Whether you live in the area or are taking a family vacation, Denver is a great family destination. As the capital of Colorado, this city offers a wide variety of attractions and sights. From outdoor to indoor activities, there is fun for all ages. When looking for things to do in Denver with kids, this guide will help you plan your time so you can get the most out of your days.
1. SeaQuest Littleton
Located a few miles west of Denver, SeaQuest Littleton is a must-see aquarium destination. Kids and adults alike can enjoy seeing and interacting with animals from five different continents. Animals are showcased in environments such as the Amazon Rainforest, Mayan Jungle, Pirate Island, Caribbean Cove and Egyptian Desert. Tokens allow you to feed various animals such as birds, iguanas, stingrays and sharks!
Along with checking out the wide variety of animals, there are a number of encounters your children can take part in:
- Snorkeling with stingrays
- Animal whisperer tour
- Sugar glider interaction
For an extra-special birthday party, you can host an overnight celebration when you Sleep with the Sharks! This one of a kind excursion includes a variety of fun learning activities for your child and their friends, including bird feeding, aquarium tour and a movie night under the stars!
2. Denver Museum of Nature and Science
When looking for things to do in Denver with kids, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science offers unique experiences. Permanent exhibitions include Space Odyssey, Egyptian Mummies, Expedition Health, Discovery Zones, Gems and Minerals, Wildlife Halls, North American Indian Cultures and Prehistoric Journey. There are also special exhibitions that change periodically. There are numerous interactive opportunities throughout the museum that are fun for the whole family.
3. City Park
Both the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and the Denver Zoo are located in sprawling City Park. This is a great place to take the kids when they need to expend some energy. The park contains two playgrounds; two lakes; fields for soccer, football and baseball; tennis courts and picnic sites. There are also great views of downtown.
4. Elitch Gardens
Elitch Gardens is both a theme park and water park. The theme park is open spring through fall, while the water park is open Memorial Day through Labor Day. Both include rides and attractions for children of all ages. Smaller kids will enjoy KiddieLand, mini water slides and sprayers, while the older ones can have a blast on the various roller coasters and other thrilling rides.
5. Denver Firefighters Museum
Located downtown, this museum is located in a former Denver fire station. As one of the things to do in Denver with kids, its exhibits focus on the history of firefighting in the city as well as education about fire safety. Kids will love riding in a kid-friendly fire truck, sliding down poles and pretending to be a firefighter putting out fires. There are also Wee Wednesdays, designed for those aged 3 to 5. This one-hour session uses a play-like setting to teach fire safety concepts such as Safe for Play! Keep Away! and Stop! Drop! and Roll!
6. Children’s Museum of Denver
The Children’s Museum of Denver has a strong emphasis on helping kids learn by imagining, investigating, creating and exploring. The imagine exhibit includes picking out healthy food at the market, figuring out how to save a city from a fire and playing veterinarian. Kids can investigate via water, bubbles and energy. The create exhibit has an art studio, assembly plant and teaching kitchen, while exploration includes a joy park and balance centers.
7. Denver Trolley
Most kids love open-air transportation. The Denver Trolley is a streetcar that is similar to the one in the popular children’s s television series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. While younger kids will enjoy the ride, adults will appreciate the narrated tour, which talks about the history of the Gold Rush days in Colorado and how Denver has become one of the top destination cities in the country. The route begins in Confluence Park, right behind the REI flagship store. Some of the attractions seen from the trolley include Elitch Gardens, Denver Aquarium, Children’s Museum, Broncos stadium and beautiful downtown Denver.
8. Confluence Park
Confluence Park is one of the many things to do in Denver with kids. It is located downtown, where the city of Denver was first established, and you can see where the Platte River and Cherry Creek converge. This park is a nice place to hang out when it is warm out, as there is a variety of things to do around the water.
You can sit back and enjoy watching kayakers face the rushing waters or take part in the action. Kids can wade around in the shallow, clear water or join the adults fishing in the Platte River. You can get some exercise on the biking and walking trail. For a more relaxing time, you might sunbathe on the beach.
9. Butterfly Pavilion
If the temperature does not encourage outside activities, the Butterfly Pavilion is a great place to take the kiddos. Located 15 minutes north of downtown in Westminster, this indoor sanctuary is home to a wide variety of invertebrates. Some of the exhibits include Colorado Backyard, Wings of the Tropics, Crawl-A-See-Em, Water’s Edge and Outdoor Gardens. There are numerous interactive opportunities, such as letting a butterfly land on your head in a tropical environment or holding a tarantula named Rosie. There are also daily programs such as animal encounters, feeding demonstrations and guided tours.
10. Tiny Town & Railroad
Morrison, about 15 miles west of Denver, is probably best known for its outdoor amphitheater Red Rocks. However, it is also home to a popular kid attraction: Tiny Town. Open during the summer months, this town is designed for those under four feet tall. There are more than 100 buildings just perfect for small kids. There are also train rides that offer access to parts of the park that cannot be seen any other way.
11. Denver Zoo
If the weather is nice, which it usually is in the Mile High City, the Denver Zoo is one of the great things to do in Denver with kids. Your kids will enjoy seeing tigers, elephants, lions, giraffes, sea lions, penguins, monkeys, cheetahs, gorillas, hippos and more. There are also special experiences such as Stingray Cove, where you can feed the stingrays, and an immersive 4-D experience. There is even a carousel and a railroad that is perfect for little kids. As a bonus to all the fun, contributions from each ticket sale help support wildlife conservation.
Finding activities that please kids is not always easy. However, Denver is home to a wide variety of exhibits, attractions and sights that are fun for all ages. Whether you venture to SeaQuest Littleton or ride the train in Tiny Town, children can be kept busy for days, and you will enjoy yourself as well.