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Things To Do in Denver When You Have Kids


Read about what do in Denver at the Holidays

Denver is the gateway to all the amazing hiking and skiing that the Colorado Rockies offer. But before you head to the state’s great outdoors, make sure to take a few days to explore the city, too.

The Mile High City has a lot to offer families. You can head out on foot or rent a B-Cycle from the city’s bike-sharing program.  Here are my favorite things to do when I visit the city with my school-age kids.

Try a Museum

denver art museumThe Denver Art Museum offers free admission the first Saturday of each month. The museum encourages families to visit and even offers backpacks on certain days filled with suggested games and art activities that will engage the little ones as you explore the galleries.

The recently remodeled History Colorado Center has more to offer kids than you might expect. Explore local history by pushing “steam punk–style” time machines (above) over a large interactive map, or step into the Old West town of Keota, where actors recreate life in in the 1800s in Destination Colorado.

Celebrate Women’s History

Inspire your daughters with a visit to the Molly Brown House, where you can learn all about this traveler, writer, social activist and would-be politician known most for not going down with the Titanic. If you’re lucky you’ll be in town for one of the museum’s high teas, where Teddy Roosevelt and other luminaries of Brown’s day occasionally show up.

Root For a Home Team

Denver is home to eight professional sports teams: The Rockies (baseball), Broncos (football), Avalanche (hockey), Nuggets (baskebtball), Rapids (soccer), the Mammoth and Outlaws (indoor and outdoor lacrosse) and the Barbarians (rugby). No matter the time of year and your family’s favorite sport, you can probably take in a game.

elitch gardens creekGet Outside

From May through October you can head to Elitch Gardens, a theme park with rides and a water park. When it’s in the budget I shell out for a poolside cabana. It’s $200, but includes meals, tube rentals, bottled water, a fan and (best of all) a shaded place to relax while the kids splash.

If you head to the Denver Zoo, make sure to stop by the new $50 million, 10-acre Elephant Passage exhibit that features Asian wildlife. At the stunning Denver Botanic Gardens leave time to explore the Mordecai Children’s Garden, where young kids can splash in a stream, play dress up, dig in the sand, look for bugs, learn about rooftop gardening and, of course, touch the flowers.

denver elephant

Don’t Forget to Eat

casa bonitaThe kids menu at the Downtown Aquarium’s restaurant will not thrill you, but the 50,000-gallon tableside fish tank will. You’ll see fish from the Caribbean Sea, Hawaii, South Pacific and the Indian Ocean. If you’re lucky they’ll be catching a meal at the same time you are. Stop by for lunch or dinner, even if you can’t explore the whole place.

The non-stop excitement at Casa Bonita might not be every parent’s cup of tequila. But your kids will marvel at the Acapulco-style cliff divers and love exploring the arcade and Black Bart’s cave while you wait for your affordable and better-than-you-might-expect Mexican food.

If the kids eat all their lunch consider stopping by Hammond’s Candy Factory, where you can see how your favorite sweets are made. The broken-candy basket in the gift shop is the yummiest bargain bin we’ve ever stumbled across (last tour is at 3:00, Monday – Saturday).

Lesley Kennedy writes about family, fashion and other trends for the Online Shopping Report on ShopAtHome.com.


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1 Comment

  1. Sonja
    July 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm — Reply

    We took the kids to Hammond’s Candy Factory once when they were little – they absolutely loved it and still talk about it today!

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