Vail is a giant playground for kids with pedestrian walkways connecting all villages, filled with places to explore and play! Kids of all ages are always up for playing at a park and Vail has many unique parks, playgrounds and water features right in town or a short distance (via bike, car or bus) outside of town. Each of Vail’s parks includes a children’s play area, many feature custom, art-inspired play structures and components! Hit a different park each day or make a day of touring them all!
Vail Village & Lionshead:
Ford Park, on the east side of Vail Village, has it all! A custom playground with multiple slides, unique climbing features, swings and fort-like hide out that will keep the kids busy for hours. You’ll also find a 1/2 basketball court, grassy open space to run around or kick/throw a ball and covered picnic tables. Ford Park is also home to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Gerald R Ford Amphitheater, Tennis Center, athletic fields, Morales sculpture and Gore Creek; making this park a destination you could easily spend a lot of time enjoying.
Pirate Ship Park located in the heart of Vail Village at the base of Gondola One, the Pirate Ship is a kids favorite with a life-size pirate ship, swings, climbing nets and a plank to walk….watch your kids become pirates (Bonus – you can even see them from the Los Amigos deck while sipping a margarita)!
In Lionshead, Sunbird Park features three giant cocoon-like birds’ nests with connecting bridges and slides! Bonus – kids (and adults) can cool off in the jumping fountains!
Tucked between Vendetta’s and The Lodge at Vail, the Cloud Park features clouds for kids to climb on, under and around with hanging chimes for making their own music.
The Children’s Fountain in Vail Village
Located next to Fuzziwig’s Candy Shop, the pool has three spraying fountains and several bronze sculptures of children at play. The water is perfect wading depth, shallow enough to keep shorts dry yet deep enough to cool down on a hot day.
Get Wet Playing in Gore Creek
Once the winter runoff has subsided, kids and adults of all ages can enjoy dipping their toes (or more) into Gore Creek! The best places to access the creek are along the grass in front of Mountain Plaza, below Ford Park, in front of the Vail Library and along the bike path in front of the Lionsquare Lodge. Please be CAREFUL and make sure the current is not running fast – it is always best to stay on the edges and keep children close!!
Zeke M. Pierce Skatepark
Grab your skateboard and head to the Lionshead Parking structure. The park was designed with input from local skaters and constructed by California Skateparks, one of the world’s premier park builders. The skatepark includes four colorful mosaic murals created by artist Valerie Theberge. Open daily from dawn to 11 p.m. Helmets are required and safety equipment is recommended.
Donovan Park, just west of Lionshead in the Cascade Village area includes multiple wood playground structures with twisting slides, swings, bridges and unique features for all ages. The park is home to the Donovan Pavilion, athletic fields, covered picnic areas and basketball court. The park is a nice bike ride on the recreational path east out of Lionshead, along Gore Creek.
Located further west out of the villages, in the Matterhorn area is a great getaway with a playground and short walk through the woods. Covered picnic tables and off-leash dog area are also available.
Red Sandstone Park
Located just off the N. Frontage Road, Red Sandstone Park features towering forts, slides, swings and other unique features to explore. Grab some friends and ball to play at the sand volleyball courts.
In West Vail in the Davos neighborhood, Ellefson park is a small quiet playground ideal for littler kids. Swings, slides, grassy field and picnic tables make this park a nice getaway.
Buffehr Creek Park
In West Vail, near City Market, along the N. Frontage Road, this playground may be smaller in size, but its’ big in fun!
Located in East Vail, Bighorn Park has it all! A fantastic multiple structure playground to entertain kids of all ages, plus a small pond to walk around and explore! Covered picnic tables, large grassy field and off-leash dog area make it the perfect stop.
Booth Creek Park
In East Vail, near Vail Mountain School, Booth Creek Park is a favorite. Kids will be drawn to the large climbing structure, but then will discover the many smaller features with nooks to hide-out and even make their own music. Covered picnic shelter, adirondack chairs and grassy field make this a special park!
Both Ford Park and Donovan Park offer multiple fields for use throughout the spring, summer and fall, including fields for softball, soccer, lacrosse, rugby and football. Many of our sports camps and adult sports leagues use these fields. And, they are the center for tournaments, such as the Vail Lacrosse Tournament and 3v3 Soccer Tournament. Along Vail Valley Drive, you’ll find an additional soccer/football field with goalposts, along with sand volleyball courts.
Bringing your dog along
Dogs are allowed on leashes in all town parks, except for Ford Park or within 100 feet of an athletic field. An “off-leash” program has been established at Bighorn Park in East Vail and Stephens Park in West Vail. Dogs are a big part of the mountain lifestyle and are considered a member of the family by many. When you’re out enjoying Vail, please remember to control your dog. Within the Town of Vail, dogs must be on a leash in Vail Village, Lionshead Mall, on all bike paths, and in all the town parks except for Bighorn and Stephens parks. Both Bighorn and Stephens parks are dog friendly parks, and dogs may be off their leash and controlled by voice command, with the exception of the playground areas. Remember to always clean up after your dog. Dog waste left in the environment transmits bacteria such as E. coli into Gore Creek. Pet pickup bags are provided throughout town for your convenience, but never leave home without one! Also, never leave a dog left unattended, especially inside a vehicle. During the warmer months, that temperature can rapidly increase, threatening the health and safety of your animal. Even with the windows down, the temperature can be up to 20 degrees hotter than the outside. Please leave your pet at home rather than risk a dangerous and regrettable circumstance.