Our first day in Denver didn’t start without a few bumps in the road. Our original flight from Florida to Denver was canceled at midnight, hours before our departure. Leaving us scrambling to keep our sanity, to console a heartbroken 5 year who had just heard that he were going to miss a Rockies baseball game due to the delay and staying on perpetual hold with the airline. But, we were flexible, we added a few more layovers (Tallahassee-Miami; Miami-Dallas; Dallas-Denver), we made it safely and were ready to start on our 5 day adventure!
Click here if you want tips on navigating airline travel with kids (Coming Soon)!
Stop # 1: Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center
On day one we traveled north to the Wyoming state capital of Cheyenne. Not knowing much about Cheyenne, I did some preliminary research about the historic downtown and capitol building. Cheyenne is roughly 100 miles from Denver, taking us a little over 1.5 hours to get there via I-25.
One of my favorite things to do when crossing the border into a new state is to check out their welcome center and the Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center has been one of my favorites by far! The welcome center was architecturally striking, clean and very family friendly. The boys loved the mini-museum of Wyoming history and artifacts which included a woolly mammoth skeleton and a full sized tee-pee.
Tip:Ask for a FREE sticker and collect different ones from the various Wyoming welcome centers. Use them to decorate a travel keepsake box of all of your vacation memories.
Stop #2: Downtown Cheyenne
After visiting the Wyoming Visitors Center we went into the capital city of Cheyenne. To be completely honest there’s not much to do in Cheyenne (that we had time for) but it being the state capital we wanted to check it off our list. Fun tidbit Paul works in politics and I work in architecture so most historic capitol buildings happened to be a soft spot for both of our passions. The Wyoming State Capitol building was under construction so we just took a quick peak of the exterior and moved on to the main historic downtown area.
We headed downtown on Capitol Avenue to the Cheyenne Depot near the famous Wrangler store. At this very moment my five-year-old was having the most epic meltdown and we essentially cried our way through most of downtown Cheyenne. Meanwhile my very resourceful husband found a hiding place at a great local brewery, Accomplice Beer Company, housed inside the historic 1887 train depot. Just know that not all things go as planned when traveling with kids ( I am slllloooowly learning to deal with this and yes I was one of the people who was crying!).
Stop #3: Terry Bison Ranch
Our next stop was at the Terry Bison Ranch just south of Cheyenne. I had pre-planned this stop and we were looking forward to riding the train and feeding the bison. Looking at the train schedule, we had just missed the train which runs every 1.5 hours or so (due largely in part by said epic meltdown above).
Instead of harping on the negative we decided to grab a giant bison burger at the Senators Steakhouse which is located on the Ranch property. This was a great family restaurant with huge portions, fresh ingredients, with a ton of space for the kids to graze while the parents are able to enjoy a nice local brew (craft beer is our thing and we drink very responsibly) before jumping on the train.
The Bison Train Tour consisted of about an hour train ride through the property on a custom train car. The car was equipped with bench seating, operable windows so that you can get up close and personal with the bison, and it is handicap accessible, making it fun for everyone. The tour was led by a wonderful and very knowledgeable guide who has worked on the farm for generations and was very familiar with the roaming bison.
Speaking of bison, have you have been eye to eye with one or have one lick the palm of your hand? Well you will if you come to the Terry Bison Ranch!
The ranch had a ton of other offerings on property like horseback riding, ATV adventures, other animals, fishing and camping. Check out the 5 best things to do at the Terry Bison Ranch here. (Coming Soon)
Stop #4: Odell Brewing Company
After the bison ranch we hit the road and headed back over the border to Colorado and stopped in Fort Collins at the Odell Brewing Company. Breweries are typically family friendly and have areas where kids can enjoy themselves while the adults enjoy a flight of beer. Odell was a perfect spot they had a large open patio with a grassy area that had some fun kids size toys including corn hole and connect four, they had a mix of nice shaded areas and indoor areas for your choosing. This brewery did not have onsite food, a Food Truck was there serving delicious treats, but you may want to pack some extra snacks.
Check out Our Favorite Kid Friendly Breweries (Coming Soon) for more information!
Tip:Make you itinerary as balanced as possible to insure that both the adults and children are getting the most out of each experience. We try to balance kid things with an adult centered thing or two. For us that is typically a local brewery, a cool local restaurant a boring museum or architectural masterpiece. This trip was all about the craft beer scene.
Stop #5: New Belgium Brewery
Still thirsty for more craft beer we headed to one of Colorado‘s most famous craft breweries ,New Belgium, in Fort Collins. New Belgium was our first intro to craft brews a bunch of years ago. We couldn’t find it in Florida and had to cross the Florida-Georgia line to get a taste of this beer. So, we thought it only fitting, that we travel 1,645 miles to have a beer at the place that started it all.
The brewery did not disappoint! There was a great mix of family friendly options including a few different outdoor spaces with large green areas (bring a ball) for both your furry four legged kids and your two legged ones alike. 90 minute Brewery Tours are available, but if that is too long, they have a quick self-guided tour that is stroller friendly. Our flight of beer was cold and refreshing and we topped it off with some On Tap Kitchen Pretzels.
Please drink responsibly, especially with kids! We typically share a flight of beer (small taste testers), take our time sipping and enjoying, have snacks and hydrate with water.
This will definitely go on our list of Favorite Kid Friendly Breweries (Coming Soon). Click here for more information!
Stop #6: Twin Silos Park
Lastly, we headed towards the Twin Silos Park . A friend told me about this park and said that we could not leave Fort Collins without going, and he was so right. The Twin Silos Park was the absolute coolest, one-of-a-kind, free, outdoor public playground that I have ever been to and I promise you my five-year-old thought the same thing!
The clue is in the name, two twin silos stand tall with a whirly-swirly slide connecting the two. Children have to climb a two story tall (very safe, multiple layers of safety nets) maze to get to the top of the first silo. They then slide from the top of the first all the way across and down and shoot out from the second silo.
Liam must’ve gone this 30 times, over and over and over again, and each time he came out with a bigger and bigger smile on his face. This was better suited for bigger kids, but Liam didn’t have a problem climbing up.
They also have a large semi-enclosed shaded area that was a bit more suited for younger kids. There were a few interactive features and they had a ramp system to make it inclusive for all children to play. Everything was extremely well-built and very sturdy construction. The park was immaculate with very clean facilities and such a joy for the whole family.
The only “semi-negative” was that it was not very well suited for younger kids. While certain areas had rubber based flooring, which was great for our crawler, other areas were full of mulch which went right into his mouth. They had a few infant swings, but for the most part it was geared towards older children (which my 5 year old was thankful for).