23 Family Friendly Fun Things to Do in Denver with Kids

Colorado’s capital and most populous city are Denver, sometimes the Mile High City.

It includes about 200 parks with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and waterways.

Like Colorado Springs, Denver was founded due to the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, resulting in the city’s enduring Wild West culture and appearance.

As one of the most significant locations to live in the country (and the best in 2016), Denver is full of surprises and exciting activities for your family to discover.

If you plan your next family vacation, here are some kid-friendly activities in Denver.

  1. City Park

Denver people demanded green places in the 1870s when the city was arid and rusty, and City Park was one of the first parks to be established.

Why We Recommend This Activity

City Park is among the most well-liked of Denver’s a hundred parks.

City Park in Denver can inspire family activities with two lakes, several monuments, playgrounds, and picnic spots.

It is also close to popular Denver attractions such as the Denver Zoo and the Museum of Nature and Science.

Paddle about the lake, observe the birds, browse the restaurants and stores, or participate in the park’s activities and festivals.

Recommended Ages

City Park is accessible to people of all ages and is available to the public.

  1. Denver Zoo — City Park Area

In 1896, it all began with an orphaned black bear.

The mayor of Denver received one as a gift and gave it to the City Park keeper who founded the zoo.

Unlike other zoos in the United States, the Denver Zoo does not confine its animals in cages but rather creates environments that are as close as possible to their natural ones.

Why We Recommend This Activity

The Denver Zoo features over 3,000 species, some of which can be observed up close.

Acquaint yourself with llamas, giraffes, reptiles, sloths, camels, and even porcupines.

On its 80 acres, the Denver Zoo holds more than 500 species worldwide, which can be viewed in numerous displays.

Check their calendar for extra-fun events and programs scheduled for today, this weekend, and next month.

Recommended Ages

Children of all ages can enjoy a fun and instructive lesson about animals at the Denver Zoo.

  1. Denver Museum of Nature & Science — City Park Area

Edwin Carter, a Denver resident interested in the natural history of the Rocky Mountain region, founded the museum’s collections in 1868.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Next to the Denver Zoo lies the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, where you may study the flora, fauna, and geology of Colorado, as well as the Earth and the cosmos.

There are over a million artifacts on display, such as Egyptian mummies, animal dioramas, fossils, and dinosaur bones.

Nature and space-themed films are shown in the museum’s planetarium and IMAX theater.

The Discovery Zone is a great place for kids to spend time at the museum since it is filled with fun and educational activities like scavenger hunts, archeological sandpits, and flowing water features.

Recommended Ages

At the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, children of all ages can study science and natural history.

  1. Downtown Aquarium — Platte River

After opening in 1999 as a nonprofit company founded by the city of Denver, the Downtown Aquarium at Denver was forced to declare bankruptcy following the 9/11 attacks and was sold to Landry’s Restaurants in 2003.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Explore marine life, reptiles, birds, and tigers at the Downtown Aquarium, where you can also feed stingrays, swim with sharks (if you’re brave and qualified), seek gold, or become a zoologist or marine biologist for a day.

In the Northern Hemisphere, exhibits at the Downtown Aquarium include: the Desert, the Deep, the Wharf, the Rainforest, the Coral Lagoon, the Sunken Temple, the Shipwreck, the Beach, the Aquarium Express, and the Aquatic Carousel.

Recommended Ages

With its exhibits, educational programming, and kid-friendly activities, the Downtown Aquarium welcomes visitors of all ages.

  1. Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park — Platte River

When Denver was 30 years old, the Elitchs transformed their farm into a zoo and garden.

Since then, the area has become a theater, a ballroom, and the first children’s amusement park.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Visiting Elitch Gardens Theme Park and Water Park is a fantastic option for families who enjoy thrilling outings.

Over 50 rides and attractions of all degrees of difficulty are available, as well as a 10-acre water park featuring exciting water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, and cabanas.

Recommended Ages

Elitch Gardens is home to both an amusement park and a water park that are fun for visitors of all ages.

  1. Confluence Park — Platte River

Confluence Park is the location of Denver’s earliest settlements from the 1850s.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Confluence Park offers a view of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, as well as other family-friendly activities.

Explore the creek and river on foot, bicycle, or go fishing on the South Platte.

Observe kayakers and tubers in the water, sunbathe on the river’s beach, skate in their skate park, or swim in the shallow waters.

Recommended Ages

The Confluence Park is accessible to the general public, so families and children of all ages can enjoy free and inexpensive activities in Denver.

  1. Denver Firefighters Museum — Downtown Denver

This museum was established in the 1860s to remember local firefighters’ courage and educate tourists about fire safety.

The structure was a firehouse from 1909 until 1980 when it became a museum.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Explore the history of firefighting and allow curious children to enroll in firefighter camps and classes.

You may explore over 30,000 objects and participate in interactive activities at the museum.

Children can try on apparatus, slide down the pole, ride in a miniature fire engine, and act out putting out flames.

There is a gift shop where souvenirs relating to firefighting can be purchased.

Recommended Ages

The museum is open to visitors of all ages, who can delight in seeing children understand the work of firefighters.

  1. Denver Trolley — Platte River

In 1885, the Denver Electric and Cable Railway Company later renamed the Denver Tramway, began operation with almost 250 miles of city tracks and 40 miles of high-speed interurbans.

It was discontinued in 1950 due to the growing popularity of automobiles.

Today, the Denver Trolley preserves this piece of Denver’s history so everyone can enjoy it.

Why We Recommend This Activity

A picturesque, open-air heritage ride along the South Platte River and Cherry Creek provides insight into Denver’s past.

During the ride, you will travel by Denver’s famous attractions and hear a narration of the city’s Wild West roots.

The trolley is a 1986 reproduction of a streetcar from 1903.

Recommended Ages

The Denver Trolley offers a gorgeous, historic trip that local and foreign guests of all ages may appreciate.

  1. Children’s Museum of Denver — Platte River

In 1973, the Children’s Museum of Denver began in a converted school bus.

It quickly acquired a permanent facility on Bannock Street and subsequently on the west side of the Platte River, where it currently occupies nine acres for its displays.

Why We Recommend This Activity

What activities are available in Denver for families?

The Children’s Museum of Denver, located on the Marsico Campus, is a great place for families to spend a day.

Children can have all the fun they desire exploring the Adventure Forest, Box Canyon, Art Studio, Assembly Plant, Teaching Kitchen, Book Nook, and Village of Healthy Smiles, as well as 20 interactive exhibits in a 46,000-square-foot structure.

The Children’s Museum of Denver provides everything if you search for additional toddler- and infant-friendly activities in Denver.

Recommended Ages

The museum’s target audience is infants to eight-year-olds, although everyone is free to enjoy themselves there.

  1. Center for Visual Art — Santa Fe

The MSU Denver Art Department manages the off-campus art gallery Center for Visual Arts. First seen in 1990.

Why We Recommend This Activity

The CVA brings together year-round natives, foreigners, and local and international artists to appreciate contemporary art.

There are numerous opportunities to study and enjoy your time here.

You can take a guided museum tour, participate in a hands-on workshop or interactive gallery presentation, or explore art programs.

These include art lessons for children, an internship with the Art + Action Lab for adolescents, and art-making happy hours for adults.

Recommended Ages

Young people, teenagers, and adults alike will find something interesting and enjoyable at Denver’s Center for Visual Art.

  1. Anderson Farms — Erie

In 1911, a Swedish immigrant family purchased a Colorado farm and founded Anderson Farms.

Today, Anderson Farms is the most popular fall destination in Colorado.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Visit a vast historic farm with entertaining farm-related attractions for a one-of-a-kind family vacation experience.

During the Fall Festival, Anderson Farms is particularly well-known for Terror in the Corn and Zombie Paintball Hunt.

There is an expanse of the corn maze, a wagon ride to its famed pumpkin patch, a rainbow labyrinth, pedal karts, farm animals to engage with, children’s forts, a pumpkin cannon, mine cars, a barrel train, and escape rooms, among many more kid-friendly activities in Denver.

Recommended Ages

At Anderson Farms, guests of all ages will find something entertaining to do.

  1. National Western Stock Show — East Denver

Celebrating the American West and educating stockmen on how to develop their operations via things like breeding and nutrition, the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo has been held annually since 1906.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Observe rodeos, Wild West exhibitions, dancing horses, livestock competitions, and dog displays at the largest livestock show in the world, which features 15,000 animals.

Every January, Denver hosts a Wild West celebration attended by 45 American states and 30 foreign nations.

The festival also offers 300 free events and activities, the National Western Nursery, petting zoos, and pony rides.

For those looking to take a vacation with their family without breaking the bank, this is a fantastic choice.

Recommended Ages

This enormous event is ideal for children aged five and up.

  1. Tiny Town and Tiny Town Railroad — Morrison

In 1915, this little village began as a gift from a father to his young daughter.

In 1921, he opened the place to the public.

Why We Recommend This Activity

It is small but too large to be considered miniatures.

Tiny Town was formerly known as Turnerville after its creator George Turner.

The approximately four-foot-tall dollhouse-like structures comprise more than a hundred hand-crafted buildings for children.

Visitors can also enjoy miniature steam and diesel trains, and if you and your children are hungry, you can bring food and picnic on the grounds.

Recommended Ages

Tiny Town has delighted visitors of all ages for almost a century.

  1. Hammond’s Candy Factory

Ever ponder how sweets are created?

This century-old candy factory demonstrates how it has made its popular confections for the past century.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Established in 1920, Hammond’s Candies has grown from its humble beginnings to outlast the Great Depression, two world wars, and countless rivals.

Observe how their confections have been pulled, twisted, sculpted, and packed by hand since the factory’s inception.

Don’t forget to take some items from their classic confectionery store home with you.

Recommended Ages

Over the past century, Hammond’s Candies has amassed a devoted fanbase, and tourists of all ages adore its high-quality candies and factory.

  1. Dinosaur Ridge — Morrison

In 1877, fossil excavation in the region began, and some of the most well-known dinosaurs were unearthed here.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Dinosaur Ridge is among one of the world’s most famous dinosaur fossil sites and offers a variety of family-friendly activities.

Dinosaur displays and several other exhibits, such as the Walk Through Time Trail, Western Interior Seaway, Dinosaur Tracks, Geologic Puzzle, Volcanic Ash Bed, and Dinosaur Bone Quarry, are included on the site, along with numerous other fascinating attractions.

Children will especially like their creative paleontology classes and camps, so check out their schedule.

Recommended Ages

Guests of all ages will enjoy walking in the footsteps of dinosaurs from millions of years ago and participating in museum activities.

  1. Meow Wolf Denver’s Convergence Station

Convergence Station, an interactive art event by Meow Wolf Denver, opened in the Auraria neighborhood in September 2021.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Bring your friends and family to Meow Wolf Denver’s Convergence Station to see the wonders of the art world.

This four-story attraction features over seventy one-of-a-kind art installations, including immersive pieces, portals, chambers with varying themes, and odd sculptures.

Certain areas feature narrative encounters, mind-bending artwork, and captivating story arcs.

The Galleri Gallery features rotating artworks by Denver-based artists, while the Perplexiplex is a performance and event venue.

Recommended Ages

All ages are welcome to explore the four stories of interactive art.

  1. History Colorado Center

The History Colorado Center opened in April 2012 and is a spectacular museum with at least 15 local history displays.

Why We Recommend This Activity

By bringing your loved ones to this magnificent museum, you may uncover the rich history of Colorado and the American West and travel back in time.

At least nine permanent exhibitions are available for exploration.

Discover galleries about Ancestral Puebloans, the mountain animals of Colorado, and more.

Exhibits include Colorado Stories, which tells in-depth tales about the people who shaped Colorado’s history, and the Living West, which showcases environmental zones.

View items such as dioramas depicting city life on the Colorado plains in the 1800s, photographs from the nineteenth century, etc.

Participate in participatory programs, such as LEGO construction classes, occasional lectures, and live presentations.

Recommended Ages

At this museum, toddlers, children, adolescents, parents, and grandparents can have an educational experience.

  1. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

After the closure of Lowry Air Force Base in December 1994, it was transformed into the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.

Why We Recommend This Activity

The highlight of any trip to the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is the opportunity to get up up and personal with more than fifty airplanes.

Take several pictures with your family, climb into the cockpits, go on informative guided tours, observe demonstrations, discover aircraft used for various reasons, and learn about space exploration.

In addition, it provides sporadic interactive activities throughout the year, such as the Breakfast Fly-In.

Get the chance to eat excellent food from food trucks, participate in simulator activities, and observe airplanes landing.

Visit the museum store before departing to purchase themed souvenirs such as toys, books, games, jewelry, decorations, accessories, garments, and clothing.

Recommended Ages

This museum has no age restrictions, but school-aged children may appreciate its activities more than toddlers.

  1. Colorado Railroad Museum

The Colorado Railroad Museum is one of the most well-known museums in the state. It was established in 1959.

Why We Recommend This Activity

The Colorado Railroad Museum is an amazing place to take the family to learn about the history of trains and the machines that powered them.

Take your time when viewing items such as vintage photographs, automobiles, and train artifacts.

After viewing the exhibitions, you can participate in additional enjoyable activities such as taking train rides, signing up for behind-the-scenes tours, observing live demonstrations, and attending seasonal events.

Commemorate your visit by purchasing mugs, caps, t-shirts, board games, toys, wooden railway tracks, puzzles, stuffed animals, magnets, artwork, Thomas & Friends souvenirs, and more in the gift store.

Recommended Ages

This museum welcomes families and offers activities for all ages.

  1. Denver Selfie Museum

The 2019-opened Denver Selfie Museum is a colorful and interactive art museum with exhibits built for selfie backgrounds.

Why We Recommend This Activity

At the Denver Selfie Museum, you may create lasting memories with your loved ones by shooting hundreds of unusual and amusing photographs.

It’s part of the ReNew on Stout apartment development in the heart of downtown.

It provides various vivid and one-of-a-kind backdrops for gravity-defying, breathtaking images that your children will cherish for years to come.

Each unique backdrop features professional lighting and decorations to ensure visitors’ photographs are of the highest quality.

Recommended Ages

This excellent museum welcomes people of all ages and is suitable for families.

  1. Buckhorn Exchange

The Buckhorn Exchange is a prestigious steakhouse that first opened in November 1893.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Before returning to your hotel, enjoy a delectable supper at the Buckhorn Exchange with your family.

This restaurant’s interior is adorned with historical photographs, Native American artifacts, antique guns, over 500 taxidermy pieces, and mounted game, including elk, yak, and rhinoceros.

Here, you can sample delectable foods such as grilled duck breast, salmon, beef tenderloin, cheesecakes, brownies, apple pies, ice cream, etc.

Recommended Ages

This restaurant does not impose any age limits on guests.

However, it is more suitable for your older children because it lacks specialty cuisine options for younger children.

  1. 16 Street Mall

In the middle of downtown Denver is the mile-long 16th Street Mall, a popular shopping destination.

Why We Recommend This Activity

Take your children on the ultimate shopping excursion by visiting the 16 Street Mall.

It contains over 250 boutiques and restaurants, providing unlimited alternatives to satisfy every need and want.

Discover businesses providing a variety of things, including baby clothes, candies, flowers, clothing, toys, books, souvenirs, and makeup.

Visit retailers including H&M, Hot Topic, Banana Republic, Target, Sephora, Victoria’s Secret & PINK, Uniqlo, and Forever 21.

And there are many of great restaurants in the city that are kid-friendly.

Among this area’s restaurants are Brooklyn’s Finest Pizza, Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Taco Bell, and Subway, among others.

Recommended Ages

With its pedestrian-friendly design and complementary end-to-end shuttle service, this shopping center is ideal for families with small children or infants.

  1. Casa Bonita

Lamar Station Plaza’s Casa Bonita is a family-friendly Mexican restaurant.

Why We Recommend This Activity

After enjoying various family-friendly activities in Denver, conclude the day with a delicious meal at Casa Bonita.

It offers a children-friendly restaurant and live entertainment, such as mariachi bands, magic performances, cliff divers leaping 30 feet into a crystal pool, and puppet shows.

Traditional Mexican cuisine, such as enchiladas, burritos, tacos, fajitas, nachos, fried ice cream, and more, is available for sampling.

Recommended Ages

At Casa Bonita, foreigners and locals of all ages will have a fantastic time.