Summer tips for tots
Breckenridge is rich with free stomping grounds for tiny feet
By Shauna Farnell
Breckenridge is famous for being an open playground for us big kids with breathtaking, adrenaline-charging opportunities everywhere you look. For little kids who might not be ready or capable (yet) to hike or bike up and down mountains, there several popular areas and activities designed with small tykes in mind. And they’re free!
While your half-pint kiddo might not have long enough legs yet to haul up and the mountain by the power of his/her own motor, eager eyes will be pasted to the windows of the BreckConnect Gondola, which offers free rides from town to the base of Peak 8 in the summer. The panorama is spectacular in both directions and as you pass over Cucumber Gulch, it’s not unusual to spot rare colorful birds or even a moose. Once at Peak 8, you are surrounded by a plethora of thrilling (but not free) opportunities at the Summer Adventure Park, including tot favorites like the Gold Runner Coaster (VIDEO check out this euphoric toddler loving it), the Alpine Slide, Bounce House, Kids Zipline and ropes course and gemstone panning.
Highline Railroad Park
A purposeful playground is an automatic hit among the 2 to 4-year-old age set. Doll it up to look like an old mining site and throw in an actual, old-timey train (Engine No. 9, one of the first locomotives from the late 1800s to use narrow gauge railroads to travel through the high mountains) and small children are straight-up hypnotized. The outdoor museum, located in front of Stephen C. Ice Arena, also features a flatcar and caboose exhibit and in the playground there is a slide, mini-cave, gold carts, a train platform and ticket window. The park is free but donations are welcome.
Blue River Plaza
Smack in the middle of downtown Breck behind the Welcome Center, musicians and magicians frequent Blue River Plaza, but the shiniest allure is the splashing opportunities along the shallow shores of the Blue River. Kids of all ages descend on the river on hot afternoons and for toddlers, the hot social spot is the sandbox and water play area.
At its new location on Harris St. in Breckenridge, the South Branch Library is equipped with its own toy area for tots and offers free summer reading programs featuring hands-on, all-sensory activities with themes ranging from food to pets. Children learn to read at a ridiculous young age if they have the opportunity, for example, to read to a dog. The programs are open to preschool to fifth graders and typically take place for an hour in the early afternoon. The schedule can be found here (http://summitcountylibraries.org/learn-explore/children)