Whattayado in Lyons CO that's not pinball?
April 16, 2014 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Family is heading to the pinball nationals in Lyons CO on May 18. We want to expand our trip to involve some family funtime in the area in the week before the tournament. Where should we stay? What should we not miss? What should we avoid at all costs? More inside.

We know about Elitch (the amusement park). Will we need more than one day for that park? I like to be outdoors, but have physical limitations that preclude anything too sporty: I can manage a gentle hike, and that's about it. I like art, animals, books, museums, harp music, video games. My dh and teen son like pinball (that end of the trip is easy to fulfill); we all like metal music, model railroading, and a little antiquing. We know nothing about the area. Critical thing is that we be well rested and in Lyons on the 18th, so we don't want to travel too far afield. We don't travel often, so I'd like to make the most of our vacation. What are your best non-flipper-related suggestions?
posted by theplotchickens to Travel & Transportation around Lyons, CO (4 answers total)
My favorite places in Lyons are (1) Meadow Park; (2) Pinball Museum; (3) Oscar Blues.

I'll elaborate on Meadow park: The St. Vrain creek forms a horseshoe around the park, and the creek is pretty 'mellow.' It's an extremely popular place to go tubing in the summer, in part because you can put in a tube at the top of the horseshoe, ride the creek down to the bottom of the horse-shoe and then walk back up to the top a much shorter distance than the distance you floated. The park itself is tucked in around a bunch of impressive rock formations, and it's a pretty place to sit and chill, even if you decide not to get wet. I'm sure mellow hiking trails lead out of there.

You're close to Rocky Mountain National park where wildlife viewing is plentiful, and the Moraine Valley offers nice mellow hiking.

I'll say a little more about my home of Fort Collins: Fort Collins is about 45 minute drive north and has a great pinball arcade set right into a great downtown area. That arcade has recently expanded to include several other antique arcade games. Check out their website. The area of Fort Collins that the arcade served as the template for Disneyland's "Main Street USA" -- it's a nice walkable area. Check the music schedule at Avogadro's Number in Fort Collins-- I've seen harp music there in the past. You can also check the schedules for music at Hodi's Half note and the Aggie-- both are very near the pinball arcade and frequently host touring metal bands.

I don't know that I can say much about antiquing or model railroading in the area.

Lyons is a pretty small town and I've never stayed overnight. I'm not sure what there is outside of pinball, floating the creek and the Oscar Blues brewery, but my experiences there are limited to the (very fun) day-trips I've made.

Also, beware: Lyons took the brunt of the flooding here last fall. I think the town was essentially evacuated when the St. Vrain river that runs through town overflowed its banks. I think the town has recovered well, but I've not been there since the flooding.
posted by u2604ab at 10:14 AM on April 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I used to live and work in Loveland, CO -- sort of "in the neighborhood". A lot of my co-workers were very into model railroading (one guy had a > 1000 sq foot layout in his basement). I googled "model railroading loveland" and found that there is a model railroad museum in Greeley, CO (also "in the neighborhood"). I have no idea how good it is though.

You also might be interested in the Colorado History Museum in Denver.
posted by elmay at 10:21 AM on April 16, 2014

Elitch's shouldn't take more than a day -- it's a pretty small amusement park. Since it's right in downtown Denver, you could take advantage of other things going on there. If you like museums, the Denver Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the History Colorado Center (full disclosure: I work there) are all within walking or a few minutes of Elitch's.

Lyons has recovered, but there is still a lot of flood damage along the rivers in that area, especially along US 36, which goes from Lyons to Estes Park. Like u2604ab said, it's a pretty small town, with not a lot going on. You might want to go up to Estes Park or down south to Boulder and see what's going on there.
posted by heurtebise at 10:22 AM on April 16, 2014

Take a hike.
posted by alex_skazat at 12:11 AM on April 17, 2014

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