When it comes to activities and attractions, certain cities seem to be more family-friendly than others. Situated between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, the city of Denver, Colorado, offers a variety of fun things to do for families. From parks and museums to aquariums and zoos, eight exciting Denver attractions make the Mile High City a favorite travel destination for kids and their parents.
Denver Art Museum
This stunning Denver Art Museum houses an extensive collection, including classics like Van Gogh, Monet and Degas, and you can expand your knowledge as you wander through exhibits of Native American art, textile art and photography. Even if you’re not an art fan, the architecture alone is worth a visit.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science packs a wealth of scientific topics into a single building. Whether you’re into paleontology, zoology, astronomy, anthropology or geology, you’re sure to learn something new. Come for the dinosaur bones and stay for the mummies.
Don’t be fooled by all the skyscrapers – Denver’s core has a wealth of historic buildings for you to explore. As you wander through the streets, be sure to work your way through the LoDo (Lower Downtown) area. This historic warehouse district is packed with sightseeing attractions, stores, breweries and much, much more.
Mount Evans Scenic Byway
If you miss out on the natural beauty surrounding Denver, you’ve only experienced half of what the city has to offer. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway offers easy access to the majesty of the Rockies, so even if you’re not an outdoorsy type, you still get ample photo opportunities. If you’re lucky, you might even see some mountain goats.
Visit the World’s Largest Brewery
Though Coors is a widespread domestic brand, its roots run deep in Colorado. The Coors brewery in the Denver suburb of Golden is the largest single-site beer brewing facility on the planet, making it a sight to see, especially for people who love beer. You can tour the brewery for free, and only those with a valid ID proving their 21-plus age can sample the wares.
Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave
Celebrate the life of a wild west icon at the informative Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave. This site is also Buffalo Bill’s burial place; it was his dying wish to be buried on this mountainside. Pack a picnic before you leave your vacation rental, as you’ll find plenty of trails and picnic tables to occupy the rest of your time.
Red Rocks Amphitheater
The Red Rocks Amphitheater hosts concerts, films and shows, but it’s worth going just to see the space. This outdoor theater is carved right into the red rock of the mountain. If you don’t want to see a show, you can also enjoy hiking and mountain biking in the area or take a tour.
Denver Union Station
This historic landmark is still a working train station, so you can watch trains come and go as you admire the early 20th-century architecture. While you’re at the Denver Union Station, you can work in some shopping and grab a bite to eat, as this hub is also home to a shopping center.
Denver’s City Park is massive, offering a natural oasis in the hustle and bustle of the city. If you’re looking for things to do in Denver, you can find lots to occupy your time here. The park contains a public golf course, soccer fields, tennis courts, picnic areas, playgrounds and lakes. In the summer, you can also enjoy jazz concerts and other events.
Along with polar bears, you can catch glimpses of hyenas, kangaroos, tigers, monkeys and rhinos at the Denver Zoo. This activity is great for all ages and is a wonderful way to spend a day outdoors. As the zoo is located in City Park, you can combine the two for lots of fun in the fresh air.
Almost all kids and kids-at-heart enjoy an aquarium. At Denver’s Downtown Aquarium, families can see over 500 species of animals, from sharks and stingrays to live tigers. In addition to all the exciting exhibits, the aquarium offers a restaurant, lounge and gift shop.
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Little ones that enjoy playing with airplanes and rockets will love this museum. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum aircraft exhibits include fighter jets, bombers, gliders and sailplanes. Wandering through the space and rocketry exhibits, visitors find treasures like Titan missile parts and Dream Chaser, the vehicle that shuttles astronauts to the International Space Station.
Denver’s Washington Park is the perfect place for families to picnic and enjoy the sunshine. Spanning 165 acres, the park features formal gardens, expansive green space and walking trails. Also within the park, Smith Lake makes a great option for kayaking or fishing, and plenty of dining opportunities are close by. Just east of the park, families can find restaurants, shops and galleries lining Old South Gaylord Street.
National Western Stock Show and Rodeo
Want to get a modern taste of the Wild West spirit? Check out the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, a ranching convention and rodeo that takes place every year over the course of two weeks in January. The Stock Show commences with a livestock-studded parade through downtown Denver, making it a sight to behold even if you don’t happen to buy tickets to get inside the main event.
Denver offers a unique blend of urban excitement and outdoor fun for an enjoyable vacation destination for your family. Make some or all of these stops part of your travel itinerary, and you’ll want to come back again and again.