Known as the Mile-High City, Denver sits almost exactly one mile above sea level. Nestled near the Rocky Mountains, it’s home to more than 200 parks and some of the most incredible views.
You’ll find that it’s easy to fall in love with this family-friendly city, with its exciting attractions and never-ending natural beauty. Accessible from just about anywhere in the United States or Canada, it makes planning the perfect trip easy. Start by checking out our list of 21 things to do with kids in Denver!
- If you’re traveling to Denver International Airport, you have a couple of options to travel the 25 miles to downtown. Most hotels offer free shuttle service, or you can take an Amtrak train to historic Union Station.
- Grab a Denver City Pass to save big on the city’s most popular attractions, including museums and the aquarium.
- If you’re traveling to Denver by car or renting one when you arrive, be prepared for expensive parking fees downtown.
- Public transportation is easy to navigate and will take you just about anywhere you want to go. Choose from light rail, buses, or trains.
What to Pack
- Because of Denver’s high elevation, it’s easy to get dehydrated. Make sure you drink twice as much water as you usually would by bringing along a reusable water bottle for every family member.
- When you’re packing, you want to be prepared for any type of weather. This means lots of layers. Winter travel means a water-resistant coat, long underwear, and a fleece jacket. Spring and Fall is mostly jeans, shorts, and t-shirts, along with a light fleece jacket. Summer weather requires t-shirts and tank tops, jeans and shorts, swimwear, and a light jacket.
- Outdoor exploration means choosing comfort over style when it comes to footwear. If you’re visiting during the winter months, waterproof snow boots are a must. The rest of the year, pack sturdy hiking boots, athletic shoes, and comfy, waterproof sandals.
- Higher elevations mean strong rays. Don’t forget to pack serious eye protection along with plenty of sunscreen.
- There are so many photo-worthy landscapes, you’ll want to bring along a camera to capture the beauty and a pair of binoculars to bring nature a little closer.
- If you plan to explore local parks and trails, be sure to bring along a sturdy backpack for all the essentials you’ll need.
21 Things To Do with Kids in Denver
- Denver Zoo – You can spend the better part of a day walking around this 80-acre zoo. Kids will love the daily animal demos, animal talks, the Tropical House, and the tiger exhibit. Be sure to check out their website before your visit to see what special events might be happening.
- Denver Museum of Nature and Science – This museum is the perfect place to spend the day when the weather isn’t cooperating. Science and natural history lovers can visit a range of exhibits and enjoy shows at the planetarium and giant screen theater. Explore space, check out dinosaur fossils, or catch a glimpse of an Egyptian mummy.
- Dinosaur Ridge – Located less than 30 minutes from Denver, this is a must-visit for your little dinosaur lovers. This indoor/outdoor museum allows your family to get up close and personal with dinosaur tracks and fossils, and you can even take an easy 1 ½ mile hike to an actual dig site!
- Denver’s City Park – This popular green space has been around since the late 1800’s. City Park is home to some of Denver’s most popular attractions and is the perfect place to take in the outdoors. Enjoy the green lawns and playgrounds, have a picnic, ride a bike, hike the winding trails, or rent a swan boat on Ferril Lake.
- Red Rocks Park – This amazing outdoor spot features an amphitheater and lots of hiking trails. Experience the area’s fascinating rock formations and catch a glimpse of local wildlife. Make sure to do a little research ahead of time to find the perfect hiking trail for your family’s experience level.
- Four Mile Historic Park – This park is home to an 1800’s log cabin, Denver’s oldest structure. Kids will have a blast touring a Wild West Museum, petting farm animals, and taking a tour of the property. They host seasonal events throughout the year, so be sure to visit their website before you go.
- Denver Art Museum – This might be one of the most kid-friendly art museums you’ve ever visited. Even the tiniest members of your family can appreciate the interactive areas and art exhibits, including places designed just for them. Best of all, the museum is free to those under 18.
- History Colorado – This museum is dedicated to the history of the state of Colorado, using stories, artifacts, and art to tell the tale. Everyone will love exhibits featuring The Wild West, sports, Native American culture, and their newest exhibit, LEGOrado.
- Denver Mint – This mint is still in operation today, producing new coins for circulation. Take a tour and learn more about its rich history and visit the gift shop for some unique souvenirs. You can also save your pennies because admission is free!
- 16th Street Mall – This mile-long promenade is the perfect place to take a stroll and do a little shopping. Kids will love taking a ride on a horse-drawn carriage or hailing pedicab. There are plenty of places to grab a quick bite, including 5280 Burger Bar and the 5280 Ice Cream parlor next door. Or you can catch a movie at Denver Pavilions.
- Hammond’s Candy Factory – This candy factory has been sharing their sweet treats with the world for more than 100 years. They make everything from chocolates and handmade candies to ribbon candies and hand-pulled lollipops. Be sure to book your tour on their website before your visit.
- Denver Botanic Gardens – This public botanical garden gives families the opportunity to have a hands-on experience with plants and the natural world. The gardens are truly beautiful and there is plenty of outdoor space for the kids to run around and explore. Don’t miss the Science Pyramid and Mordecai Children’s Garden.
- The Butterfly Pavilion – Located a short distance from Denver in Westminster, this spot is home to some amazing butterfly gardens and other incredible exhibits. Your little bug lovers will have fun visiting the insect zoo and aquarium as well as the Crawl-a-See-Um, home to Rosie the Tarantula and others.
- Denver Children’s Museum – Easily accessible in downtown Denver, this museum is loaded with fun activities for kids of all ages. Make sure to visit the Bubble Room, check out the fire-fighting displays, and traverse the giant rocket climbing structure.
- Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge – A short drive from downtown is a must-visit wildlife hotspot. Drive the 11-mile loop to get up close and personal with animals like prairie dogs, songbirds, coyotes, bison, and deer. Plus, it’s free to visit the refuge!
- Catch a Game – Denver loves its pro-sports teams. Home to the Colorado Rockies, Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, and others, you can find tickets to your favorite sport just about any time of the year. Check schedules ahead of time to find out who’s playing during your visit.
- Downtown Aquarium – This is by far one of the most eclectic aquariums you’ll come across. Take a seat around the 50,000-gallon aquarium, ride the Aquatic Carousel, or visit exhibits like the Shipwreck and Sunken Temple. There are even mermaid shows and quirky animatronic animals.
- Little Man Ice Cream – This iconic ice cream shop, shaped like a milk jug, is the perfect place to grab a scoop (or two!) of their homemade ice cream. You can also visit their factory location for an industrial, Willy Wonka style experience.
- Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park – Thrill seekers will appreciate the roller coasters and water park. Little kids have attractions just for them including the Goofy Gazebo with slides and ball pits as well as their own pint-sized coaster. The whole family can enjoy carnival games and live performances.
- Denver Firefighters Museum – What kid doesn’t love fire engines? Learn all about the history of the Denver Fire Department as well as some fire safety. Kids will have a blast sliding down the fire pole, pretending to put out fires, and even playing on a real fire truck!
- Argo Mill – Immerse yourself in the American West at this historic mine and mill, located about 40 minutes from downtown Denver. Kids will love getting gold fever as they pan for gold, tour the mill, and find treasures at the Mercantile. Plan ahead and book your tour online before your visit.
Denver with kids is always a good idea. So, grab our list of 21 things to do and have some mile-high family fun!