Things to Do with Kids in Denver: 15 Fun Activities

April 5, 2023

Whether you encounter the snow-capped Rocky Mountains or fields of blooming wildflowers, come Memorial Day the Mile High City is always a great idea. Overflowing with breathtaking natural scenery, family-friendly museums, theme parks, and aquariums, kids will love a Denver getaway.

Follow along to discover the best things to do in Denver Colorado with kids.

In addition to hitting the slopes or the hiking trails, tykes of all ages will fawn over Denver’s incredible attractions and activities.

Admire the mysterious Egyptian mummies at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, or satisfy that sweet tooth with some samples at the Candy Factory.

Seize your chance to pan for gold nuggets at Clear Creek Canyon Park, or put on that paleontologist hat when you encounter real Jurassic fossils at Dinosaur Ridge.

Ready to conquer all of the amazing things to do with kids in Denver? Read on…

Fun Things to Do in Denver with Kids

Whether you are looking to go where the wild things are or journey 20,000 leagues under the sea, the colorful capital of Colorado delivers.

Spend days exploring museums dedicated to firefighting heroes, or cool off with splashtastic visits to everyone’s favorite theme water park. From charming Trolly rides to ogling art, there’s so much to do in the Mile High City.

aerial view of Colorado with mountains in distance in Colorado, USA

photo credit: Denver's Best via Facebook

Dinosaur Ridge

Calling all Jurassic Park fans! Make your little dino lovers' dreams come true with a visit to one of the world’s most famous fossil locales. Dinosaur Ridge is part of the Dakota Hogback in the Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark located just west of Denver.

The Ridge is home to the infamous Stegosaurus discovery and to over 250 amazing Cretaceous dinosaur tracks, dozens of Jurassic dinosaur bones, and many other trace fossils. Book a guided volunteer or geologist walking tour and prime yourself for miles of tracks, fossils, rocks, and more.

Choose to take on the Triceratops Trail and keep your eyes peeled for invertebrate tracks and traces from birds, insects, and dinosaurs. Or, opt for the Ridge Trail which can be completed on foot or bike.

Don't forget to swing by the Main Visitor Center to hit up the gift shop, or let your little one hunt for shark teeth and fossils in the simulated dig areas.

People standing next to a large sloping rock face with dinosaur prints all over it

Photo Credit: Dinosaur Ridge via Facebook

Denver Firefighters Museum

Hear that siren? Suit up for a day of fire truck sightings and maybe even some story and craft time at the Denver Firefighters Museum. Chockful of artifacts, documents, and photographs, the museum seeks to illuminate the public about fire safety and the fascinating history of firefighting in Denver.

In addition to exhibits that feature memorabilia such as helmets, uniforms, water manes, and more, kids can explore Squirt’s Square. This tactile and immersive area features tons of interactive fun. Tykes can practice calling 911, pretend to drive a fire truck or practice their plan for safety in a play apartment.

Be sure to check out the Museum’s schedule of family-friendly events as every month they put on story and craft events as well as fire safety classes.

Elitch Gardens Theme Water Park

Can’t make up your mind between theme or water park? At Elite Gardens Theme and Water Park, you don't have to. Relish both aquatic and land-based thrills at Colorado’s only world-class combination park. True daredevils will be in heaven when they experience the bungee jumping-like thrill of XLR8R, while those seeking a more classic coaster ride will be drawn to the Boomerang.

The whole family will enjoy scenic rides on the Big Ferris Wheel, while tiny tots will be amused by spins in the giant Tea Cups or stomach-churning sessions on the Tilt-A-Whirl.

In need of an H20-based refresh? Hightail it to the waterpark and get your dunk on with tons of water slides, sprayers, and a giant wave pool. Don't forget to hit up the food court for some tasty burgers, chicken tenders, or pizza, and end your day on a sweet note with a sugar-coated funnel cake from Miss Amys.

various colorful stalls and rides

photo credit: Pride Homes Team Colorado via Facebook

Ride Denver Trolly

Clang, clang went the trolly! Take on sightseeing in a whole new way when you hop on for a ride with the Denver Trolly. Savor the sights of the Mile High City with a side of history as you meander through the streets on a cheery yellow vehicle. The Trolly’s river-bound drive lasts 25 minutes and includes stops at Confluence Park, REI’s flagship store, the Downtown Aquarium, the Broncos Stadium, and more.

Denver Zoo

Conservation, connection, and Clouded Leopards oh my! Adults and kids alike will be in animal heaven when they take a trip to the Denver Zoo. This conservation establishment has spent over a century providing the community with intimate first-hand natural encounters.

Take your time as you traverse through their 84-acre campus and marvel at over 3,000 wild creatures. From Cape Buffalo to the Golden Lion Tamarin, you’ll encounter exquisite species that range from cuddly to ferocious.

Have that passport at the ready, as you and your brood will be traveling around the Earth without ever leaving the Rockies. Swing by the all-new Pinnacol African Penguin Point to observe the endangered South African birds burrow, swim, dive, and sunbathe.

Or, scurry on over to Stingray Cove to get your fingers on some silky soft gentle Cownose and Southern Stingrays. In love with the languid movements and adorable faces of everyone’s favorite mammal? For an extra dash of cuteness be sure to stop by the Sloth Tree. Located in Tropical Discovery, this 22-foot tree provides the perfect habitat for these slow-moving bundles of fur.

Two adult male lions laying in the grass at Lion Country Safari in Miami, Florida

Wings Over Rockies Air and Space Museum

Is your tyke obsessed with Top Gun? Take your aviation knowledge to new heights at the Wings Over Rockies Air and Space Museum. Defy gravity as you buckle up and prime yourself for a journey into the past and future, as you explore heaps of historic aircraft, artifacts, and memorabilia.

Take part in immersive exhibits and activities, including cutting-edge flight simulators, or snap a photo in front of the meticulously recreated Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter. From real helicopter ambulances to Apollo Moon Rocks, there’s tons to uncover.

Pay some respects to the locals with the all-new Pioneers – Pacesetters – Possibilities exhibit which showcases the role of Colorado in aviation and space exploration, or observe one of the most iconic symbols of the Vietnam War, the Bell UH-1 “Huey” helicopter.

Downtown Aquarium

We hope you've packed some floaties because it's time to swim with the fishes! Suit up for some under-the-sea adventure with the Downtown Aquarium. Equal parts education, entertainment, and dining this sprawling complex is home to a state-of-the-art aquarium, plus a restaurant and lounge.

From Sunken Temples to shipwrecks and lagoons, there are tons of unique exhibits and habitats to explore. Peek at coral reefs, or try to spy the sulking Moray Eels. In addition to ClownFish and camouflage seahorses, visitors can catch glimpses of tortoises, snakes, and even mystical mermaids.

Watch in awe as these aquatic beauties swim, dance, and frolic all while underwater. Visitors can soak in this enchanting display while they dine at the Aquarium’s restaurant which serves up a slew of pasta, chicken dishes, desserts, and of course seafood specialties.

family in front of aquarium looking at fish

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Hankering for a sweet treat? Pick up some melt-in-your-mouth souvenirs for the trip home when you shop till you drop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Colorado Springs. Since 1981, the beloved Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has been whipping up handcrafted chocolates using their bespoke multi-generational recipes.

Today, the factory boasts retail locations all over the U.S. but has never forgotten its hometown Rocky Mountain roots. Mini munchkins with a love for truffles, toffee, and more will be overjoyed to sample a variety of sweets. You can even pick up some morsels for Fido, as the Factory also produces dipped dog bones.

Free things to Do in Denver with kids

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Bugs, Egyptian Coffins, and starry skies come together to create a whirlwind experience at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. School-aged children will rethink their aversion to science as they traipse through dozens of exhibits and interactive explorations.

Learn the story of what happened after the Asteroid hit Earth, or travel outside our galaxy with Space Odyssey. Take in the magnificent hues and sparkling shimmer of gems at the Coors Gems and Minerals Hall, and don't forget to snap a photo of epic local finds, like Tom's Baby, an eight-pound nugget of crystallized gold unearthed in Breckenridge in 1887.

Zip through wormholes and brush up on Black Hole knowledge with a Planetarium show, or gaze upon dinosaur skeletons and ancient life when you take on a Prehistoric journey. Our most miniature scientists will feel right at home in the Discovery Zone where they can engage their noggin in building these in the Construction Corner or splash around in the Colorado-themed Water Way.

Please note that children 2 and under are always free at the museum, and free admission is available on select SCFD Free Days and Free Nights, as well as for Colorado K-12 educators.

exterior of Denver Art Museum during day in Denver, Colorado, USA

photo credit: Denver Art Museum via Facebook

Denver Art Museum

Free art? Yes, please! Your darling Davinci in training won't have to pay a cent to explore their artistic side at the Denver Art Museum. Kids 18 and younger are always free thanks to the Free for Kids program. From Indigenous art of North America to uncovering the stories behind architectural objects, the Denver Art Museum offers a unique preservative on creativity.

Stroll past priceless ancient artifacts from 2000 B.C.E. Or, enjoy classical masterpieces from artists such as Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Édouard Manet, and more. For even more kid-friendly fun, don't sleep on the Art Museum’s family programs which include art making, story time, gallery games, and more.

Hammonds Candy Factory Tour

Fluffy homemade marshmallows, rainbow-colored ribbon candy, and cream-filled candy canes are just a fraction of the sweet snacks that come out of the hallowed halls of the Hammond's Candy Factory Tour. For over a century, this local Denver establishment has been churning out scrumptious goodies.

What was once a small business has grown into a candy company with a passionate cult following. See where the magic happens when you swing by Hammobds for a completely complimentary factory tour. Watch lollipops, caramels, and more come to life as you take in this half-hour tour.

Thanks to large video screens installed throughout the factory, you’ll get an “up close and personal” look at how these decadent goodies are crafted, plus samples! Please note that while tours are free, you will need to reserve your spot ahead of time.

Three dogs on large rocks over water surrounded by greenery at Cherry Creek State Park Dog Off Leash Area in Denver, Colorado, USA

photo credit: Cherry Creek State Park Off-Leash Area via Facebook

Clear Creek Canyon Park

The history of Denver and gold mining go hand in hand. Pay homage to this city’s mining roots when you wrangle your rag-tag gang for a full nugget adventure. Take things back to the 1800s when you plan to pan for gold at any of the following free recreational areas:

  • Arapahoe Bar Gold Panning Park
  • Clear Creek Canyon Park
  • Cache Creek

Children's Museum of Denver

Run into some not-so-groovy Denver weather? Or just looking to take a break from trail hiking and panning for shiny nuggets? Set those boots aside and take on the 9-acre campus of the Children's Museum of Denver. An ideal oasis for the toddler crowd (and free for wee ones 1 and under), this sprawling edifice features 20 exhibits specifically designed to excite and intrigue young minds.

Water-loving wee ones can learn all about buoyancy, density, and displacement through hands-on exploration. Trigger a thunderstorm, play with water jets, or launch a geyser.

Play pretend at a fire station where you can slide down the pole, drive a truck, or order an emergency dispatch. Put on your little explorer cap and prepare to cross a monkey bridge, or hop aboard for a high-flying gondola ride. For another level of tactile thrills, head outside to Joy Park for some fresh air and dueling zip line excursions.

aerial view of pool with elephant statues and large slide with people swimming in Elitch Gardens in Denver, Colorado, USA

photo credit: Pride Homes Team Colorado via Facebook

Jaw-dropping gorgeous mountain scenery, an abundance of parks, and lots of breweries may be what Denver is known for. However, this rugged Colorado Capital also delivers a surplus of activities for children.

Tour the sights on a classic trolly, or strap in for some full-throttle thrills at Elitch Gardens. Raft, tube, or slide your way through water parks for a refreshing reprieve. Or make time to see brand-new white gators, giraffes, and sweet sloth pups at the Denver Zoo.

Watch mermaids swim while you munch on chicken tenders at the Aquarium. Or clock Star Wars memorabilia at the Wings Over Rockies Air and Space Museum.

From museums to make-believe and more, there’s never enough time to do all of Denver’s best kids' activities.

Tell us, What Are Your Top Things to Do in Denver With Kids?

Did we miss any of your go-to's?

Leave us a comment below!


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Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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