Known as ‘The Mile High City’, Denver has seen rapid growth over the last several decades. The city with sweeping views is situated at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and offers a wide selection of outdoor activities and adventures. From craft breweries and world-class cultural attractions to upscale dining and a highly-active music scene, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.
If you’re traveling to Denver as a family, you’ll discover many fun and interesting things to do. Watch a game at the ballpark, stroll through a botanic garden, or explore one-of-a-kind collections at the museum. Kid-friendly Airbnbs in Denver are also plentiful and provide families with all of the features and amenities they need for a relaxing trip. Check out our list of the best activities and places to go visit with children in Denver.
1. Meet wildlife at the Denver Zoo.
2. Hop aboard the Denver Trolley and learn the city’s history.
3. Picnic on the greenway at City Park.
4. Visit the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for hands-on activities.
5. Eat and play at Casa Bonita.
6. Tour Hammand’s Candy Factory to see how candy is made.
7. See fossils and prehistoric tracks at Dinosaur Ridge.
8. Ride the Kaleidoscope at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park.
9. Hike Rocky Mountain National Park and its 300 miles of trails.
10. Enjoy a sweet treat at Little Man Ice Cream.
11. Interact with sea creatures at the Downtown Aquarium.
12. Go round and round on the Carousel of Happiness.
13. Take a hot air balloon ride with Adventures Out West.
14. Explore plants and the natural world at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
15. Head to Boondocks Food and Fun for laser tag, bowling, and more.
1. Denver Zoo
Spanning more than 80 acres, the Denver Zoo is a zoological garden and one of the most popular attractions in the Denver metropolitan area. Bring the kids to see the more than 3,500 animals, including favorites like the African (black-footed) penguin, American flamingo, Amur (Siberian) tiger, Asian elephant, bald eagle, and Grevy’s zebra.
2. Denver Trolley
Relive those “Breezer” streetcar days with a 30-minute scenic trolley ride along the South Platte Greenway. The trolley operates from Confluence Park and goes past the Children’s Museum of Denver and the Broncos Stadium. During your ride, you’ll hear the history of the area spoken by a team of knowledgeable operators.
3. City Park
Spend an afternoon picnicking on the greenway at City Park on Colorado Boulevard. The kids will love the opportunity to run around in the sun and play on the two on-site playgrounds. City Park is also home to several tennis courts, two lakes, historical monuments, horseshoes, and baseball, soccer, and football fields.
4. Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Take a day trip to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and enjoy the dozens of interesting exhibitions and a large array of events and hands-on activities. The Museum offers a planetarium where kids can learn about topics like black holes and volcanoes. There is also an IMAX Theater that plays science and nature movies.
5. Casa Bonita
Occupying 52,000 square feet, Casa Bonita is a well-known Mexican restaurant that offers much more than meals. The establishment hosts puppet shows, water performances, and other shows every 30 minutes. There are also many games and activities that kids of all ages will enjoy.
Hammond’s Candies is a candy store that offers handmade candies, chocolates, lollipops, and various gift items. The popular candy shop offers free factory tours that allow families to see exactly how candies are made.
7. Dinosaur Ridge
Dinosaur Ridge is one of the world’s most well-known dinosaur fossil localities. Go on a walk with a professional geologist and participate in a discussion of the changes and geology of the Denver area over time.
8. Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
This family-owned amusement and water park also boasts a theater and botanic garden. It is located in the West Highland neighborhood in northwest Denver and offers many exciting family and thrill rides, such as the Big Wheel, Blazin’ Buckaroo, and Meow Wolf’s Kaleidoscape.
9. Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park draws in more than 4.5 million people each year. The wilderness includes more than 355 miles of hiking trails, expansive mountain ranges, and 147 lakes. Bring the entire family to the Park for a hike and snap plenty of photos with the scenic backdrop.
10. Little Man Ice Cream
Little Man Ice Cream has remained a favorite among locals and visitors alike for more than a decade. Stop in with the family and enjoy some homemade ice cream or other tasty treats, such as a malt, shake, or float.
11. Downtown Aquarium
Experience an underwater adventure at Downtown Aquarium. The massive complex features a state-of-the-art aquarium housing that contains more than 500 species of sea life. There is also a lounge and restaurant on-site where families can grab a bite to eat after exploring the aquarium.
12. Carousel of Happiness
Choose one of the whimsical, hand-carved animals to ride on while enjoying the music of a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ. The restored 1910 carousel is a fun activity for families with small children and is open to the public most Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
13. Adventures Out West
Adventures Out West is the ultimate source for outdoor adventures in Denver. Families will encounter once-in-a-lifetime adventures, such as hot air balloon rides, ziplining, or Segway rides through Garden of the Gods. Guests can also partake in Jeep tours, day hikes, and mountain biking.
14. Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens is a botanical garden that spans 23 acres and contains a conservatory, a sunken amphitheater, and a host of theme gardens. Children will enjoy seeing the art, science, and garden collections and exhibitions. There are also special events held throughout the year.
15. Boondocks Food and Fun
For endless entertainment, bring the family to Boondocks Food and Fun. The amusement center offers a variety of family-friendly activities, such as laser tag, mini-golf, arcade games, and a roller coaster simulator.