● By Christina Freeman
Since the days of the Utes, people have enjoyed the mineral-rich hot springs in the heart of town. Photo by Aryeh Copa
Everyday’s a holiday when you spend your family vacation in Steamboat Springs. Spring is especially fun because it includes Mother’s and Father’s Day. Here are top picks for family fun in the ‘Boat.
Show Mom views of a lifetime in a hot air balloon ride. Before the sun rises, grab a thermos of hot coffee and a camera, and climb aboard the balloon’s wicker basket. Slip quietly into the sky, the colorful silk pulling higher and higher. Watch how the city comes awake and the Yampa Valley turns into rolling mountains. www.wildwestballooning.com | 970-879-7219
Or, choose a helicopter tour and speed above town for expansive views of the Steamboat Ski Area, Fish Creek Falls, Rabbit Ears, the Zirkel Wilderness and North Routt.
www.zephyrhelicopter.com | 970-879-0494
Stroll with Mom through the Yampa River Botanic Park. One of the few of its kind in Colorado, this park boasts more than 40 gardens on six acres. It supports plants from the entire Yampa River Basin with carefully planned microclimates and berms, ponds and a running stream. Children are drawn to the web of paths through gardens, stepping stones over streams, sculptures throughout and a children’s garden. The park is free and open to the public from dawn to dusk, starting in May. www.yampariverbotanicpark.org | 970-846-5172
No one deserves a day at a spa more than Mom. Treat her to a relaxing massage from one of Steamboat’s body work professionals. From Swedish to Thai, deep tissue to hot stone, Steamboat boasts more than a dozen types of massage. Day spas offer a full range of services from massage to facials, body scrubs, skin treatments, hair, nails and waxing.
Head to Old Town Hot Springs in the heart of downtown for a soak. In addition to mineral pools, there are two 230-foot water slides, a custom-designed hot pool with a climbing wall, an Olympic- sized lap pool – plus gym and massage facilities. Open every day. www.sshra.org | 970-879-1828
Or relax in hot mineral springs amidst an aspen and pine forest at the Strawberry Park Hot Springs. River rock walls, sandy paths and a tipi and cabin for changing all contribute to the natural feel. Open at 10 a.m. daily; clothing is optional after dark and no one under 18 is admitted after sunset. The springs are seven miles from downtown Steamboat, including three miles of unimproved dirt road that requires four-wheel drive or chains. Shuttles are recommended for safe and comfortable transport in winter months. www.strawberryhotsprings.com | 970-879-0342
Get lost in a giant maze, play a round of miniature golf, and watch Dad skim across water in a Water Walker ball, all at the Amaze’n Steamboat Family Fun Park located behind the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association Visitors’ Center. Other family fun includes Lazer Games, Squirt Gun Fun, a Bungee Trampoline, gemstone panning and shoot’n shower basketball. Opens Memorial Day Weekend. www.amazensteamboat.com
Crash into Dad’s bumper car – on ice. Propelled by a small golf cart-like motor with hand controls, the ice bumper cars have four tiny wheels that let drivers glide and bump until everyone is smiling. The Howelsen Ice Arena offers bumper cars on ice and public skate sessions on a regular basis. Schedule and pricing available online. www.steamboatsprings.net/ice | 970-871-7033
Cheer on Dad as he makes a strike at Steamboat’s Snow Bowl, which offers Cosmic bowling (Friday nights), Cosmic karaoke bowling (Saturday nights) and bumpers to help little ones keep their balls out of the gutter. Pool tables, a snack bar and a full-service bar round out this popular center’s amenities. Dollar night on Sundays and Tuesdays. www.snowbowl.net | 970-879-9840
Let Dad feel the rush on The Howler Alpine Slide, an exhilarating 2,400-foot track that curves down Howelsen Hill. Open Memorial Day Weekend and May 31 and June 1, then daily starting June 5. www.steamboatalpineslide.com | 970-819-8010
Dad can take a shot and sharpen his marksmanship at Three Quarter Circles, a 12-station sporting clay course, designed to accommodate beginners, competitors and sportsmen. Open May 1 for the season. www.3qc.net | 970-846-5647