There are so many fun kid-friendly things to do in Denver, Colorado. The mile-high city really is an incredible family vacation destination. The city of Denver isn’t too big so you can stay right downtown and easily access all that the city has to offer. Denver is also a great launching point for many other fun Colorado adventures.
For 20 years I lived in the Rocky Mountains, only an hour’s drive from Denver, and we would visit the city all the time. After Eli was born I discovered that Denver has so much to offer for family fun.
My parents would buy our family an annual pass to a museum or zoo in Denver for Christmas every year. It was a great gift idea because it motivated us to experience all of the fun kid-friendly things to do in Denver.
When we could only get away for a day or two, Denver was the perfect place to head for a staycation.
Fun Things To Do In Denver With Kids
Here are my family’s top 10 favorite things to do in Denver.
Denver can surprisingly be an affordable city to visit, read Family Travel on a Budget 11 Helpful Tips To Make Family Travel More Affordable for some great money-saving tips.
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The Denver Zoo (in my opinion) is one of the best in the country. It is the perfect size to spend the day exploring – not too big and not too small. There is a huge variety of animals and habitats with many different interactive activities along the way.
The admission price is reasonable for an all day family-friendly adventure- $20 for adults and $14 for kids ages 3-11, free for kids 2 and under.
Insider Tip – Outside food is allowed in the zoo. Bring a lunch and have a picnic at one of the Denver Zoo’s many areas with a picnic table.
Nuggs Ice Cream
Nuggs Ice Cream on Colfax Ave is less than two miles from the Denver Zoo. It is the perfect place to stop for a treat after a fun day at the zoo (or really any time).
We love ice cream and the ice cream options were so limited in Summit County where we lived. So, when we went to Denver we would always get ice cream. Nuggs is by far our favorite ice cream spot! They have so many delicious flavors, picking just one or two is so hard.
Sea life is so fascinating (one of the many reasons we moved to Hawaii), and the Downtown Aquarium does a fantastic job of displaying sea creatures. In fact, the aquarium has 500 different species in one million gallons of water!
Admission to the Downtown Aqurium is $27 for adults, $20 for kids 3-11, and free for kids 2 and under.
Insider Tip- Eating at the Downtown Aquarium restaurant is an incredible experience for the whole family (and the food is really good). One whole wall of the restaurant is an aquarium so you can watch fish swim by while you eat. Not only that, if you eat at the restaurant after 6:00, you get 10% off admission to the Aquarium and free parking across the street.
Museum of Nature and Science
I have visited the Denver Museum of Nature and Science so many times and it is always so fascinating! There is really something for every age and interest in this museum.
The taxidermy displays of different animals from all over the world in exhibits made to look exactly like their habitat is my favorite. There are also areas dedicated to the human body, ancient Egypt, dinosaurs, space, rocks, and a huge rotating special exhibit.
It is easy to spend an entire day exploring the Museum of Nature and Science. Although the Museum is next to the zoo, I think it would be too much to see both in one day.
Admission to the Museum of Nature and Science is $23 for adults, $18 for kids 3-11, and free for kids 2 and under.
Children’s Museum of Denver
The Children’s Museum of Denver is a wonderful interactive experience for kids. There is endless imaginative play for kids ages 2-5 at the fire station, market, and veterinary stations; and interesting science projects for kids of all ages at the bubble, water, and kinetics stations. Creative kids of all ages will love the art studio and assembly plant.
Outdoor play options are also offered year-round. In the summer, kids 5 and older will love the gigantic ariel adventure course. In the winter there is a sledding hill with real snow, perfect for all ages.
The admission pricing is interesting because it is the same price – $17 for two years old and up and$15 for one year olds.
Elitch Gardens is an epic amusement and water park located right in downtown Denver. Kids of all ages will love to spend a day at Elitch Gardens. It is one of the best things to do in Denver with kids.
If you have little ones, there is a big section of Elitch Garden just for them with toddler-sized rides. If you have school-aged kids or teens, they will love the rest of the amusement park! The water park at Elitch Gardens is a great way to spend a hot summer day.
Admission is $50 for everyone over two years old if you buy online.
Insider Tip- If you live in Colorado and plan to visit Elitch Gardens more than one time, it is worth it to purchase a season pass. The pass pays for itself in two visits if you buy it before the summer starts. Free parking is included in a season pass so that saves a lot of money too.
Union Station has been completely revitalized in the last 20 years. It is now a great spot to eat, hang out, and even stay at the new Crawford Hotel At Union Station. The water feature is fun for kids to play in on a hot sunny day.
If happen to visit Union Station in the morning, you will want to eat breakfast at Snooze, they have the best pancakes ever!
Union Station is also the starting point of one of the most epic train rides in the United States – the Amtrak California Zephyr. Read The Ultimate Guide To Riding the Amtrak From Colorado to California for some great booking tips and train trip info.
Insider Tip– for $10.50 a person, you can ride the A Line from Denver International Airport to Union Station.
National Western Stockshow And Rodeo
Nothing is more Colorado than the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. Every January, ranchers from all over compete in what is now the largest stock show in the world. Also, world champion cowboys and cowgirls compete in the exciting bull riding, steer wrestling, and barrel racing events at the daily rodeos.
It is well worth it to schedule your family ski vacation to Colorado in January so you can experience the National Western Stock Show.
Kids will love walking around the stock show looking at all the different animals – cows, pigs, goats, sheep, horses, donkeys, and then all different kinds of birds. It is really fascinating.
Attend a Professional Sporting Event-
Denver is the smallest city in the country to have five professional sports teams. The Colorado Rockies baseball team, Colorado Avalanche hockey, Denver Broncos football, Denver Nuggets basketball, and Colorado Rapids soccer.
Because my husband is big sports fan, our family has attended many different sporting events in Denver over the years. I love that Coors Field (Rockies baseball), Ball Arena (Avalanche hockey and Nuggets basketball), and Empower Field (Denver Broncos) are all right downtown!
My favorite team in Denver is the Colorado Rockies. We had season tickets to the Rockies for many years and have been to countless baseball games.
Coors field is an incredible baseball park located right downtown. Watching a baseball game at Coors Field is a must-do in Denver in the summer.
Insider Tip– for everything you need to know read Bringing Kids To A Colorado Rockies Baseball Game at Coors Field
Avalanche hockey games are intense from start to finish. Hockey fans are loud and fun making the vibe at Avalanche games electric. Even if you aren’t a hockey fan, an Avalanche game is still fun and entertaining for the whole family.
Insider Tip- While it would be amazing to sit front row right on the glass, the view is actually better from club level. Season ticket holders will often list their club-level tickets on StubHub for a reasonable price.
Denver Broncos Football Game
Even when the Broncos aren’t having a winning season, every single Broncos game is packed with fans. The whole experience from tailgating before the game to joining the crowd in cheers is something your family will never forget. The energy at a Broncos game is intense.
Insider Tip – While tickets at the top bowl of the stadium are cheaper, it might not be the best option for little ones. The stands are very steep at the top and I once sat next to a little boy who was terrified that he would fall down the entire game.
Denver Nuggets Basketball
It’s always crazy to me that Ball Arena can transform from a hockey rink back to a basketball court overnight! A Nuggets basketball game isn’t quite as intense as Avalanche hockey game but it is still lots of fun and entertaining for adults and kids alike.
McGregor Square is a gigantic plaza right downtown across from Coors Field. It is the perfect place to hang out year-rouond. The plaza has a stadium sized LED screen that shows Colorado professional sports as well as movie nights. In the summer you can grab a bite to eat from one of the many restaurants surrounding the plaza and hang out on the grassy hill to watch your favorite game. In the winter the plaza is turned into an ice skating rink where you can rent skates. It is the perfect winter activity for the whole family.
There is some epic ice skating in the mountains near Breckenridge Ski Resort. Read- The Ultimate Insider’s Guide To Ice Skating In Breckenridge (and Nearby)
The Rally Hotel surrounds McGregor Square and is a great family-friendly Dener hotel. It is the perfect place to stay especially if you plan to attend a Colorado Rockies game.
Conclusion – Kid-Friendly Things To Do In Denver, Colorado
As you can see, Denver is a fun city for families to visit. There are so many great kid-friendly things to do in Denver.
Helpful Apps For Booking Your Denver Family Vacation-
Downtown Denver hotel options-
If you stay right downtown, you don’t need a car and can take rideshare or public transit to all of the above kid-friendly Denver activities. But, if you do have a car, use SpotHero to save on parking.
We would always book our hotel parking through SpotHero and although you might have to walk a block or two to your car, the money you save makes it well worth it.
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