Sun Valley is for Kids

Summer is synonymous with children’s laughter and shrieks of joy as they experience and try new things, enjoy the outdoors, and get time to just be kids. There is no better place for kiddos to enjoy summer the way it’s supposed to be than Sun Valley. The days are seemingly endless, as are the ways to spend those hazy, crazy hours. From time with family to time with friends, Sun Valley has it all. If you have just arrived in Sun Valley, or are planning your trip, here are 10 “don’t miss” activities for the children.

Bike riding
There’s really no better way to explore Sun Valley and the surrounding area than on a bicycle. Whether your children are just starting out with training wheels or are avid mountain bikers, fun is literally just outside your front door. The Wood River Valley is truly biking Nirvana. From the 32 miles of converted rails to trails that stretch from the south valley way past Ketchum, to the more than 400 miles of continuous single track, to endless scenic road bike rides and downhill on Baldy, everyone here, loves to bike.

When you arrive, one of your first stops should be Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports in the Sun Valley Village where you will find a huge selection of bikes to rent and a professional, knowledgeable staff to help you get just the right ride. Trails begin just across the street from the Lodge and then get as adventurous as you can imagine. Ask the experts at Pete Lane’s for recommendations and take a spin!

Whether your child is still learning to ride a two-wheeler or is a pro on single track, head to Pete Lane’s, find the perfect bike, and get out on the trails. It’s the best and most fun way to see Sun Valley!

Horseback riding
Many families come to Sun Valley with visions of the old west dancing in their heads. If you and your family want an authentic western experience, grab your cowboy hat, mosey on over to Horseman’s Center, practice your best “giddy up” and take a trail ride to remember.

Whether you are a complete novice or an experienced horseperson, there is a trail ride for you and a wrangler to make the experience fun for the entire family. Private and group events are available. Daily rides generally go out at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. from the conveniently located Horseman’s Center on Sun Valley Road.  Children must be eight years old and 52” tall to participate.

Another great way to get that western experience is on wagon ride. The Sun Valley Stables houses historic wagons and carriages and very memorable rides are available on Fridays at 5 p.m. by appointment.  Please call the stables at 208-622-2887 for more information and to book this fantastic experience.

Golf doesn’t need to be super serious! Head out to the Sawtooth Putting Green with the family to test your skills and have a blast on the 18-hole course

Putt Putt
Sun Valley is known for its challenging and beautiful golf courses, but hitting the links need not be a huge commitment thanks to the 18-hole Sawtooth Putting Course. Located adjacent to the Sun Valley Clubhouse – a terrific place to grab lunch or a tasty afternoon snack – the Putting Course is a great place to practice skills and have a lot of fun. The course is popular with guests of all ages. Though there are no windmills or dinosaurs on this putt putt course, there are a lot of fun twists and turns and challenges. Give it a try! For more information on all of Sun Valley’s amazing golf, please call the Pro Shop at 208-622-2251.

Paddle boats*
There’s no better way to cool off on a hot summer’s day than on a paddleboat in the Sun Valley Lake. Kids of all ages will love getting out on the water, pumping their legs and creating a big splash! Boats are available to rent from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and if you can wear a life vest, you can ride in a boat! (Two persons must ride in the boat and one must be at least 16 years old). The Lake is a great place to while away the time even out of the water.  There are horseshoes for tossing and a beach volleyball net ready for any friendly game. The Lake is located adjacent to the Sun Valley Pavilion and Lodge, a quick walk to some cool times.
*stay tuned for the opening of the Sun Valley Lake for summer 2017!

Splash down! The Sun Valley Lake is the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer’s day and who doesn’t love to paddle?

Kids Camp
Kids just want to have fun, and sometimes the best way to do that is with other super fun kids who are just as interested in adventure as your children. The easiest way to make this happen is by spending some quality time at Playschool for the littlest ones or Adventure Camp for older children. These camps are a safe, enjoyable way to get the most of a Sun Valley vacation. Children explore the area on nature walks, gondola rides, picnics at the lake, and wagon rides. Tennis, golf, and ice skating lessons are part of themed weeks that explore things like gardening, the world of insects, water madness, Spuds Olympics, Aloha!, P-J week, Ancient Rome, and art. Activities depend on the camper’s age. Hours are daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with early drop at 8 a.m. and late pick up at 5 p.m. available.

Please call 208-622-2288 for Playschool and 208-622-2133 for Adventure Camp to reserve your spot or for more information.

Riding the gondola
Prepare to be whisked away on a gondola ride up Bald Mountain, surrounded by some of the most stunning views anywhere! Each gondola car holds up to eight people and runs from the base of River Run to two-thirds up the mountain, just next to the famous Roundhouse Restaurant. From the gondola, you will enjoy views of Ketchum, the Pioneer Mountain range, as well as northerly mountain ranges including the White Clouds and Boulders. Everywhere you look is pretty jaw dropping. In this case, getting there is more than half the fun, but be sure to take some time on Baldy once your uphill ride is over. Even the littlest adventurers can take a small hike and check out the amazing wildflowers on the mountain, and the whole family should consider lunch on the deck of the Roundhouse. There is no restaurant with a better view and a healthy child-friendly menu in addition to a delicious regular menu. Lift tickets for the gondola may be purchased at River Run Lodge.

After riding the gondola back down to River Run, be sure to spend a little time at Baldy Basecamp enjoying the Spider Jump trampoline and other fun amenities.

Hop on board and prepare to be whisked up beautiful Bald Mountain. The views can’t be beat and neither can lunch at the Roundhouse once your uphill ride is over

After your round-trip gondola ride, the older children will surely want to give the Spider Jump a try at the base of River Run. It’s wild and crazy fun!

Are the dog days of summer making you feeling like a pool is the perfect place to be? Resort guests can choose from three on-property pools.  The Olympic pool located next to the tennis courts close to both the Lodge and the Inn, is a great place to cool down. There is even a children’s wading pool for the littlest splashers and swimming instruction is available. The circular Lodge and Inn pools are an iconic place for a splash down and to enjoy some great views. If you choose to relax at the Lodge pool, be sure to order a delicious lunch or snack from the Poolside Café (mom and dad can indulge in a handcrafted cocktail) and make an afternoon of it! The Lodge Pool and Inn Pools are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Olympic Pool hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please call 208-622-2130 to ask about swim lessons. All facilities require adult supervision for children under 14.

Ice Skating
The most famous names in ice skating take to the stunning outdoor Sun Valley ice rink each summer as headliners and featured skaters at Sun Valley On Ice. But you don’t need to be able to do a triple axel, or even a swizzle, to enjoy this beautiful facility. Boasting the largest year-round outdoor rink in the country, skating in Sun Valley is a must-do summer activity. There are many general sessions daily open to the public.  Head on over to the quaint skate house, located just off the deck of the Lodge, and the helpful staff will rent you skates and even helmets. If your little skater feels inspired, there is also a full service skate shop on premise that sells necessities as well as some of the most beautiful skating dresses anywhere. Gliding beneath a summer sun or under Idaho’s amazing sky of stars is an experience your entire family will enjoy. Lessons are also available from Sun Valley’s consummate pros if your child is interested in building skills. Each pro leaves his or her contact information at the skate shop and lessons can be set up directly with the teacher. Chances are your children will love this experience so much, they will insist on returning to the rink on a Saturday night to watch the dazzling Sun Valley On Ice. Please call 208-622-2194 for more information and enjoy the coolest place in Sun Valley this summer!

There’s really nothing like skating beneath a summer sun or a sky full of stars in Sun Valley. All levels can enjoy the glorious outdoor rink

Sun Valley is one of the top tennis centers in the Rocky Mountain West and it is incredibly kid friendly. The pros make learning and improving really fun. Especially for children is the “10 & Under Tennis/Quick Start” program. Designed for players ages 5 – 10, this program focuses on fundamentals and low key match play to introduce kids to the pleasures of this lifelong sport. Junior clinics are held daily for kids ages 9 – 13 of all levels. The clinics emphasize building strong fundamentals through drills, ball machine, repetitive play and more. Children ages 6 – 10 can enjoy afternoon clinics where the focus is on fun. The pros use junior rackets, oversized foam balls, short court mini nets, water balls, bean bags, hula hoops and other fun props and tools to help kids love the sport. This is a great way to get some basics and a dip in the Olympic pool is included in the lesson! Nike also brings their excellent tennis camps to Sun Valley’s courts each summer for a more intensive experience. Please call 208-622-2156 to talk to the knowledgeable staff at the tennis center about which option/s are best for your children and then get in the swing!

Bowling Center
Last, but certainly not least, kid heaven can be found on the lower level of the Sun Valley Lodge at the newly renovated, decidedly retro, and super cool Bowling Center. Kids love it! Numerous lanes, equipped with bumpers and even slides to help the littlest bowlers position their balls, are available to test a bowlers’ skills, but there is so much more to this space. Enjoy Foosball, pool, and a great game room filled with favorites when you’re not throwing strikes. The food at the Bowling Center is also kid friendly and delicious! In between sets, kids can indulge in mac ‘n’ cheese, chicken tenders, a grilled cheese or quesadilla and their famous “Mac tots” – crispy tater tots topped with mac ‘n’ cheese sauce. Parents can grab a delicious burger and a beer and bowl the afternoon away!  The center is open daily from 3 – 10 p.m. Monday thru Friday, and 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The friendly staff at 208-622-2191 are happy to answer any of your questions.

It’s impossible not to love the Sun Valley Bowling Center. From retro alleys to all kinds of games and great food, it’s a hit for the whole family

A Sun Valley summer for children really can’t be beat. There are countless ways to get out in the beautiful Idaho sunshine and to stay active all day long. We invite you and your family to create memories that will last a lifetime!



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