Center, or “ARC”
One of the first things my new mommy friends raved about when I moved to the valley was the ARC. The ARC isn’t just an indoor pool, but this state-of-the-art rec center is a virtual theme park for children located by the Aspen High School and Aspen Highlands Ski Area, at 0861 Maroon Creek Rd.
Swimming at the ARC includes a water slide, diving board, lazy river, hot tub, and family swim area. Lessons for little ones start at 6 months of age and you have the choice of either group or private lessons.
You and your wiggle worms will enjoy a 32-foot climbing tower, a snack bar, an ice rink, and work out facilities in addition to the swimming at the ARC. (My kid loves to roll trucks around the floor while I get my sweat on in the gym, lucky me!)
Best yet, the ARC hosts Winter Wonderland Sledding, Skating, and Ice Hockey parties during the winter season.
You can also choose to throw private parties at the ARC. The birthday room rental fee is $150 for two hours. This includes admission to the swimming pool and climbing tower for 15 children. The Birthday Party per-child fee is $5 and Ice Skate rentals at $3 per child.
Feel free to bring your own birthday cake and ice cream but call the ARC “Pantry” att 970.544.4100 to arrange food and drinks for your guests.
Want to bring your kids outdoors at the ARC? There are tons of great activities for children decidedly more bundled than the lazy river requires. The ARC’s Winter Wonderland is a FREE service of the ARC featuring Snowshoeing, Sledding, and Ice Skating. The “Whoa Nelly” sledding hill and the (new) ARC-tic pond Skating Rink are designed to be entire-family friendly.
If you don’t bring your own equipment, sled rentals are $5, snowshoe rentals are $15 (with an $80 required credit card deposit), and there is as of yet no option to rent skates for the ARC’s outdoor skating pond. Winter Wonderland hours at the ARC are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- All hours of operation are weather dependent.
The Red Brick in Aspen
With amenities like 3,100 square feet of indoor rock climbing, trapeze classes, yoga, and more; the Red Brick Recreation Center boasts being your cure for kids with boredom.
The Red Brick is located at 110 E. Hallman Street in Aspen near the City Market. Your older children can explore ariel classes while your 0-5 year olds will enjoy the Playhouse.
Red Brick’s Playhouse is a tumbling room with bouncy houses, fit balls, geometric learning shapes, bolster donuts, tumbler downhill mats, and children’s music… all on a spring-loaded gymnastics floor!
** Before you pack up your children and head up valley, be sure you check out the Red Brick Playhouse calendar here because the Red Brick Playhouse hours are *extremely limited*. Keep in mind that if your little one is a bit on the timid side, the Playhouse is a virtual kid madhouse. For otherwise gregarious kids, this is awesome!
I took my son and mother in-law on a winter Gondola Ride as soon as he was 10 months old. It was a perfect activity for multiple generations to enjoy together. In order to take a ride up the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain with views from 11,212 feet, visit the AspenSnowmass website and always call ahead.
Visit www.AspenSnowmass.com for more info
The Winter XGames
On January 26th, XGames returns to Aspen for the 16th year. Watch the world’s greatest skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobile athletes compete in 18 different events over four days.
Events take place at Buttermilk Mountain. All sport competitions are free and open to the public. Musical performances are on stage at Buttermilk, but they’re largely sold out.
Have we missed something you and your family love to do in the Roaring Fork Valley this winter? Email us at [email protected] to share!