21 Things to do in Denver with Kids

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Denver is a great place for families both to visit and to live as there is so much to do around the mile high city with kids. With 300+ days of sunshine, there’s plenty to do outdoors and inside as well. From exploring the Denver Children’s Museum to playing at City Park or splashing in the South Platte at Confluence Park, the ideas of things to do in Denver with kids are endless. Here are our top picks and ideas for things to do in Denver with the whole family:

Children’s Museum | All Ages | Cost: $$

Children's Museum of Denver
Children’s Museum of Denver

Children’s Museum website / Address: 2121 Children’s Museum Dr, Denver, CO 80211

Why we like this:

The Children’s Museum of Denver, located just northwest of Denver’s downtown area, is a fantastic outing for kids of all ages. From tool activities to a full art room filled with paints and other craft supplies, the museum can provide hours of entertainment to children and families.

In addition to their standard exhibits, there is also an interactive kitchen with engaging cooking projects and classes perfect for kids.

Tickets:

Tickets range from free (under 1) up to $15 for adults, and reservations are required.

Museum of Nature and Science | All Ages | Cost: $$

Museum of Nature and Science Denver
Museum of Nature and Science

Museum website / Address: 2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205

Why we like this:

The Museum of Nature and Science is a hit for both young childrens and adults. With lots of exhibits over several floors (several rotate seasonally), adults will find a lot to do, see and learn about here. Additionally, there are children’s areas in almost every exhibit with small slides, toys, costumes and engaging activities for even babies and toddlers.

Head to the Discovery Zone on the second floor and families will find an entire wing of the museum dedicated to young children with fish tanks, science experiments, a full water table activity and more.

Museum staff are well trained and engaging with kids.

Additional bonus? The Museum of Nature and Science is located inside Denver’s City Park, an attraction for families in an of itself.

Tickets

Tickets range from free (under 3) up to $19.95 for adults with additional exhibits like the Planetarium and IMAX costing extra.

Denver Zoo | All Ages | Cost: $$

Denver Zoo
Denver Zoo

Zoo website / Address: 2300 Steele St, Denver, CO 80205

Why we like this:

Located just next to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is the Denver Zoo, a fantastic stop in the heart of the city for families and children of all ages.

Denver Zoo is the home to 3,000+ wild animals, families can see everything from elephants to giraffes, monkeys to seals, lions to penguins. The Denver Zoo is organized into two loops. The shorter loop is great for families with young kids while the longer loop is better for older children capable of walking farther (and staying engaged longer).

Young children will love the merry go round and the train that goes throughout the Zoo (tickets are optional and can be purchased for an additional cost).

Adults can enjoy snacks and food stands throughout the Zoo including beer stalls selling locally-crafted Colorado beers.

Tickets

Tickets range from free (2 and under) to $20 for adults.

Denver’s Union Station | All Ages | Free

Union Station Denver
Denver’s Union Station

Union Station website / Address: 1701 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO 80202

Located in the heart of downtown Denver, Union Station is both a hub for things to do in Denver with kids as well as a major historical landmark. Originally built in 1880, the station features some of its original structure with other aspect of the building coming from 1914, when it was re-built after a major fire.

Why we like this:

What was once just a transport hub has become a central location for locals and visitors to meet for a meal, drink or coffee, host events, work remotely (there is free wifi inside the station) or simply people watch.

In the summers families can enjoy the splash pad out front followed by locally-made ice cream inside at Milkbox Creamery, which occupies the former barber shop. Free shuffle board in the center of the station is always a highlight, and over the holidays Union Station is decorated to the nines making it the perfect spot for holiday photos and seeing lights.

It’s free to visit and hang out at Union Station. Adults can grab drinks at Terminal Bar inside the Great Hall, and Mercantile Dining & Provision is a great spot for families to grab breakfast and lunch (dinner is more upscale and not the best for kids).

Delicious Denver Food Tours | All Ages | Cost: $$$

Ice Cream Delicious Denver Food Tours
Delicious Denver Food Tours

Food Tour website

Why we like this:

Families with hungry kids will want to check out Denver’s #1 ranked tour with Delicious Denver Food Tours. These walking tours feature delicious tastings at award-winning, locally-owned restaurants and are a great way to explore the city, learn and eat!

Families will enjoy everything from wood-fired pizza to freshly baked empanadas, ending the tour with locally-made ice cream. The most popular tour, the Downtown Denver Food Tour, includes just one mile of walking total, making it an easy and leisurely afternoon activity for families with kids. Children are welcome on the Downtown Denver Food Tour and the RiNo Arts District Food Tour with discounted tickets available.

If you’ve never done a food tour before, you’ll quickly learn that they are a great way to get to know a new city (or your own if you’re local to Denver) while tasting delicious local dishes.

Tickets

Tickets range from free (under 3) to $55 (under 12) and $69 for adults. Tour run daily in the afternoons, and tickets can be purchased here.

16th Street Mall | All Ages | Free

16th Street Mall
16th Street Mall in Denver

Address: 16th Street Mall

Why we like this:

Families who like to walk, eat and shop should head over to the 16th Street Mall, a pedestrian-only area of downtown Denver featuring lots of restaurants, bars, and shops.

This area of town runs all the way from the capitol, where kids may like standing on the steps that mark the city’s exact elevation at one mile high, past Larimer Square, a historic block great for eating and shopping as well, all the way down to Union Station.

If your kids get tired of walking or you’re hauling a stroller and lots of baby gear, hop on any of the free Mall Rides (look for the big red buses) that run up and down the 16th street mall in either direction all day long.

Tickets

This area of town is completely free to explore.

Urban Putt | Best for Ages 5+ | Cost: $$

Urban Putt Denver
Urban Putt Denver

Urban Putt website / Address: 1201 18th St, Denver, CO 80202

Why we like this:

Located in the heart of downtown, this mini golf spot is a fun thing to do in Denver with kids. Open Tuesdays through Sundays, Urban Putt offers fun mini golf courses inside what was the old Spaghetti Factory downtown.

When you’re done playing putt putt, you can head to their in-house restaurant for a full meal or just appetizers and desserts. Reservations are not required for putt putt, but they are recommended for dining only. Be aware that there may be a wait for mini golf depending on the time of day and day of the week you go.

Tickets

Pricing ranges from $6 – $10 for kids and $8 – $14 for adults. Go during Happy Hour (4-6 pm Tuesday-Friday) and both courses are just $10.

View Street Art in RiNo | All Ages | Free

Love this City Denver Mural
RiNo Street Art

Address: RiNo Map

Why we like this:

RiNo, short for River North, is a neighborhood just outside of downtown featuring 30 straight blocks of colorful street art. Known as the Arts District to locals, RiNo is a hub for galleries and artists, and it’s the best place for visual art and to view graffiti, murals and other cool street art in the city.

From controversial murals commenting on the neighborhood’s recent gentrification to murals depicting local Denver chefs, there is a lot to see just by walking the back alleys in this neighborhood (it’s safe but go during the day if you’re bringing kids).

Visit the Denver Central Market for lunch or a coffee while you’re in the neighborhood.

Tickets

It’s free to visit RiNo and walk around, but you can also purchase tickets to join a walking tour with Denver Graffiti Tour to learn about the murals and artists. Tickets go for $30 per person and include a guided walk covering 2 miles through the neigborhood.

Escape Room | Best for 8+ | Cost: $$

EscapeWorks Denver
EscapeWorks Denver

Escape Room website / Address: 1529 Champa St, Denver, CO 80202

Why we like this:

Families with older kids will love putting their heads together in an escape room at EscapeWorks Denver. Conveniently located downtown (near lots of Denver hotels and restaurants), EscapeWorks offers five different themed escape rooms with puzzles to solve to get out. For each room, your group will have one hour to escape, and current themes include Egyptian Tomb, Casino Heist, Speakeasy, or even Outbreak.

Each room has a different level of difficulty, so the staff on site can recommend one that’s perfect for your family based on your kids’ ages.

Because this is a fully indoors and walk ins are welcome, this is a great thing to do in Denver with kids if the weather is rainy.

Tickets are $30 per person and for a minimum of 5 or more, you can have an entire escape room all to yourselves. Looking for something to do midweek? For just 2 guests or more, you can book out a private escape room experience Monday through Friday before 5 p.m. for just $25 per person using the promo code WEEKDAY.

City Park | All Ages | Free

City Park Denver
City Park

City Park website / Address: City Park maps location

Why we like this:

City Park is located right in the middle of town and is an expansive park with several playgrounds, a large lake in the center with ducks to feed or paddle boats to rent and walking/biking paths throughout.

Families with kids will want to check out one of the two playgrounds (one was recently redone and is a great spot for children), both of which have porta-potties nearby.

Head over to the lake to see the ducks and central fountain and enjoy the beautiful views of the Rockies in the distance.

On Sunday evenings in the summers, families bring picnics in to enjoy City Park Jazz, a weekly event of live music.

Denver Botanic Gardens | All Ages | $

Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens website / Address: 1007 York St, Denver, CO 80206

Why we like this:

Located near City Park about two miles from downtown Denver are the Denver Botanic Gardens, a 24-acre urban oasis with gardens featuring plants and flowers from all across the world.

The Denver Botanic Gardens has two locations: the York Street location is in the city while the Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms location is about 30 minutes driving out of downtown Denver.

This is a great thing to do in Denver for kids, especially for children of all ages. We recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes. There is a cafe on site for snacks and drinks.

Tickets

Tickets are available online, and we recommend purchasing them in advance. They range from free (under 2) to $15 for adults, but there are also a number of free days noted on the Denver Botanic Gardens website.

Outside of general admission to the gardens, be sure to visit their website for upcoming summer concerts and events hosted. Some, like the Blossoms of Light event every holiday season can be very popular and sell out quickly.

Butterfly Pavilion | All Ages | Cost: $

Butterfly Pavilion, Westminster CO
Butterfly Pavilion website / Address: 6252 W. 104th Avenue
Westminster, CO 80020

Why we like this:

Located just a quick 15-minute drive north of downtown in a suburb called Westminster, the Butterfly Pavilion is a fun, immersive and hands-on experience for children of all ages.

The conservatory has tropical greenery, babbling brooks and more than 1,600 butterflies, moths and skippers. Visit the Water’s Edge exhibit, and you’ll be able to see a world of underwater life.

Capacity at the Butterfly Pavilion is limited, so advanced reservations are strongly recommended.

Tickets

Tickets range from free for children under 2 to $14.50 for adult tickets, and those can be purchased here.

Sports Games | All Ages | Cost: $$$

Avelanche Denver
Avelanche, Denver’s hockey team

Why we like this:

From the Colorado Rockies who play baseball at Coors Field in downtown Denver to the Avelanche, Denver’s local hockey team (who most recently took home the Stanley Cup), to the Broncos playing at Empower Field at Mile High just west of downtown, there are lots of local sports games to take in with the whole family.

If you’re staying downtown, we recommend checking out the Rockies schedule as baseball games at Coors Field are fun for kids and adults. There are lots of great local restaurants and breweries serving food and Colorado craft beer in the stadium, so you can stay for lunch or dinner during the game.

Basketball fans will want to head to Ball Arena to catch a Nuggets game. This is the same spot that the Avelanche, our local hockey team plays.

Tickets

You can check out upcoming game schedules and purchase tickets online here.

Confluence Park | All Ages | Free

Confluence Park Denver
Confluence Park

Address: 2250 15th St, Denver, CO 80202

Why we like this:

Confluence Park is an urban park where the South Platte and Cherry Creek rivers converge. Located just downtown, this is an easy and accessible free things to do in Denver with kids.

Confluence Park was also the site where gold was said to be found in Denver in the 1800’s. Now it’s a fun water experience for locals and visitors alike.

In the summer you’ll spot kayakers on the small rapids, young couples enjoying the sunshine and kids splashing in the shallow water along the shoreline. Families can bring picnics and spend the afternoon enjoying the park with beautiful views of the downtown skyline.

Tickets

The Park is free to visit.

Little Man Ice Cream | All Ages | Cost: $

Little Man Ice Cream
Little Man Ice Cream in Denver

Little Man Ice Cream website / Address: 2620 16th St, Denver, CO 80211

Why we like this:

Locals know Little Man Ice Cream as one of the best local creameries in the city. Their primary location takes the shape of a multi-story milk can and is a must visit for families with kids.

The ice cream is locally-made with some staples and other rotating flavors. We love the Salted Oreo, Space Junky and Mexican Chocolate. Be sure to also check out the ice cream sandwiches on the menu as well as the sorbets and vegan ice cream options.

Families with young kids will love the Little Dip, a perfect small size.

Tickets

Ice cream scoops, sandwiches and sundaes range in price from $2.50 – $6.

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park

Elitch Gardens website / Address 2000 Elitch Cir, Denver, CO 80204

Why we like this:

This theme and water park is been operating in the heart of downtown for 130 years and features roller coasters, water rides, arcade games, dining, shopping and more.

The park is open April through October and also features events throughout the summer.

Tickets:

The water park admission is free with the theme park ticket, but tube rentals will cost $7 – $11. Tickets for the theme park are $35 for adults and free for kids 2 and under.

Stanley Marketplace | All Ages | Free

Stanley Marketplace
Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, CO

Stanley Marketplace website / Address: 2501 Dallas St, Aurora, CO 80010

Why we like this:

Located east of Denver in Aurora, CO, is the Stanley Marketplace, a collective of shops, eateries, bars and event place.

The Stanley Marketplace is the perfect spot for families with kids. Start with a bagel from Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen (the minis are perfect for young children) and then make a stop in the Tattered Covered Kids, a satellite location of one of Denver’s best local bookstores specifically featuring children’s books and story hour for kids.

Next grab a coffee from Logan House Coffee before browsing the shops that occupy both the downstairs and upstairs area of the Stanley Marketplace.

Families with young kids should definitely check out the new playground, an expansive, immersive play area with a massive slide, swing set and special swings for children in wheelchairs.

The hangar space serves as the Stanley’s event space, so be sure to check the current schedule to see what events are happening in the space. Many are geared specifically towards kids like Camp Christmas and Inside the Orchestra, an immersive orchestral experience for families.

Tickets

Visiting the Stanley Marketplace is free.

Denver Aquarium | All Ages | $$

Denver Aquarium
Denver Aquarium

Denver Aquarium website / Address: 700 Water St, Denver, CO 80211

Why we like this:

The Denver aquarium is a nice stop for families with children interested in seeing a lot aquatic life (and a few tigers!) all under one roof.

This aquarium is accessible from Denver’s downtown and houses more than 500 species of animals.

Spend the afternoon browsing their many underwater exhibits and then grab a bite to eat at the Dive Lounge on the first floor.

Tickets

Tickets range from free for 2 and under up to $25 for adults.

Meow Wolf | Best for Ages 8+ | Cost: $$$

Meow Wolf Denver
Meow Wolf Denver

Meow Wolf website / Address: 1338 1st St, Denver, CO 80204

Why we like this:

One of the newest, most unique things to do in Denver is paying a visit to Meow Wolf, a massive immersive and interactive experiences that transports audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration.

Meow Wolf is based (and got started) in Santa Fe, NM, with locations in Las Vegas and now Denver. The Denver location’s theme is “Convergence Station” and includes four floors (accessible by elevators or stair cases) and 70+ exhibits, rooms and portals of immersive art.

While kids are more than welcome to attend with adults, some aspects of Meow Wolf may be slightly scary. That said, for kids interested, they can run, climb through walls and really immerse themselves in the experience right along with adults.

Tickets

Tickets range from $44 (children 4-13) up to $49 for adults.

Quince Coffee House | Best for Under 5 | Cost: $

Quince Coffee House
Quince Coffee House

Quince Coffee House website / Address 1447 Quince St, Denver, CO 80220

Why we like this:

Nestled in the East Colfax neighborhood (a 20-minute drive from Union Station downtown), Quince Coffee House is a cozy, welcoming neighborhood coffee house that’s the perfect stop for families with young kids.

In addition to a full coffee bar with baked goods like croissants and muffins, they also have entrees like quiches, breakfast burritos and more. Grab a coffee and a breakfast sandwich, and then head to the backyard, which is fully fenced in with toddler play structures, push toys and other toys perfect for kids 5 and under.

Quince Coffee House is family-owned, and the perfect spot for breakfast and coffee while your young kids run around and play.

Tickets:

No tickets are reservations required!

Denver Mint | Best for 8+ | Cost: Free

Denver Mint

Denver Mint website / Address West Colfax Avenue and Delaware Street, Denver, CO

Why we like this:

Learn the rich history of the United States Mint and see how billions of coins are produced each year on a free tour of the Denver Mint.

There are just four mints in the country, so this is a unique and free thing to do in Denver. Tours last approximately 45 minutes, and there are six per day starting at 8 a.m. Even though this is a free tour, they often sell out, so we recommend going early to get in line and reserve your spot.

Tickets:

Ticket are free. Learn more and see the Denver Mint tour schedule here.

Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum | All Ages | Cost: $$

Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Air & Space Museum website / Address: 7711 E Academy Blvd, Denver, CO 80230

Why we like this:

Paying a visit to the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is the perfect thing to do in Denver with kids, especially if you have kids who are into airplanes and space ships. Located in Lowry, a neighborhood southeast of downtown Denver, the Wings Over the Rockies museum is 182,000 square feet of hangar space full of airplanes, space vehicles, artifacts, military uniforms and much more.

Families visiting can experience flight simulators and learn all about the aircrafts throughout the space.

Families with young kids will want to check out the play area, which is an indoor space with costumes, books, and lots of toys to explore and play with.

Make an afternoon of it with a visit to the Lowry Beer Garden right next door for lunch and a local beer followed by Little Man ice cream from Rocket Ice Cream.

Tickets:

Tickets for the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum are free for kids under 3 and go up to $18.95 for adults.

Lowry Beer Garden | All Ages | Cost: $

Lowry Beer Garden
Lowry Beer Garden

Lowry Beer Garden website / Address: 7577 E Academy Blvd, Denver, CO 80230

Why we like this:

The Lowry Beer Garden is located in Lowry, a neighborhood southeast of downtown Denver. It’s a very family friendly open beer garden with a full food and beer menu.

Their food menu includes everything from burgers, brauts and sandwiches to salads and sides. Pair your lunch with a local beer from their expansive beer list (they have cocktails and wines too).

In addition to food and drinks on a large outdoor patio (dogs are welcome), Lowry Beer Garden also often hosts family-friendly events from Easter Egg Hunts to sports watching events.

Tattered Cover Bookstore | All Ages | Free

Tattered Cover Bookstore
Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver CO

Tattered Cover website

Why we like this:

This large, independent bookstore located in the heart of Denver’s downtown is a great way to pass the afternoon and a fun, free thing to do in Denver with kids.

Grab a comfy chair and relax with a good book or a coffee from their coffee shop.

The bookstore regularly hosts speaker series and features a number of local Colorado authors.

There are a few locations across the city including one at the new McGregor Square as well as a Tattered Cover specifically with a focus on kids and kids’s books inside the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, CO.

Tickets

Visiting the bookstore is free. Learn more about the Tattered Cover here.

Babe’s Team Room | Best for 8+ | $$

Babe's Team Room
Babe’s Tea Room

Babe’s Team Room website / Address 2401 15th Street Suite 170

Why we like this:

Located downtown (in Denver’s Lower Highlands or “LoHi” neighborhood) is the most beautiful tea room we’ve ever visited. Babe’s Tea Room is woman-owned and the perfect afternoon spot for a mother daughter pair looking for a proper high tea in a gorgeous setting.

Their tea menu is massive and also includes traditional tea sandwiches, baked goods like macarons and more.

The tea room is beautifully decorated, so be sure to get that mother daughter photo.

Tickets:

Reservations are encouraged, just to be sure you get a table.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge | All Ages | Free

Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge
Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge

Wildlife Refuge website / Address: 6550 Gateway Rd, Commerce City, CO 80022

Why we like this:

Families looking to see wildlife will love making a trip out of the city to the Rocky Mountains Arsenal Wildlife Refuge. Located just 10 miles northeast of downtown, you can step into nature and see the native wild animal sanctuary that call the Refuge home. That includes bison, deer, raptors, songbirds, waterfowl, prairie dogs, and coyotes.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest urban refuges in the country with its expansive views, wildlife viewing opportunities, and recreation activities.

In addition to driving through to the 11-mile stretch view the wildlife, there are 20 miles of easy hiking trails, some with opportunities to bike as well, and fishing is available at times throughout the summer.

Tickets

Because this refuge is maintained by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, entrance is free.

Washington Park | All Ages | Cost: Free

Washington Park
Washington Park

Washington Park Location

Why we like this:

Just south of downtown Denver is an expansive park with water, bike paths, tennis courts, play structures and lots of green space, making an afternoon at Washington Park (“Wash Park” to locals) the perfect thing to do in Denver with kids.

The park spans 155 acres and has two lakes (not for swimming) and two flower gardens as well as bathrooms. It’s lush and always bustling with locals bringing picnics or setting up a game of park volleyball.

When you’re done playing in the park, head to any of the great local restaurants and boutiques in the neighborhood.

Tickets:

The park is free to visit!

The Urban Farm | All Ages | Cost: $

The Urban Farm Denver
The Urban Farm Denver

Urban Farm website / Address:10200 Smith Rd, Denver, CO 80239

Why we like this:

The Urban Farm (TUF) is a non-profit community farm and educational center that provides a unique opportunity for urban youth to learn hands-on about agriculture without ever leaving the city.

This is the perfect thing to do in Denver with kids if your kids are interested in animals or want an up-close experience on a working farm.

Families can visit the farm Wednesdays through Sundays with the opportunity to see horses, chicken, sheep, pigs and more.

In addition to visits, The Urban Farm offers field trips, educational classes, summer camps and more.

Kids under 3 can visit for free, and tickets for adults are just $5.

Jessica Baumgart Denver Food Tours

By: Jessica Baumgart

Jessica worked as a private chef and cooking class instructor before founding Delicious Denver Food Tours in 2017. Jessica’s passion is food, and she loves introducing locals and visitors to Denver’s amazing food scene on her downtown Denver food tours.

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