There is something truly magical about the city of Denver. In fact, it's one of our favorite cities in the USA! For this reason, we are beyond excited to share our top favorite things to do in Denver with kids. You will be spoilt for choice, so we couldn't wait to share with you our "Top 9 Family Attractions" that you can enjoy on your next family day out in Colorado's capital. There are so many fun things to do with kids in Denver, so make sure you keep reading to see what you might like to include when you next visit The Mile High City!
In this Denver City Guide, we'll be sharing the best museums to explore, the coolest parks to get some rays, and the most animal-tastic experiences any family could want! If that wasn't enough, we'll be sharing with you some FREE things to do with kids! We'll also let you know the best ways to get around the city, as well as let you in on some super fun facts you can impress all your friends with.
Want to explore a little further out? Keep reading as we let you know our favorite day trip from Denver, plus we share with you some famous faces who proudly call Denver home. We want to make sure you don’t miss out on anything on your famiily day out to wonderful city of Denver!
Regardless of whether this is your first trip to the city in the Rockies, or perhaps you've lived here for years and you still think "I wonder what is there is to do near me?", then keep reading, because we have the top things to do in Denver with kids, just for you!
Situated in the foothills of the Rockies, it was back in 1858 when Denver was founded as a gold mining town. After all the gold was unearthed (and it didn't take them long!), the city then became the hub for the miners who worked in the mountains.
Denver was named after James W Denver, who was an American solider, politician and lawyer. He served with the United States Army across both the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.
Today, Denver continues to be an important trade hub in the country, with mining companies, aviation companies and brewing companies just some of the key industries that allow the economy to thrive.
Did you know that Denver has an incredibly wide array of nationally recognised museums? From the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, to the Children's Museum of Denver and the Denver Art Museum, even if you just decided to make your Denver experience all about museums, you STILL would have enough to enjoy on a second trip.
But Denver is SO much more than museums, so whether you love animal-tastic attractions like Denver Zoo, or learning part of the history by exploring the Colorado State Capital, you'll find your time in Denver fun, exciting, educational and thoroughly rewarding!
Stick with us, and you'll discover so many things to do and see in this amazing Colorado city, you certainly won't be short of things to do with the family! So keep reading to find out exactly how YOU can spend your next family day out in the city you might never want to leave.
If you won't have a car when in Denver (or parents, given the breweries you may not want to drive!) it won't be an issue as there are so many options for getting around Denver. The RTD (Regional Transportation District) runs a light rail that covers nearly 35 miles of tracks from the suburbs into the city. Some of the stations have free park-and-rides too.
They also offer a bus fleet especially for those with disabilities, active military and pass program holders, to name a few.
For a bit of fun in your travels, the MallRide is a FREE hybrid vehicle that scoots up and down the heart of downtown Denver, covering 16 blocks! With all these public transport options, all you need to worry about is what to do next!
Source and Image Credit: More information here: RTD
Top 9 Family Things To Do in Denver
One of the things Denver is best known for is the incredible food. Not just so delicious, but the variety too! A fun way to really enjoy another side of Denver is to take a tour with Delicious Denver Food Tours.
The "Downtown Denver Food Tour" is suitable for kids (with disounted tickets for those under 12 years), so if they don't mind a bit of walking (which as we know creates a great appetite!) then get those walking shoes on, and see (and taste!) another side of Denver!
Image Credit & Website: Delicious Denver Food Tours
Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Denver
1The Molly Brown House Museum
For over 50 years (and counting!) the Molly Brown House Museum has been giving families a chance to experience what life a century ago would have been like. This iconic house represents that life would have been life for those who made their fortune in the gold, trades, and the railroads.
In 1970, the house was due for demolition but Historic Denver saved it, so it really is worth a visit on any trip to Denver. And just who was Molly Brown, the "daughter of adventure"? Well, head to the museum to find out (Hint - the Titanic is involved)
Image Credit: Molly Brown House Museum
Explore the wonders of ocean without having to leave land at the Downtown Aquarium! Kids can discover what creatures live in the rainforest, creatures that are native to North America, creatures who thrive near coral and even creatures who live in the desert!
Also at Downtown Aquarium are fun experiences for the kids, including a carousel, 4D theatre and Aquarium Express! Choo choo! Great family fun in Denver
Image Credit: Downtown Aquarium
Egyptian mummies, dinosaurs, outer space, the human body, the weather - all of these things and SO much more are waiting to be discovered at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science!
Kids can let their imaginations run wild as they explore the numerous permanent exhibitions - from the brightest gem stones to fascinating wildlife and beyond. The museum also rotate a number of exhibits too, so there will always be something for you to go back to enjoy!
Image Credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Lions, tigers and bears - oh my! It seems Denver Zoo is the place to be on that next family day out in Denver! Beautiful, weird and wonderful animals from all over the world are ready to say hi - from the grandest lion, to the smallest fish. Ever heard of an Aye-Aye? Well, at Denver Zoo you can also discover new animals!
In addition to the beautiful creatures, Denver Zoo also offer great educational experiences, from keeper talks to feedings, and also teach kids about conservation which is invaluable.
Image Credit: Denver Zoo
There are so many amazing museums in Denver, but when you visit with kids, make sure you also visit museums that were made FOR kids, such as the Children's Museum Denver!
This fun interactive museum is all about giving kids a hands-on experience, and a space where they can play, explore, and use those imaginations. Exhibits range from fun fire stations, vet surgeries, doctors offices, markets, reading spots, outdoor play and MORE!
Image Credit: Children's Museum Denver
The Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Museum is a fascinating day out for kids where not only can you LEARN about air and space aviation history (and the future!) but you can also SEE real life planes and shuttles in real life - right in front of your very eyes!
In addition to the amazing range of exhibits at the Air & Space Museum, from the Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, astronauts and the Sonic Arrow, you can also visit the Exploration of Flight museum nearby.
Image Credit: Wings Over The Rockies
Arrr me harties, it's summer time in Denver and seems like you need to cool down! Just as well Pirates Cove Waterpark is on our Top 9 things to do with kids in Denver!
Make a splash at this seasonal waterpark with all your waterpark favorites, from slides, tipping bucket, lazy river, and even sand area to play in. Little ones always love the spray area to cool off in too! Get ready to make that SPLASH in Denver (and no, there's no plank to walk!)
Image Credit: Pirates Cove
One of the things that makes Denver so special, and such a beautiful city to visit is how much it embraces nature as much as it embraces its urban side. A visit to the stunning Denver Botanic Gardens is a must, as there is just so much to see and well, who doesn't love nature!?
Spread across 24 glorious acres, Denver Botanic Gardens feature 18 individual gardens for you to explore, all of which thrive in Colorado's climate, from cactus, conifers, succulents and more.
Image Credit: Denver Botanic Gardens
A theme park AND a waterpark? Naturally such a magical attraction needs to go in our Top 9! Elitch Gardens is two parks in one, and doesn't disappoint! Make a splash with the refreshing water rides, get wild with the thrill rides, and be entertained by the, well, amazing entertainment!
The great thing about Elitch Gardens is that there is something for all ages. Whether you have toddlers in the family who want kiddie sized rides or gentle water fun, or those towering teens wanting to push the boundaries and take on as many thrills as they can, Elitch Gardens has you sorted!
Image Credit: Elitch Gardens
Famous Folk From Denver!
Tim Allen is an American comedian and actor, best known for his role as Tim "The Toolman" Taylor in the long-running sitcom Home Improvement. He also starred in classic movies including The Santa Claus and Galaxy Quest, and was the voice ofBuzz Lightyearin Toy Story!
Image Copyright: MingleMedia TV
David Fincher is a successful American film director, with his films having received 40 Academy Award nominations to date - three for Best Director. His films include Seven and The Social Network. His career began as a music video direct for artists such as Aerosmith, Michael Jackson and Madonna.
Image Copyright: Elen Nivrae
5 Fun Denver Facts
Impress your friends with your amazing Denver knowledge!
- The cheeseburger was invented in Denver by Humpty-Dumpty Barrel Drive-In owner Louis Ballast!
- Over 200 mountain peaks are visable from the city!
- Legend has it that the first permanent structure in the city was a saloon!
- Denver is located one mile above sea level, earning it the nickname "The Mile High City"
- Denver is home to the largest street in the entire USA - Colfax Street!
Top 5 FREE Things To Do With Kids In Denver!
Tour the Colorado State Capitol Building
Modeled after the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C, this State Capitol building is one of the most impressive structures in the city! The tours of the Colorado State Capitol take around an hour and include a trip to the dome observation area. It's worth noting that the dome is a 99 step climb above the 3rd floor and is accessible by stairs only. If you are not able to make the climb, they do offer a video presentation of the dome on the third floor.
Daily tours are available weekdays at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm, maximum 15 people on a first come first serve basis.
Image Credit: Colorado State Capitol
Tour the US Mint!
Whilst you can't take any souvniers away (sorry kids!), you can enjoy a FREE 45 minute tour of the US Mint, and discover how money is made for the American people!
Tours are great for adults and for kids, and the informative guide is always very happy to answer any questions you may have. You can learn all about the craftsmanship needed at all stages of the minting process, from the original designs and sculptures to the actual striking of the coins. It's always fun to see where and how things are made!
Image Credit: United State Mint
Explore Red Rocks Part & Amphitheater
The Red Rock Amphitheatre is renowned for it's incredible concerts and movie events, but when there aren't any events on, did you know there's a free Visitors Center complete with a museum and a Performers Hall of Fame that you can enjoy?
Only 15 miles west of Denver, the scenery itself it worth a visit - the free museum is the cherry on the top! Take the hiking boots because there are plenty of free hiking trails for you to enjoy whilst you're there. Between June and October, they do offer paid tours for a small fee if you'd like to deepen your experience
Image Credit: Red Rocks
Enjoy City Park!
City Park might be home to the admission-based Denver Zoo, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, but City Park is also an amazing place to visit for that super fun park experience with the family!
The park is so much more than a park, with two lakes, historical monuments, sports opportunities, plenty of places to play and cycle and run - and in summer, there is a popular bandstand which offers FREE music events for everyone!
Image Credit: Denver Parks and Rec
Visit Denver Art Museum
Denver Art Museum houses one of the largest Native American art collections in the entire USA - and that is just ONE reason to visit this incredible museum! There's also the incredible Western American art collection - part of their permanent exhibitions - which never ceases to inspire
Not only are kids under 18 years free year round, they host "Free" days once or twice a month (check online for specifics), which means adults havea a chance to enjoy this impressive art collection free of charge too!
Image Credit: Denver Art Museum
Iconic Foods In Denver On A $50 Budget!
Just over an hour from Denver is the absolutely stunning Colorado Springs, and this unique and historic city is well worth a visit during any family adventure to Denver
There are SO many attractions in and things to do in Colorado Springs with the family, from zoos, museums, trains, and plenty of outdoor adventure - from the mild, to the WILD! With a rich history and vibrant energy, the experiences in Colorado Springs are limitless.
It's thought that through archaelogical evidence found in the Garden of the Gods area, humans have been calling the lands around Colorado Springs home for at least 3,500 years. In fact, it was the Ute people who predominately called the region home.
Then, in 1858, Old Colorado City was built during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, and the region began to develop. Old Colorado City was actually part of the American frontier, and was once the Colorado Territory capital.
Because of the region's climate and proximity to the mountains, it was thought to have special healing properties, which is why General William Jackson Palmer founded Colorado Springs - as a health resort town.
Towards the end of the century, with the addition of railroads and more gold, the population exploded, and today you have a beautiful city - incredibly rich in history - waiting to be enjoyed!
Image Credit: Visit Colorado Springs
Here’s our top 4 Colorado Springs attractions to visit:
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Let's get the family adventure started!