The Lowdown on Family Fun in Mile-High Denver

Check out these museums, The Queen City of the plains has plenty to offers great day adventures for both indoor and outdoor enthusiasts.


Denverites certainly enjoy all the Rocky Mountain lifestyle has to offer. From skiing in the high country to a plethora of museums and zoological institutes, culture abounds in the Mile High City. If you are in town for a day, weekend or longer, there’s plenty of time to schedule a stop at one of Denver’s attractions.

Some even come free of charge and most have a wide range of activities for all ages. Go ahead and learn about the pioneer days of the Queen City of the Plains, make funny faces at the monkeys and explore acres of majestic gardens.

Central Denver, City Park and Downtown

Denver Art Museum

Located in the heart of downtown is the famed Denver Art Museum. During the weekends, Family Backpacks and Art Tubes are available to help children explore the galleries. Hotspots are open on Saturdays and holiday breaks for hands-on activities in the galleries. The Just for Fun Family Center and Kids Corner are open everyday as well.

100 W 14th Avenue Parkway. Tel. 720-865-5000.Admission:
$13 adults, $10 seniors and college students, $5 youth (6-18), free for children 5 and younger.

Denver Botanic Gardens

If you love plants, fauna and majestic colors, then make this stop that’s close to the city. The Denver Botanic Gardens have magnificent greenhouses for the chilly days, acres of gorgeous flowers and even a children’s secret path. Kids can get their hands dirty at the soil station, enjoy storytime and play musical instruments made from plants.

1005 York St. Tel. 720-865-3500. Admission: $10.50 adults, $7.50 seniors 65+, $7.50 visitors with a military ID, $6 youth ages 4 to 15, $6 students with ID, free for children 3 and under.

Denver Mint

Watch the green stuff being made at the Denver Mint! Reservations are recommended for all tours, as they book up quickly. Remember to arrive at least 15 minutes early and oblige by all security regulations, or you will forfeit your spot. Make sure to leave everything such as cameras, cell phones, backpacks, purses and diaper bags safely locked in your hotel room or car, as none of these items are permitted in the mint.

320 West Colfax Ave. Tel. 303-405-4761. Admission: Free. 

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Located in Denver’s City Park, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science has endless activities to keep the kids busy—even an IMAX theater. The Discovery Zone, an interactive environment, loaded with hands-on activities and participatory shows for children, is open daily. Other exhibits include: Extreme Ice, Mummies, Minerals Tunnel, North American Indian Cultures Shelter, Prehistoric Journey, Space Odyssey Explore and, of course, IMAX and Planetarium shows. There are ongoing storytelling sessions, Storm Shooter presentations—a demonstration of Mother Nature’s awesome power—and much more.

2001 Colorado Blvd. Tel. 303-322-7009. Hours and admission prices for exhibits vary.

Denver Zoo

Who doesn’t enjoy a day strolling through a museum of live animals? Located in Denver’s City Park, this zoo is easily accessible with its ample parking. You might want to leave a morning and an afternoon to get through all the exhibits and visit your favorites—elephants, tigers, camels, bears, penguins—Denver Zoo has them all.

2300 Steele St. Tel. 303-405-4761. Admission:
Ages 3 to 11 $7 in summer, $5 in winter; children under 3 years or age are free; ages 12 to 64 $12 in summer, $9 in winter; ages 65+ $9 in summer, $7 in winter. 

The Children’s Museum of Denver

Across the South Platte River, five minutes from downtown, is the Children’s Museum of Denver. This wacky wonderland is a treat for any tyke. There are 11 innovative and interactive Playscapes designed for children—newborn through age 8. There is a bonus of the newly added Eat Street Café with a variety of fresh and healthy food for a quick and affordable snack.

2121 Childrens Museum Drive. Tel. 303-433-7444. Admission: Free under 1 year of age, 1-year-olds $5.50, ages 2 to 59 $7.50, seniors (60+) $5.50.

Farther Afield

Butterfly Pavilion

This stunning array of color and flight will require a drive from downtown, but is worth the trip. A stroll through the Butterfly Pavilion can take a minimum of 45 minutes or up to 2 hours depending on your speed. Need to stretch your legs in the fresh air? Explore the 11 acres of public gardens and half-mile interpretative trail loop located around the facility.

6252 W. 104th Ave., Westminster. Tel. 303-469-5441. Admission: $7.95 adults, $5.95 seniors 62+, $4.95 children ages 3 to –12.

Four Mile Historic Park

Located in Cherry Creek, a great shopping mecca, Four Mile Historic Park is just four miles from downtown Denver. The historic site is a 12-acre landscape featuring Denver’s oldest standing structure—a great trip through Denver’s days of old. Weekend demonstrations include historic interpretations of traditions from the 1800s. Living History occurs on Sundays with presentations of blacksmithing, sewing/quilting/domestic crafts and wood stove cooking/food preparation.

715 South Forest St. Tel. 720-865-0800. Admission (Museum Tours): Adults $3.50; seniors 65+ and kids 6 to 15, $2; children under 6 are free.

Denver Day Trips

Colorado Railroad Museum

The Colorado Railroad Museum is located in Golden, Colo.,  and is fun for the little engineer or train conductor in your family. There is a Kid’s Crossing full of activities for the wee ones. Tour through display tracks covering decades of history with over 100 historic narrow and standard-gauge locomotives and cars. Great photo opportunity: 15 acres of outdoor beauty with train equipment displayed against the historic Table Mountain in the background.

17155 W. 44th Ave., Golden. Tel. 303-279-4591 or 800-365-6263. Admission: Children under 2, free; children 2 to 16, $5; adults, $8; seniors, $7.

Red Rocks

Maybe you’ve been to a concert at the infamous Red Rocks, but a day trip is a must. The stunning sandstone monolith is awe-inspiring and provides great family photo opportunities. You can choose to embark on a guided tour of the park, roam the amphitheater for free or explore the numerous trails that surround the park.

18300 W. Alameda Parkway, Morrison. Tel. 720-865-2494. General admission: free. Admission for tours: adults $6, seniors $3, children $3.

Destinations: Denver

Themes: Art and Museums, Family Travel, Mountain Vacations, Outdoor Adventures

Activities: Arts and Entertainment, Museums, Parks and Playgrounds, Sightseeing

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