A Saturday in Fort Collins quickly becomes something special when you visit the farm, playground, and river- all in an afternoon- and all in a single pocket of town.
Lee Martinez Park
This park located just minutes from Old Town has become one of my go to spots over the years- whether it’s just us or if we’re entertaining out-of-town family.
Lee Martinez City Park is a sprawling green space with all your typical park amenities. But what sets it apart from every other park in town is The Farm. This is a city-operated farm with all the usual suspects. Visit the turkeys, goats, cows, sheep, pigs and horses as you walk along a path taking you from pen to pen. The Farm does cost $3 per person and don’t plan on spending an entire day here, but since 1985 it’s been a charming, well-kept addition to the park system and what kid doesn’t love farm animals, tractors and pony rides.
On our last visit to The Farm we splurged (five dollars) and bought L’s first pony ride. A parent leads the pony around a small track providing a great opportunity to introduce horse etiquette to small children. L, of course, loved it.
Salyer Natural Area
A short walk from the park on the Poudre Trail takes you to Salyer Natural Area. One of my favorite memories of L is here. Her daddy holding her up on the rail, dropping a stick off one side of the bridge, then watching it come out the other side. It’s simple I know. But just one of those little moments that sticks in your mind.
Salyer Natural is just a little wooded spot on the Poudre River. It features a bridge, a tree that more resembles a jungle gym and is a popular spot for family photos or just watching the river. You feel miles away though still in town.
Although it’s great to head down to Denver and take advantage of the big city family amenities- the zoo, the botanical gardens, the children’s museum, the aquarium etc., sometimes you just don’t want to leave town, spend a small fortune or plan ahead. For these days, local gems like these are worth exploring for a low-key family adventure. Spend a couple hours or bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it, Lee Martinez Park and Salyer Natural Area are Fort Collins favorites for good reason.
The Farm at Lee Martinez Park
Location: 600 N Sherwood St.
Cost: $3 per person
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday noon – 5pm, effective Nov. 2 the farm closes at 4pm (Closed Mondays)
Pony Rides – $5 per children 2-12 Saturday 11-4pm and Sunday 1-4pm through Oct 23
Special Upcoming Events: The Farm offers many fun programs throughout the year including birthday package options and the annual Treatsylvania Halloween event happening this year October 28-30th. See The Farm’s website for more information.
Salyer Natural Area
Location: Situated along the Poudre Trail with access from both Lee Martinez Park and McMurray Natural Area