Things To Do in Denver When You Have Kids
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, take a few days to explore the city, too. The Mile High City has a lot of things to do with kids. If you are visiting with teens you can rent a B-Cycle from the city’s bike-sharing program. With other kids it’s easy enough to explore on foot. Here are the Denver activities I like to do most on a vacation with my school-age kids. (Read about what do in Denver at the Holidays and the Ski Train from Union Station.)
10 Top Things To Do in Denver With Kids
Try a Museum
The Denver Art Museum offers free admission on the first Saturday of each month. The museum encourages families to visit and even offers backpacks filled with 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 over a large interactive map, or step into the Old West town of Keota (top), 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.
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.
Don’t Forget to Eat
The 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. Kids of any age will enjoy this, but it’s an especially good way to keep toddlers entertained during a meal.
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).
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Lesley Kennedy writes about family, fashion and other trends for the Online Shopping Report on ShopAtHome.com.