Tips for families to explore Colorado

RBC I Colorado isn’t only famous for its fabulous winters. The state is also well known for its beautiful and adventure-filled summers. The longer days and warmer weather highlight the best of what Colorado has to offer as people across the state take to the outdoors to explore. Summer fun doesn’t have to come with a price tag. There are many free or low-cost activities Colorado dads and kids can experience together this summer without breaking the bank. From easy activities that take place in the backyard or the nearby park, to day trips up into the mountains that explore new lands, every activity will work toward building a stronger relationship that will last long after the sun sets.
“Summer is a great time for fathers and their children to take advantage of all the exciting outdoor activities Colorado has to offer,” said Dan Welch, fatherhood and family specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services. “At little to no cost, dads and kids can create lasting memories by exploring different parts of Colorado or by participating in new activities together. If you have yet to hike, bike or pitch a tent in the backyard now is the perfect time to head outside with your kids.”
Looking for ideas or low-cost ways to get you and your children outside and enjoying the summer? Here are a few activities that are sure to get everyone out of the house:
1. Pitch a tent. You don’t have to go any further than your backyard to experience the outdoors.
2. Spend the afternoon at the park. Just a few pieces of playground equipment can provide dads and kids with hours of fun.
3. Scavenger hunt! Put together a list of things for your kids to find outdoors and bring home to examine. Look for four leaf clovers, find pinecones and search for the craziest nature items you can find.
4. Get drenched. During a hot summer day head to the local pool, run through the sprinkler or challenge each other to a water balloon fight to cool off.
5. Explore wildlife. Head to your local library or go online to find wildlife or nature activity books. Spend a day in the mountains or walking along the riverbank identifying unique animals and plants.
6. Take a trip to the farmer’s market. Encourage your children to sample new foods and support local vendors. Have a picnic in the park with all of the fresh, delicious produce you find.
7. Give an hour to the needy. There are many outdoor volunteer opportunities for dads and kids. Visit to search for different opportunities in your community.
8. Gone fishing! Colorado is full of rivers and lakes for dads and kids to explore as they set off in search of the perfect catch.
9. Plan an outdoor family night. Eat a picnic dinner outside or gather round and tell ghost stories at dusk.
10. Throw a baseball, frisbee or football or head to the basketball courts. With Colorado’s famous cool evenings, fathers and their children can improve their ball skills while spending time outdoors together. This is a great opportunity for dads and kids to catch up on their daily lives!
11. Hit the trail. Spend the day hiking on one of the hundreds of free trails that wind all throughout the state. Better yet, head out to one of Colorado’s state parks to take advantage of more than 15 million acres of open space. Mark your calendar for these fee-free days in 2011: Sept. 24 (Public Lands Day) and Nov. 11-13 (Veterans Day weekend). To find a list of participating parks in Colorado visit
In addition to all of the great ideas above, be sure to check out for more free or low-cost activities happening in Colorado this summer. Those fathers who register in the special offers section of the website are eligible to receive free tickets or reduced admission to professional and college sporting events, movies and other community activities.
In October 2006, the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Works Division was awarded a $10 million federal grant distributed over five years to strengthen father/child relationships and improve parenting. Colorado is one of just two locations nationwide, including Washington, D.C., to receive this federal community access grant. The Responsible Fatherhood Initiative distributes more than $1.1 million in community awards to state, community and faith based organizations each year to assist in providing direct services to fathers and families. Awards of up to $50,000 are distributed per program per fiscal year. For more information on a fatherhood program in your community, please visit