Things to do in Denver

Things To Do Denver With Kids

There’s a mountain of fun to be had in the Mile High City — strap in for a nosedive into adventure!

Just beyond the Rocky Mountain foothills lies a vast expanse of high plains, with a glinting steel metropolis perched on top. This is Denver, Colorado, home to breath-stealing natural wonders and man-made marvels.

Here, powdery snow drifts from the ski slopes in puffy clouds, and dinosaurs stalk the earth beneath the street. Sights and stories await visitors to this city in the clouds — even those of the pint-sized variety.

A playground for kids and adults rests here, itching to be uncovered by curious crusaders. For those with small companions, the list of things to do in Denver with kids is never-ending. You just need to know where to look.

Here’s a delightful selection of destinations to get you started.

Educational Exploration

Knowledge plus fun equals a mighty fine day out — minus the boredom, of course. Encourage the expansion of young minds with these educational experiences, all topped off with a dash of excitement.

1. Denver Museum of Nature & Science

From the frigid plains of the last Ice Age to the uncharted depths of space, no frontier is too big for young minds.

Your journey through the Denver Museum of Nature & Science starts billions of years ago beneath an ancient ocean. And it whisks you through Earth’s history by the millennia.

Towering dinosaur skeletons and wildlife halls highlight the diversity among our planet’s inhabitants. Nature and science combine in an interactive exploration of cells and minerals, culminating in a wide-open space discovery center where young astronauts will blast off to uncharted universes.

2. Children’s Museum of Denver

The lively chatter of little voices floats through the winding halls of the Children’s Museum of Denver. Here, playtime equals investigation, empowering young minds to grow and expand through experimental play.

For youngsters just beginning to explore the big wide world around them, this imaginative space is a fun and formative stepping stone.

Creative playtime flaunts real-world charm in mock grocery markets and veterinary clinics. For small scientists, hands-on experiments make use of bubbles, water, and kinetic energy to turn everyday items into spellbinding tools.

From making comfort food in the Teaching Kitchen to understanding altitude on a mountain summit, visitors come here to marvel at the mundane.

3. Dinosaur Ridge

Reports among Denver residents of a mysterious rumble beneath the paved city streets suggest something large lurking underground.

Follow the echoing roars, and you’ll end up at Dinosaur Ridge, an acclaimed paleontology site doubling as a national landmark.

A visit here entails a trip back in time to the Jurassic Period. Giants walked the earth then, leaving behind traces that would draw visitors to the rocky hillcrest millions of years later.

With a charming geologist as your guide, the Dinosaur Ridge walking tour gives you a close-up glimpse at the remains of natural eras long passed.

Just outside, the famed Dinosaur Freeway marks a migration path for duck-billed herbivores, while kid-friendly dig sites channel the energy of the paleontologists who unearthed the first stegosaurus the world had ever seen.

Photographer: Djamel Ramdani

4. Denver Firefighters Museum

The cherry-red blur of a fire truck in action is guaranteed to capture the attention of any young citizen.

These horn-honking vehicles stay parked at the Denver Firefighters Museum, a fascinating tribute to Colorado’s heroic team through the ages. Firefighting equipment of yore is on full display here.

Installments such as horse-drawn carriages, silver uniforms, and charred debris from historic infernos make for a gallery that evokes awe and gratitude for modern-day technology.

A lifetime spent battling blazes in burning buildings produces a hearty collection of stories, many of which are chronicled inside the gallery’s historic brick walls.

Interactive elements induce a rush of exhilaration in adventurous spirits old and young. It’s said the ghostly blare of sirens still wafts through this electric atmosphere for total immersion into its fiery history.

Outdoor Adventures

Ski slopes and nature hikes aren’t the only ways to soak up the crisp Colorado air. Set forth on an alfresco journey with these outdoor activities.

5. Denver Zoo

Of all the things to do in Denver with kids, nothing quite compares to a stroll through natural habitats filled with furred and feathered fauna.

Denver Zoo remains a prime destination for families of all stripes, where a trek through dozens of topographical habitats can be undertaken in a single day.

Prowl Predator Ridge for a peek at regal lions and laughing hyenas, then embark on a seaside voyage with help from some friendly seals.

The bright red Denver Zoo Railroad chugs along its tracks, carrying visitors through the Elephant Passage and across the carousel-crowned Woodland Garden. With tranquil walking trails and all the animals you can think of, the Denver Zoo has all the makings of a fun-filled day with kids.

Photographer: Morgan Newnham

6. Denver Botanic Gardens

Blossoming young spirits shoot to the sky given the space to grow, and the inhabitants of Denver Botanic Gardens are no different. An expansive 24 acres of green space overflow with budding flora in a rainbow maze of flowers, shrubs, and towering trees.

To walk through these gardens is to step into a mosaic of color. Tranquil waters stand by countless blooms, evoking an enchanted forest where a lucky child might encounter a tricky fairy and embark on a spellbinding adventure for the ages.

Traverse this calming patchwork of natural life. When you’re able to secure a sitter, reconsider this spot as a date idea in Denver. You and your significant other can paint a picture of togetherness in a rosy hue.

Denver Adventures

The bustling of the city falls behind as the wind whips past your face, hundreds of trees rushing by in a blur. Denver Adventures is one for the bold.

Both the longest and fastest of Colorado’s ziplines, this hefty metal line hangs taut 250 feet in the Rocky Mountain air, making it one of the most fun things to do in Denver with kids.

Nearly 2 miles of zipline routes offer stunning views of the peaks and plains beyond. Zipping from mountain to mountain offers an unimpeded exploration of Denver’s surrounding natural wonders, all bathed in the red-orange glow of the setting sun.

Ideal for adults and older children, this fast-paced adventure turns an ordinary day into a lifelong memory of fantastic physical feats.

7. The Edge: Epic Sky Trek

Channel your inner acrobat at The Edge, a four-story aerial obstacle course suspended above the rolling earth. Over 100 physical challenges offer hours of fun.

You can navigate rickety plank bridges, crawl through hanging tunnels, and pedal a bike three flights up.

Not your typical jungle gym, the Epic Sky Trek caters to daredevils and new adventurers alike. Choose your trek, and set forth, harness clipped into the guiding line above.

Timid spirits have a fun romp on the first level, while serious trekkers test their skills high up in the clouds. It’s one of our favorite unique things to do in Denver.

8. Confluence Park

Nature and civilization meet in the middle at Confluence Park, perched along a riverfront trail on the banks of Cherry Creek. A picturesque afternoon outdoors is what you’ll find here. Bikers and hikers mingle on tree-lined paths. Fishing poles dangle in the waters below.

A lazy tube in the creek is the perfect task for energy-filled children on a hot summer day. Cozy picnics on the lush green lawn means plenty of time to soak up the mile-high air.

Interactive Experiences

Denver adventures aren’t just the visual sort. Here, little hands get in on the action for a deep-diving expedition into the unknown.

9. Downtown Aquarium

A mile above sea level, the secret lives of underwater creatures shimmer in the surface light. Denver’s Downtown Aquarium leads visitors on a breathtaking expedition beneath the waves — without ever getting your feet wet.

Eyes pressed against the tanks, you’ll peer into the cracks and crevices where scaly friends rest their fins as schools of fish swim by in a flurry.

With exotic exhibits, cruise around the world through dense rainforests and dry deserts. Along the way, you’ll get acquainted with reef-dwelling eels and hardy wharf sharks.

Board the Downtown Aquarium Express for a ride around the tracks with a first-rate view of the nearby wetlands. With luck, you’ll glimpse the black stripes of a resident tiger — and maybe a finned underwater maiden.

10. Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park

Only in the Mile High City does an amusement park take over downtown for the better part of a year. Elitch Gardens is one of those classic things to do in Denver with kids that never disappoint.

It doesn't matter how many times you’ve zipped along on the Brain Drain or spun around on the Ferris wheel.

Flying swings and towers of doom attract older visitors with their risky allure, while younger park-goers rule the carousel and Tilt-a-Whirl.

The adjoining water park boasts electrifying slides with spine-chilling slingshots into cool pools far below. (Plus, there's some tamer slides that still elicit squeals of joy.) Of course, no Elitch Gardens excursion is complete without a sugar-dusted funnel cake hot from the fryer.

Photographer: Acton Crawford

11. Indoor Skydiving at iFly Denver

An afternoon with the gift of flight is enough to make memories that last a lifetime. This skyward expedition starts at iFly Denver, where vertical flight chambers help visitors defy gravity on a daily basis.

Flight suit donned, elite iFly instructors will join you and your crew on every voyage to the skies, and the wind lifts you higher and higher. For kids, it’s the thrill. For adults, it’s the swell of pride as young companions spread their wings.

12. Hammond’s Candy Factory

The crunch of a rainbow lollipop and the smooth bite of a chocolate bar are simple joys that only children have mastered the meaning of. Small delights are the currency of the day at Hammond’s Candy Factory, which serves up sweet treats from century-old recipes.

At its sugar-scented home in Denver, Hammond’s confectionery chefs whip up visually stunning treats. Here, you’ll take in the satisfying enrobing of chocolate bonbons, the mixing of fudge flavors, and the stretch and twirl of peppermint candy canes.

Completely complementary, a detailed tour of the factory gives budding candy-makers the chance to create their own confection. Finished with a tantalizing trip through the adjoining candy shop, this is one Denver family attraction that’s as sweet as it is fascinating.

13. National Western Stock Show

Saddle up your steed for a ride down to the National Western Stock Show, where the clatter of hooves melds with the wild whoops of spectators.

This historic rodeo showcases agricultural spirit in a celebratory display of the best in horses and livestock. But fully grown animal lovers aren’t the only ones welcome here.

A sea of tiny cowboy hats flock to the stands each week to gaze at kid-friendly productions, from Wild West reenactments to extreme canine choreography.

This Denver family-friendly activity shocks and inspires with its masterful team of furry friends.

Costumed horses gallop in practiced lines. Dogs fly through the air in aerial feats. You’ll wonder if you haven’t time-traveled to the early days of our shows.

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14. Meow Wolf Denver’s Convergence Station

Art rocks, but “no touching” policies can be kind of a drag. It’s a good thing regular rules don’t apply at Meow Wolf Denver, home to the otherworldly Convergence Station.

Here lies a transit hub, connecting Colorado to four alien universes packed with sci-fi splendors to study.

The mysterious Quantum Department of Transportation regulates the rail beyond reality for travelers brave enough to dive into the surreal.

Neon castles and shadowy psychic shops are just some of the secrets tucked inside the streets of these strange worlds. Nature-defying creatures roam the station.

And playful guides to dimensions lie far beyond the familiar. Meow Wolf turns the concept of “immersive art” inside out and upside down. Find a space that speaks to you here. You might just forget to catch the train home.

Cultural Activities

Denver’s booming cultural scene beckons young explorers to its vibrant happenings. These city-centric adventures will turn the whole family into veritable Denverites.

15. Denver Center for the Performing Arts

In the seconds before a stage curtain lifts, anticipation reaches its zenith. For the audience’s youngest members, the velvet veil’s rise gives way to a hidden world of bright spotlights and fabulous costumes.

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts stuffs its shows with thrills and laughs that are sure to delight. Where music trills and local performers show their skills, a play here is a one-way ticket to a memorable story.

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16. Denver Art Museum’s Family Programs

Have a budding creative in your clan? At the Denver Art Museum, it’s smocks on, brushes up for the weekly family fun program. Here, kids try their hand at artistic expression inspired by the pieces on the surrounding walls.

Draped in vibrant colors, the Creative Hub is a gathering place for families eager to dive into imaginative exploration with quiet prompts that leave room for interpretation.

All mediums are appreciated here, from transformative costumes to delicate wooden sculptures. Storytelling hours, scavenger hunts through the gallery, and theatrical productions turn an afternoon at the museum into a memorable exercise in inventiveness.

17. Discovering Denver with the Next Generation

Colorado’s capital is a wonderland of discovery, a space where young minds can blossom and bloom. From interactive art to monumental natural wonders, adventurers of all ages can find a feat that fuels them.

We've taken Denver by storm. Of all the spirited souls in Denver, few appreciate a child’s perspective quite like we do. With us, whimsy abounds in a swirl of fantastical tricks, sparking merry delight in unsuspecting audiences.

Here, acrobats soar through the air against stunning backdrops as orchestral melodies waft across the stage. Every sense stirs at the sight of such theatrical marvels.

Our shows in Denver are so miraculous that they'll leave you and your young companions mesmerized.

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