The laughter of children playing in parks, exciting museums, and the slippery fun of water parks — Denver is the city of fun-filled family times in a hustle and bustle atmosphere. Known as the “Mile High City” due to its elevation above sea level, this magnificent metropolis will surely go above and beyond all your wildest expectations.
Unsure where the kid-friendly activities reside in the city? We’ll take you through the top things to do in Denver with the family that provides something for everyone (from busy toddlers to cherished old-timers).
Things to Do in Denver with Kids
We can all admit it — taking care of your ever-busy herd is a tough job. A trip to Denver is the perfect way to ensure an escape away that is guaranteed to tire your little critters out from the exciting activities and things to see.
Take a look at the top kid-friendly things to do in Denver to provide some travel inspiration for various must-do activities to add to your vacation itinerary.
Visit Denver Zoo
Within the bounds of the City Park in Denver lies a wild world filled with wildlife, exciting exhibits, and a sense of wonderment. This highly-ranked zoo is a sanctuary for animals and is an 80-acre space founded in 1896 and is one of the most family-friendly things to do in Denver.
Whether your kiddies are dreaming of a safari experience or they want to see the happy waddles of penguins, Denver Zoo provides an adventure for every type of animal lover. The zoological space also offers opportunities for your captivated clan to feed stingrays, where children under two can participate with an adult for free.
Make your way to the Northern Shores Sea Lion Pool at 2:30 (available daily) to witness the stunning spectacle of performing sea lions. If you’re lucky, you might catch a friendly wave from the various sea pups on stage.
Go to the Denver Firefighters Museum
Calling all mini prospective firefighters in the making, the Denver Firefighters Museum is a sure-fire way (wink, wink) for an exciting family-friendly outing. Located in the cultural haven of downtown Denver, this educational fortress provides an insightful look at the history of Denver firefighters.
This museum allows free admission for children under two years and provides a fantastic space where learning meets fun. Parents and visitors can peruse the interesting exhibits while children can have a blast participating in various activities.
From firehouse tale readings to junior firefighter camps, this museum teaches how it’s never too early to create a foundation for inspiring the heroes of the future.
Explore the Hammond’s Candy Factory & Store
If you’ve ever heard the saying, “like a kid in a candy store,” this factory will enable you to see it with your own eyes. A Denver kids activity with a sweet twist, Hammond’s Candies is the place to be if you want to be in your little one’s good books (did anyone say the coolest parent of the year?).
From festive ribbon candies to the artful decadence of finely-crafted chocolates, this man-made Candyland is an experience ready for a tasting. Hammond’s Candies opened its doors nearly a century ago, which sets its legacy of the candy confectionery business in stone through its quality.
The factory tours are one of the ultimate free things to do in Denver, and it’s easy to see why. You’ll be guided through the mouth-watering world of candy making and what makes its intricate production so special.
Need something to sweeten the deal further? Visitors can take some freshly crafted goods home to bask in the endless sugar rush after the 30-minute tour.
Experience an Aquatic Adventure at the Downtown Aquarium
If you’re looking to have a swimmingly time with your loved ones, the Downtown Aquarium is a top contender for the best thing to do in Denver, Colorado, with kids.
Equipped with various exhibits featuring sublime creatures from all over the globe, this aquarium provides a way to glimpse the extraordinary biodiversity of the world. From the dry plains of deserts to the tropical climates of rainforests, the Downtown Aquarium is an aquatic playground full of sights and specimens to see.
This fish-filled space also features an array of kids activities for your children to work off all their extra energy. This includes an aquatic carousel, 4-D movie theatre, and even the mystical presence of a live mermaid performance on some occasions.
Feeling peckish? This water-filled wonder offers a sea-inspired dining experience, including an immense aquarium as its centerpiece. You’ll be able to ponder the stunning schools of technicolor fish while enjoying the superb cuisine of this establishment.
Go Sledding at Robinson Park
If you’re planning to visit this exciting city in the winter, you’re in for a treat. While the chilly embrace of winter usually means finding warmth through a fortress of blankets and hot chocolate, this snow-covered space warms up the soul in a different way.
Sledding in Denver provides an adrenaline-fueled way to get the feeling back in your face from the rush of the cold air and the beaming smiles of icy fun. This activity is also a great way to get some cool action pictures and capture the moments of family fun Denver provides.
Robinson Park is free to enter and is one of the top sledding hills in Denver. With picnic tables and restrooms, this traditional winter activity is the perfect way to spend a frosty morning in the snow.
Learn at the Children’s Museum of Denver
Another fun thing to do in Denver with kids in the city’s downtown area, the Children’s Museum of Denver, has 20 exhibits and various educational activities to experience.
If you’re looking to provide some early inspiration for your young ones about their future professions, this museum will be sure to stoke the fires of creativity and imagination.
Whether they want to become a vet or a chef, the Children’s Museum of Denver provides an interactive experience to show the trials and triumphs of these careers. This skill-driven space has it all, from greeting imaginary patients at the play vet to getting their hands dirty in the cooking classes.
Equipped with nursing and changing stations, the museum is an inclusive space to ensure all ages enjoy the wondrous world of learning.
If you’re looking for things to do in Denver for toddlers, you can take your curious tots to the Early Learner’s Oasis. Available for ages 0-3 to explore, the toys and activities at the museum will keep them busy for hours.
Take a Trip to the Butterfly Pavilion
A beautiful chrysalis waiting to hatch into a cherished family vacation memory, the Butterfly Pavilion is a 15-min drive from downtown Denver located in Westminster. While it might not technically reside in the city, this attraction is an experience like no other.
The Butterfly Pavilion is a domed dreamscape of possibilities, an innovative insect zoo with a heavy sprinkle of rainbow-hued moving specks floating in the air. With various biomes to explore on the premises, this diverse space is a fantastic spot for children to learn about their favorite invertebrates.
From flapping butterflies to creepy crawlies, the Butterfly Pavilion provides an interactive experience with the multi-legged creatures of the world. This enclosure is also the perfect place for nature photographers to get snap-happy.
Tip: If you plan to visit in December, the Butterfly Pavilion hosts a Living Lights event to commemorate the festive season. This illumination spectacle features twinkling lights, aerial performers, and a Firefly Forest, to name a few.
Have Fun at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
Ready for the ride (or a few) of a lifetime? Elitch Gardens is the epitome of family fun, making it one of the top things to do with kids in Denver.
From the terrifying yet thrilling drop of the Brain Drain to the floating wonder of the water park’s Lazy River, this sun-drenched space has something for everyone. If ride-hopping isn’t your thing, this amusement park offers various activities to try.
Whether you’re getting a kooky caricature or playing to win at the arcade games, no one leaves Elitch Gardens without a smile. Make sure you head to the ride photo booth stands to pick up a memorable souvenir to commemorate the day.
Tip: While it might be tempting to jam-pack your itinerary with various attractions to see in a day, these fun-filled plains are a whole day experience. The park has a firework show that lights up the Denver sky with a dazzling display at closing time.
Will You Be Booking A Trip?
While kids tend to have the annoying habit of growing up and going off on their adventures, family vacations are the things we tend to look back on. Which one of these things to do in Denver will your family be excited about the most?
Navigating a new place with your loving compadres at your side is the best way to experience a city in all its messy and mesmerizing glory. From educational wonderment to exciting indoor activities in Denver, the capital city of Colorado is teeming with unforgettable memories waiting to be created.
Whether you’re staying in Denver or visiting for the day, the city plays host to a kaleidoscope of adventures.