Family Fun in Burlington Vt

No matter what the season, Burlington, Vermont offers families a wide range of activities to keep even the most rambunctious youngsters and parents from succumbing to the boredom of cabin fever.

Snuggled on the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington and its surrounding communities offer a variety of kid-friendly activities that will leave children mentally challenged, physically exhausted and happy at the end of the day, no matter whether summer breezes are blowing off the lake or snow flakes are falling from the sky.

Winter offers a unique opportunity for fun for the nearly 40,000 residents of Burlington. Living in a city that averages 75-inches of snowfall per year, snow plays a major role in outdoor activities.

Wintertime fun ranges from budget friendly activities like sledding, building snowmen and snow sculptures and forts, to friendly snowball fight. If space is limited where you live, Burlington has numerous city parks that make great winter playgrounds. Small children can enjoy sliding down a snow covered slope with mom or day pulling them along.

For older youngsters, Burlington offers several sledding hills. Topping the list is a favorite slope between the first and tenth holes at the Burlington Country Club golf course on South Prospect Street. Park in the far corner of the lot and keep the hike short so the fun can begin sooner. The hill is a perfect sledding hill with dips and bumps, but not too steep for towing your sled back to the top for more runs down the hill.

Calahan Park on Locust Street also offers winter fun with sledding hills and an outdoor ice skating rink. If the budget allows, you can rent or purchase equipment so children can be introduced to winter sports such as shoe shoeing, cross-country skiing and ice hockey.

Snow not your favorite? Not to worry. Burlington’s got you covered. Take on the challenges of rock climbing at the Petra Cliffs Climbing Center on Briggs Street. Open year round, the center offers challenging courses for everyone, from expert to beginning climber. In addition, the staff also sponsors team building workshops.

If that doesn’t interest your youngsters, plan a visit to the Champlain Chocolate factory at 750 Pine Streetand watch chocolate candies being handmade. Plan your visit on Friday and enjoy a sample of the sweets during the hourly taste testing opportunities. Or enroll your child in an age appropriate cooking class at the King Arthur Flour Education Center in Norwich. While pricey, the classes will certainly offer a range of challenges that will keep children from succumbing to boredom.

If cooking isn’t for you and your young charges, plan a visit to the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory in nearby Shelburne. Or spend the day browsing the exhibits at the Shelburne Museum. A unique collection, the museum not only displays antiques and artwork, it also preserves bygone eras, and has 37 buildings on display. Exhibits include a 220-foot steam ship, an 1890 railroad station, a lighthouse and a round barn.

As winter fades into spring, parents can still find ways to keep their children active and busy. Visit Palmer’s Sugar House in nearby Shelburne and watch sap from maple sugar trees be converted into flavorful amber syrup to top pancakes or melt on snow for a favorite treat. Another good choice for watching the creation of maple syrup is Sugarbush Cheese and Maple Farm in Woodstock. Cheese tasting is also offered here as well as kid friendly animals.

With the arrival of spring, outdoor fun turns to biking, roller blading or walking along the 7.6-mile bike trail that snakes along the shores of Lake Champlain. The scenery includes views of the lake and the Adirondack Mountains to the west. The trail links six of Burlington’s parks as well as the Community Boat House over-looking Lake Champlain.

During 2009 visitors and residents celebrated the 400th anniversary celebration of the arrival of Samuel de Champlain’s expedition on the shores of the lake that bears his name. Champlain and his team of explorers were the first European descendants to reach the area that includes Vermont.

Whether you visit the Earth Clock on Flynn Avenue next to Oakledge Park or watch worms turn garbage into compost at the worm farm in Greensboro Bend, Burlington and its surrounding towns offer adventure, nature and pure fun for everyone.