Unexpected pleasures make a vacation memorable. There’s nothing like finding the perfect spot for the family photo for the holiday card, or seeing the sparkle in the kids’ eyes as they spy a precious glint in the gold pan or discover a vintage snowboard. These unexpected family adventures and many more are available at the museums and historic sites offered by the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance.
Ski Bunny and Sno-Surfer at the Summit Ski Museum
People have been skiing in Breckenridge since our town was founded. Miners used long wooden skis to travel over snow to mines and neighboring towns. The Summit Ski Museum takes the whole family on a journey through the history of skiing in Breckenridge. Kids especially love the Snurfer (the first generation of the snowboard) and posing for a selfie with Ski Bunny on old chairlift number 106. The Summit Ski Museum is open year-round and located at 308-B South Main Street.
Gold Panning at Lomax Placer Mine
Kids can spend hours getting wet in the cold running creek at Lomax Gulch. After touring the old Assay office and mine workings from the 1860’s, rent a gold pan and head to the stream to test your luck. This is a real creek with real mud, dirt, and gold flecks, just as the miners experienced a century ago. The Lomax Placer Mine is typically open June-September and is located at 301 Ski Hill Road.
Pet Graveyard at the Barney Ford House Museum
Barney Ford fled enslavement in the South and made his way, and his fortune, in mining and hospitality in Colorado. Breckenridge was especially good to Barney and he built one of the most beautiful Victorian-era homes in town in 1882. While kids might not be interested in Mr. Ford’s gold-flecked wallpaper, they are usually enthralled with the pet cemetery in the yard. Long before it was a museum, the Barney Ford house was the residence of a local family and the remains of their beloved pets are still interred there. What kinds of pets were they? You’ll have to visit to find out! The Barney Ford House Museum is open year-round and located at 111 East Washington Avenue.
Inside the Boarding House at Iowa Hill
The hike up Iowa Hill is free and open to all. But only on the guided Hike Through Gold Mine History tour offered by the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance can you go inside the restored 1870s-era boarding house at the top of the hill. Light shining in opposing windows makes a perfect setting for a family portrait in front of the fully laden dining table, just as the miners would have enjoyed over a hundred years ago.
Whistle Number 9
Locomotive Number 9 hauled passengers and ore over the narrow-gauge High Line railroad on today’s Boreas Pass Road for many decades. At the High Line Railroad Park, kids can burn off energy at the train-themed playground and delight in pressing the button to hear the sounds of train engine Number 9. The park is open year-round (weather permitting) and the museum is typically open June-September. The park is located at 189 Boreas Pass Road.
Rub the Nugget for Good Luck
Prospector Park on Main Street is a convenient gathering place for families to enjoy play time in downtown Breckenridge. The over-sized sculpture of Tom and his huge gold nugget, known as Tom’s Baby because he carried it to the assay office nestled in a blanket, is a favorite location for a family photo. Rub the nugget for good luck. The park is located at 114 North Main Street.
written by Leigh Girvin