Ashcroft Ghost Town
Ten miles south of Aspen Exit Highway 82 to Castle Creek Road
Guided tours June, July, August Tues-Sun at 11am and 1pm
This town offers a glimpse into “the good old days” through the remains of a once flourishing town. The boarded up log cabins don’t look as cozy as they do in western films. It’s clear that they were drafty and far from energy efficient. Ashcroft is the remains of a once booming silver mining town which once was home to 2500 people and supported two sawmills, two newspapers, a school, and 20 saloons. It was, at that time, larger than Aspen. It is an interesting area to explore. There are also picnic facilities. Be sure to bring a camera.
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
100 Puppy Smith Street
Inside the ACES building, children are invited to use binoculars and watch the birds through the large picture windows. There is also a “touch table” with interesting objects and a room with microscopes set up for the study by visitors of insects.
Outdoors, there is a self-guided tour to lead the participant on a step by step hike past a golden eagle, great horned owls, beavers and interesting vegetation. There is also a scavenger hunt checklist designed to encourage children to interact with the environment through which they pass.
Aspen Ice Garden
233 West Hyman Avenue
Daily; hours vary seasonally. Closed mid-April through early June.
Admission charged. Skate rental extra.
Year round skating call for schedule with daily public sessions on its rink.
Aspen Mountain Silver Queen Gondola
At the base of Aspen Mountain
Open part-time from late May – mid-June and September – early October.
Call for days and hours.
The Aspen Mountain Gondola can carry as many as 6 people for the smooth, scenic ride to the 11,212 foot peak of the mountain in 18 minutes.
Naturalists from the Aspen Mountain Nature Center await visitors at the top for a 45 minute guided tour along marked trails. The hike is easy, but it is necessary to adjust to the altitude. The naturalist explains the plants, trees and wildlife found there. The remains of a miner’s cabin built more than a century ago are also part of the tour. The guide pays particular attention to children and has activities for them which engage their interest. Water and sunscreen are provided.
Aspen Center For Environmental Studies
Hallam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, 100 Puppy Smith St., Aspen
Children and adults alike will enjoy this wildlife sanctuary and research center. The facility sponsors snowshoe walks with naturalist guides in winter, and backyard-wildlife workshops that teach children to create a mini-sanctuary in their own yard. In summer there are bird-watching hikes and Special Little Naturalist programs for four- to seven-year-olds, which include nature walks and arts and crafts.
Independence Ghost Town
15 miles east on SR82
Guided tours June, July, August 11am and 1pm.
Small admission fee for tour
Remains of the Roaring Fork Valley’s mining community. It boomed during the gold discoveries of the 1870’s and closed up in the decline of the mines in the late 1890s.
White River National Forest
10 miles south, off State Route 82
Road closed to all but vehicles with camping permits: 8-5
Otherwise, Open for tour buses only
Tour leaves downtown Aspen every 20 minutes daily 9-4 mid-June-Labor Day
Combination ticket for round trip tour and Silver Queen Gondola available.
Silver Circle Skating
433 East Durant Avenue
late October – mid April daily 10 – 10. 90 minute sessions
Admission charged. Skate rental additional
Located in the heart of Aspen, this rink is popular with residents and visitors alike. Skating under the lights at night.
Wagner Park Playground
West end of Hyman Avenue Mall in central Aspen.
Swings, slides and a jungle gym provide a great break from shopping for the whole family!
Wheeler-Stallard House Museum
620 W. Bleeker St., 970/925-3721
Small admission fee.
Jan.-Mar. and mid-June-mid-Sept., Tues.-Fri. 1-4.
Built in 1888. Victorian life is the focus of this museum, which displays period memorabilia collected by the Aspen Historical Society. Of particular interest to elementary school age children is the children’s playroom which is furnished with games and toys of the period including an indoor croquet set.
The museum offers tours for children: call ahead for specific times. Very small children should probably be taken to alternative attractions during the Wheeler-Stallard House tour by the older children in the family, as there is no touching, no running, etc.