Plan your next adventure to Denver Colorado, where family-friendly escapades include one-of-a-kind things to do with kids of all ages
Denver Colorado, nestled in the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, effortlessly melds urban flair with outdoor pursuits, providing plenty of fun things to do with kids. The Rockies beckon winter sports enthusiasts with adventures all within two hours of Mile High City. Denver’s family-friendly museums and city parks provide endless child-oriented experiences appropriate for every age.
What makes Denver Colorado so kid-friendly?
A myriad of family-friendly activities and attractions unique to Mile High City keep things interesting and the little ones engaged. The Greater Denver area is a vibrant and bustling cityscape full of fascinating and fun educational things to do with kids. Before we dive into our list of unique recreation options, here are some other reasons why Denver is such a splendid place to bring the kiddos:
- Family-oriented community events like farmer’s markets, free concerts and holiday festivities are celebrated year-round.
- Denver averages more than 300 days of sunshine a year, perfect for outdoor recreation no matter the season or avocation.
- Experiential children’s activities are numerous and one-of-a-kind at places like the Denver Zoo, the Downtown Aquarium and Meow Wolf Denver.
- Fun kids’ activities include numerous water and theme parks to expend energy with areas dedicated to tiny tykes.
- A whopping 326 public parks comprise Denver Colorado, flourishing with green space for child-friendly recreation.
- Mile High City is an art-oriented, culture-driven city that fosters creativity and wonder in all ages.
- Denver is an accessible city for adolescents and adults alike with mobility issues or other challenges, both indoors and in outdoor spaces.
Experiential Things to Do with Kids at Denver Museums
Mile High City is loaded with fun and interesting museums that grab kids’ attentions and hold on tight.
1. Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Over at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, future ecologists and other curious kids can discover a multitude of interactive exhibits. Perfect for children of all ages, groups can explore magnificent displays, including Mysteries of the Ice Ages, a fascinating journey thousands of years into the past. Captivate young minds at the Infinity Theater, with a giant cinema screen showing natural and immersive 2D and 3D family-friendly experiences. Two examples of these include “Discover Antarctica” and “Secrets of the Sea in 3D” with stunning visuals and impressive audio sure to spark wonder in children. Visit the Planetarium and witness the enigmas of space and our solar system, providing future astronomers with a unique perspective. (dmns.org)
2. Children’s Museum of Denver
Mystery abounds at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marisco Campus, a learning museum that piques the curiosity of kids of all ages. Children ranging from newborns, toddlers, and grade schoolers to teenagers and college students will have a blast while learning through exploration. Investigate interactive exhibits with infants and babies using water, kinetics, bubbles and energy. Imagine the possibilities when your toddler or eight-year-old discovers they want to be a veterinarian while playing Ready Vet Go. Grade schoolers are encouraged to create art and memories at the Art Studio using clay, chalk and paint. The Teaching Kitchen spices up any visit, while youngsters can hammer away at the Assembly Plant building treasures. Everyone can explore Joy Park, a one-of-a-kind playground full of unique equipment for all ages, including a zip line that’s great for active tweens and teens. (mychildsmuseum.org)
3. Denver Firefighters Museum
At the Denver Firefighters Museum, the history of the Denver Fire Department is preserved and on display for every child to enjoy. Junior firefighters will learn helpful fire safety and prevention while discovering authentic artifacts, including antique fire engines. On the second and fourth Saturday of each month, Fun at the Firehouse hosts young children for storytime and crafts, all with a fire theme. Tons of interactive activities for kids include exploration of artifacts and tools of the trade. Children can dress up in bunking gear and pretend to drive a fire truck. Tykes can practice calling 9-1-1 on a special telephone and visit Squirt’s Square to practice emergency plans for a safe escape. (denverfirefightersmuseum.org)
4. Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum
Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Museum has loads of fun things to do with kids in Denver Colorado. Photo courtesy of Visit Denver
Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum offers aviation-focused exhibits, artifacts, programs and events for kindergarteners to college students. Discover the iconic “Huey” helicopter used in the Vietnam War. Kids over ten can experience an action-packed thrill on the full-motion MaxFlight simulator. In addition, learn about the ultra-competitive sport of air racing in the film “Air Racers,” which plays at the museum’s impressive Harrison Ford Theater. (wingsmuseum.org)
Natural and Aquatic Things to Do With Kids
Summertime evokes a longing for fun theme park rides and playing in the water. Denver Colorado, certainly has family groups covered in that department.
5. Denver Zoo
Animal lovers unite at the Denver Zoo, an award-winning facility perfect for children of all ages. Here, groups can examine numerous species in natural habitats offering in-person experiences sure to tickle all ages. Glimpse unique animals from America, Africa, South America, Asia, the Tropics and other regions worldwide. Adjacent to the zoo, you’ll find the perfect area for little ones to let out some steam at City Park, offering a lake, a baseball/softball field, a soccer field, picnic tables, scenic green space, a water fountain and a biking/walking path. (denverzoo.org)
6. Downtown Aquarium
The Downtown Aquarium showcases hundreds of marine animal and plant species children can marvel at up close. Curiosities pique at the exhibits like the colorful Coral Lagoon, the Sunken Temple, the Shipwreck and more. Featuring an aquatic performance geared toward children, Mystic Mermaid captures underwater acrobatic routines with these magical, real-life creatures. Make a reservation at the Aquarium Restaurant to enjoy a live Mermaid show from your dinner table. (downtownaquariumdenver.com)
7. Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park
Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park is a popular attraction to visit with kids during the summertime. Little tykes can hitch a train ride through KiddieLand or take a mini hot air balloon ride. Family attractions include classics like the Ferris Wheel, Tilt-A-Whirl and the beloved carousel. The adjoining Water Park includes family water slides, a splash pad equipped with sprayers, and a wave pool. They even have a holiday lights show during Christmastime. (elitchgardens.com)
8. Water World
More aquatic things to do with kids await at Water World, offering more toddler-friendly family fun. Gentle water slides will keep tykes entertained for hours, as will Calypso Cove, a multi-level jungle gym in the middle of the water, complete with water slides. Numerous lazy rivers provide calm rides while the Lost River of the Pharaohs takes youngsters on a whitewater voyage. (waterworldcolorado.com)
Kid Cuisine and Uniquely Denver Colorado Activities
Denver’s eclectic food scene caters to youngsters and their sweet teeth. You can also find exceptional one-of-a-kind experiences made for kids in Mile High City.
9. Hammond’s Candy Factory Tour
There are several exciting things to do with kids all over Denver, including a 30-minute Hammond’s Candy Factory Tour complete with complimentary treats. Glimpse the making of over 5,000 pounds of delicious sweets using centuries-old secret recipes. That’s equivalent to more than ten thousand candies made each day! The world of confectionery comes to life on large screens throughout the tour featuring the detailed processes of candy-making. (hammondscandies.com)
10. Little Man Ice Cream
Another sweet Denver destination is Little Man Ice Cream, a 6,000-square-foot “Willy Wonka meets the Industrial Age” facility and tasting room that is itself an attraction. Before heading inside, enjoy photo opportunities in front of an iconic Denver Colorado roadside attraction, the original 28-foot-tall milk can. Mouthwatering homemade chef-inspired ice creams are made from the freshest locally sourced ingredients. In addition, Little Man provides vegan and gluten-free options. (littlemanicecream.com)
11. Meow Wolf Denver
Art comes to life at Meow Wolf Denver, literally in some cases. Get ready to have your mind blown because Meow Wolf is unlike any other family-friendly experience available today. Kids and adults alike will be swallowed up by immersive and colorful art installations around every corner. Meow Wolf also inspires creativity in children and young adults through art exhibits and events like comedy acts, musical performances and holiday shows. (meowwolf.com)
12. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
Get outside where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains at the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, which touts a history that spans “from Dinosaurs to Rock n’ Roll.” Discover the awe-inspiring scenery of 738 acres where dinosaurs once roamed and visit the magnificent amphitheater that was President Roosevelt’s pet project in the 1930s. A whopping 9,525 seats can easily accommodate large groups to enjoy performances of all calibers. Past performances include the Counting Crows, Arctic Monkeys and the Steve Miller Band, to name a few. Or, how about taking part in an inspiring yoga session in the amphitheater? (redrocksonline.com)
Honorable Mentions in Mile High City
We couldn’t end our article without mentioning a few other things to do with kids in Denver Colorado, that may interest the gang:
- The Denver Arts Center stirs creativity in children of all ages through its Kid’s Art Programs, offering diverse classes exploring mixed media and techniques.
- An authentic steam engine train ride through the 1915 Tiny Town (located near Red Rocks Park) is a great summertime activity where children can also explore more than 100 tiny kid-sized buildings.
- Little ones from six months to six years old can engage in intentional play at Kids Wonder, which fosters social, emotional, physical and intellectual development through fun, age-appropriate playtime.
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By Heather Dale, PTM staff writer
Header photo – Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, courtesy of Visit Denver and Adam Bove.