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i will be taking the family there dec. 27. i have looked a couple of different train tours to take. we have talked about horseback riding, sledding, skiing, etc. this will be my first time there, so i am really looking for ideas for day trips, restaurants, sights, etc. i will have the wife and our three beautiful children ages 11, 6, and 5. i do appreciate the heads up.
 

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i've been there once, but it was in the summer and about 15 years ago, so i don't remember much about the restaurants, etc. we stayed in some cool little cabins in a campground a few miles out of town.

i can't help you much on what to do because we didn't do much but take it easy in the cabin, hike, sightsee, and goof off in town, but it sure is a beautiful place.

the town itself is pretty small and at about 7500 feet, so dress warm.
 

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To me the best place and what put them on the map is the Rockie Mountain National Park..........Trail Ridge rd will be closed that goes through the park......but that has to be the most beautiful drive in North America.......the elk will still have their full racks and will be right in town with you.....have fun
 

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Take them to RMNP, let them meet the Park Rangers, drive around and check out the wildlife...

Try to take a snowmobiling trip, always enjoyed those growing up.

Spend a lot of time walking around town, visit the older places and watch for the elk like Troutslayer said, they will be walking around town and will be a great pic opportunity for the kids. Have fun, EP is BEAUTIFUL!
 

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We went last Dec. and had a great time. Spent most of the time in the park. There are a lot of great places to see and great hikes to make, even in the winter. We were lucky though and had great weather (40s and sun).

In the park, you can just drive and sight-see, you can hike, and do a lot of other activities. Check out their website for some activities. There are several ranger led activities that are great for the family.

http://www.nps.gov/ROMO/index.htm
Link to winter programs:
http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/upload/ranger_programs_winter_09-10.pdf

We took several hikes, including one to the top of Lily Mt, around Bear Lake and up to Dream Lake, and to a frozen waterfall (Chasm Falls).

Just driving around we got to see a about 30-40 bull elk in a big sparring match. Watched them for about 30 minutes. Lots of other wildlife to see too.

I'm not sure if you've got a place lined up already, but we stayed at Solitude Cabins. I would recommend them to anyone! A great place to stay.

There's a brewery there too, if you're into that kind of thing. The beer's pretty decent and they give lots of free samples! We cooked in the cabin (condo) each evening, so I don't know about restaurants.
 

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I have been going to Estes Park, CO for many years now. You couldn't have chosen a better place to go. As far as places to eat, I would recommend a place called the Dunraven, a great Italian place off of highway 66 SW of town(towards the YMCA of the Rockies). I would also recommend the Stanley hotel, they have a great brunch that you can go to(this is the hotel where the original Shining was filmed). Other great places to eat would be Poppy's Pizza and Grill, and the BaldPate(more of a soup and salad place but delicious nonetheless). Yes the Brewery is also very good. We cooked mostly so did not eat out a lot.

As far as things to do, I would definitely take them to the ranger station on highway 36(entrance highway to the park) and let them look around(they can become junior rangers through a program). I would also check out the YMCA of the rockies, they generally have programs going on(I would check first as this is primarily the summer location). There are plenty of liveries all around Estes Park so you could also go horseback riding. Flyfishing around Estes Park is phenomenal so I would also recommend this. The different fly shops in town offer lessons for all. If you are looking for some hiking opportunities they range across all levels of difficulty. For some easier ones I would recommend Bear Lake, Morraine Park, and Lily Lake. The YMCA will have maps of all trails in all of the Surrounding Parks. For some sight seeing you may be able to Drive on Parts of Fall River Road(Old Fall River Road and Trail Ridge Road are now closed). There is an area along Fall River Road where Bighorn sheep sometimes come down into the meadow(near Sheep Lakes just east of Alluvial Fan). At this time of the year Im sure you won't have a hard time finding a place to ski, especially in Colorado. There is also an arial tram in town that takes you to the top of a small mountain. I'm not sure if it is open in the Winter but you get a pretty neat view from the top. It is part of fun city which is located along 36/66 just where it turns north to head into town. There is also a donut place there that is pretty good. There is also a rock shop along 36/66 that used to be pretty interesting for younger kids.

These are all things that are more unique to Estes Park. There are also more commonplace things like put-put and go carts that can be found.

Are you driving? If so there are tons more things to do on the way up. We always drove and made side trips to do something on the way. If you are let me know and I will give you some more ideas of things to do. It always helped to make a 2 day trip more exciting.

I hope this helps. Have a blast! This is my favorite place to travel to.
 

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There is a little place by the post office that has the best breakfast cant rember the name of it.
would that be "the egg and i"? i think thats the name of it. awesome breakfast!!!. i was there this summer and had a blast. we stayed at Fawn Valley Inn. you can google it. be sure to check out the alluvial fan when you go into the park. very cool. tons of fun stuff in estes. my 7 yr old loved it!
 

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Dec is going to limit your "driving around" in the park because of the snow (probably) but tyhe downtown area has a ton of cool shops and you just cant beat the views.

Ride the gondola up to the top of the mountain...You will wee it.. Its worth it.

I will tell you the one thing I ALWAYS do when I go to Estes is I go downtown and find a shop that has caramel apples... I am not sure why but I think the best caramel apples in the world are in Estes Park.
 
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