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5 Days in Denver: A Family-Friendly Guide to the Mile High City, Plus 25 Fun Activities and Map

    Denver is a popular vacation destination and with good reason. The Mile High City is filled with many things you can do as a family. Are you ready to explore some of its best attractions? Look no further because we have compiled a list of some of the best family-friendly activities you can experience while visiting this beautiful city. Whether you are traveling as a family of five, eight, or more, these tips will leave you feeling like locals during your visit.

    For shorter visits to Denver, you can eliminate days or rearrange our suggested stops below. We also list more suggestions at the end of this post to add to your itinerary along with a map. Don’t worry about finding a hotel room, we list 70+ Denver hotels for big families.

    Looking for a Colorado outdoor adventure? Check out our 6-Day Southwest Colorado Loop Road Trip: Visit 3 National Parks, 6 National Forests, Fun Mountain Towns

     

    Day 1: Visit the Denver Zoo or the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

    Starting your first day in Denver at the Denver Zoo is an activity that will please everyone. As the second most-visited attraction in the city, the Zoo offers families the chance to come face to face with close to 4,000 animals from around the globe. Whether you’re traveling with little ones or teens, there’s something for everyone at the Denver Zoo. Check the daily schedule for animal talks, demonstrations, and feeding times.

    For lunch either eat at one of the many food choices at the zoo, pack a picnic for the park, or eat at the museum.

    Spend an afternoon at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Visit this great museum to learn about science and nature through exhibits, interactives, live programs, and more. Your crew will learn about anthropology, zoology, geology, health sciences, paleontology, and space science. The museum also offers daily shows and screenings in its planetarium and IMAX theater at an additional cost. 

     

    Day 2: Visit Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park and Colorado Rockies Baseball

    At Elitch Gardens, you and your children can experience everything from thrilling roller coasters to exciting water rides, while taking in beautiful views of the city. Located in the heart of Denver and celebrating 130 years of fun, Elitch Gardens is Colorado’s only world-class combination theme and water park. There are several roller coasters for bigger thrill seekers, including Boomerang, Mind Eraser, and Tower of Doom. For the less brave, there are plenty of family-friendly rides too.

    To fill out your day, take in a Colorado Rockies Baseball game with the kids. The Rockies play most of their games from April to October, so chances are good that you’ll be able to find a game to attend with your family. Denver has a very active downtown scene, you can explore this area of the city before a game.

     

    Day 3: Visit Denver Art Museum, Denver Firefighters Museum, and History Colorado Center

    Day three is filled with museums in Denver’s Golden Triangle district. While the firefighter and history museum may only take a few hours to explore, we used to spend almost all day at the art museum. Depending on your crew, you might be able to visit all three or schedule one or two to fill your day. Pack a lunch to eat at the nearby Civic Center Park or dine at The Ponti at the Denver Art Museum. For easy parking, check SpotHero for nearby parking structures.

    If your family loves art, then a visit to the Denver Art Museum is a must. Since its founding in 1893, the DAM has collected more than 70,000 pieces of art, including the world’s largest collection of Western American art. Enjoy seven floors of Modern and Contemporary Art, Native Arts, Asian Art, Painting and Sculpture, Photography, and more.

    At the Denver Firefighters Museum, kids can learn about the rich history behind Denver’s Fire and Rescue Service. The museum is home to more than 900 pieces of equipment, spanning more than 140 years of Colorado’s history. There are many hands-on activities at the museum that kids will love. You’ll love that they’ll learn about fire safety too.

    Step into the story and discover Colorado at the History Colorado Center, where you’ll find interactive exhibitions, programs for kids and adults, special events, and cultural performances. A Smithsonian Affiliate, the museum has over fifteen exhibits over four floors.

     

    Day 4: Visit Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, Dinosaur Ridge, and Morrison Natural History Museum

    You don’t have to attend a concert at Red Rocks to explore the park and amphitheatre. Although this world-famous outdoor venue is one of the most stunning places to see a concert, your family can enjoy the great views of Denver from atop the amphitheatre. Stop at the visitor center to learn about the park and the many artists who have performed at the venue. Enjoy a short hike along Red Rocks Trading Post Trail, Geological Overlook Trail, or Red Rocks and Morrison Slide Trail. Drive down to Morrison for lunch before moving on to Dinosaur Ridge.

    Kick off an afternoon of dinosaurs at the Morrison Natural History Museum in Morrison. This interactive paleontology museum offers hands-on exhibits, educational displays, and a fossil research laboratory. Join the hourly complimentary tour to expand your understanding of the exhibits and watch the corresponding demonstration.

    Dinosaur Ridge, located just five minutes north of Morrison, is an outdoor museum home to one of the best-preserved dinosaur track sites in the world. Take a walk through an authentic dinosaur track, bone, and fossil site and discover the site’s history and ancient geology. There are guided tours available at Dinosaur Ridge that offer families a behind-the-scenes experience.

     

    Day 5: Visit Hammond’s Candies and the Forney Museum of Transportation

    If you’re visiting Denver with younger kids, Hammond’s Candies is a must. Hammond’s is the oldest candy shop in Denver, and as you make your way through the free tour of this sweet shop, you’ll be transported back in time to a magical place. Thirty-minute tours feature old-fashioned candy-making demonstrations at Hammond’s every day. To see candy canes being made, visit in July. Book your tour online before you go, they fill quickly. While the tour is free, the last stop is the gift shop store. Good luck leaving without a bag full of goodies!

    The Forney Museum of Transportation is another great place to visit with kids and is only three miles away from Hammond’s. From the outside, the museum is unassuming but the inside is huge with so much to see! The museum has more than 800 artifacts relating to historical transportation. Explore steam locomotives, motorcycles, aircraft, all types of cars, and more.

    25 Fun Things to Do in Denver with Kids

    There are many fun activities to do in Denver with kids and we’ve packed quite a few in this 5-day itinerary. Here is our full list of suggestions to fill your days exploring the Mile High City:

    • Black American West Museum & Heritage Center
    • Butterfly Pavilion
    • Children’s Musem of Denver at Marsico Campus
    • Colorado Railroad Museum
    • Colorado Rockies Baseball
    • Colorado State Capitol Tour
    • Denver Art Museum
    • Denver Botanic Garden
    • Denver Firefighters Museum
    • Denver Museum of Nature & Science
    • Denver U.S. Mint
    • Denver Zoo
    • Dinosaur Ridge
    • Downtown Aquarium
    • Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
    • Forney Museum of Transportation
    • Hammond’s Candies
    • History Colorado Center
    • Littleton Museum
    • Meow Wolf Denver
    • Molly Brown House Museum
    • Morrison Natural History Museum
    • National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
    • Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
    • Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

     

    Denver Activities with Kids Map

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    Theresa Jorgensen

    Theresa is the mother of four including twins. She is the owner of SixSuitcaseTravel, a travel site for big families of 5, 6, 7, 8. She enjoys helping other big families build life-long travel memories. Her family's travel bucket list includes Washington, DC (done!), Yellowstone (done!), London, and anywhere in the Caribbean.