12 Things To Do With Family In Denver, Colorado

Last Updated on February 17, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Denver, Colorado is a vibrant city nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Known as the Mile High City for its exact elevation of one mile above sea level, Denver offers a unique urban landscape with a frontier spirit. From thriving craft breweries to winding bike trails through city parks, Denver packs a variety of family-friendly attractions within its walkable downtown districts dotted with historical buildings.

Beyond the cosmopolitan conveniences of the city, Denver also serves as a gateway to the majestic Rocky Mountains, providing easy access to outdoor adventures like hiking, rafting, and skiing. The sunshine-filled climate ensures pleasant weather for explorations during every season. Families visiting Denver never run out of options for making memories together.

City Park

Spread across 330 acres in east Denver, City Park provides wide open green spaces, lakes teeming with ducks, a resident zoo with exotic animals, and recreational facilities ranging from tennis courts to playgrounds. The park’s central location allows families to walk or bike along the paths circling the two lakes while taking in views of downtown’s skyline. Kids delight in feeding the ducks and turtles near water playgrounds and boat rentals during warmer months. Scattered shade trees offer respite on sunny days when temperatures climb.

City Park also houses lakeside eateries, the Denver Zoo with over 4,000 animals, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, as well as Ferril and Duck Lake Lagoons. Families appreciate the variety of attractions and amenities clustered within this urban oasis. The environmental diversity and engaging sights make City Park a convenient one-stop outdoor destination for families.

Washington Park

Nestled amid stately homes and gardens below the rolling hills of south Denver, Washington Park encompasses 165 acres of diverse landscapes. Families stroll, jog or bike along the park’s meandering paths shaded by a canopy of trees. Others launch model boats across Smith Lake near the boathouse or pose by the flower gardens surrounding Grasmere Lake.

Washington Park also features lit tennis courts, lawn bowling greens, as well as one of the city’s largest playgrounds. Kids climb the spider web dome while parents unwind on benches. In summer, families spread out picnic blankets on the great lawn against the backdrop of downtown’s skyscrapers. The park also hosts free movie nights and summer concerts at its amphitheater. Whether seeking active recreation or peaceful repose, Washington Park welcomes families within its verdant perimeter.

Get a Workout Climbing Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre


Carved into the rugged terrain of the Rocky Mountains just 15 miles southwest of downtown Denver, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre delivers a visual and auditory spectacle. As a naturally formed, acoustically perfect concert venue cradled between two massive sandstone formations, the amphitheater hosts world-renowned musical performances against a panoramic backdrop. The venue’s museum and hall of fame immortalize legendary concerts spanning decades.

While concerts only run during evenings, Red Rocks Park remains open to visitors during daylight hours. Families embark on scenic hikes and work up a sweat by tackling the rows of steep, carved steps stretching skyward. Upon reaching the top, kids gape at Denver’s downtown visible across 15 miles while parents marvel at the amphitheater’s construction integrated seamlessly with the geological structures. Whether catching a show or simply soaking up the ambiance, Red Rocks Park promises families an only-in-Colorado experience.

Tour the Architecture of Denver Botanic Gardens


Spanning 24 acres, the Denver Botanic Garden’s diverse landscapes intermingle with art to cultivate creativity and wonder. The gardens unfurl as a living museum that families meander through while discovering new sights around each bend. Themed sections range from a traditional Japanese garden graced with bonsai trees and tranquil koi ponds to vibrant tropical conservatories with exotic water lilies and fluttering butterflies from around the world. The Mordecai Children’s Garden captivates kids with interactive features like climbing structures and log cabins centered around ecology education.

Beyond the diverse botanical collections flourishing outdoors, the gardens also encompass a series of avant garde glass structures showcasing art exhibitions integrated with plants and nature. Families admire Chihuly’s radiant sculptures complemented by the Gardens’ horticulture while strolling through recently added installations like the Weaver’s Circle and Center Circle. Both adults and children gain appreciation for the synergy between art and nature while exploring the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Revel in Interactive Art at Meow Wolf Denver


As an offbeat, surrealist art exhibition space spanning 90,000 square feet, Meow Wolf Denver teleports families into the crawled-through, climbed-upon, button-pressing dimensions of an alternate reality. Immersive installations overflow with hidden doors, neon forests, laser shows, crawling tunnels and magical worlds alive with secrets waiting to unfurl. Meow Wolf’s interactive artwork envelops families within a sci-fi mystery begging to be solved one discovery at a time.

Unlike traditional museums discouraging touch, Meow Wolf injects whimsical inspiration by encouraging tactile adventures. Kids ignore “do not touch” norms to slide, climb and crawl through interactive structures and conceptual art installations unlike anything else. Even mundane acts like opening a refrigerator revealed unexpected delights behind every door. With new rooms debuting this year in the ever-evolving exhibit, families return repeatedly to manifest creativity through exploration unmatched anywhere else.

Ice Skate Downtown at Skyline Park

When winter blankets Denver with snow and holiday cheer, the downtown Skyline Park transforms into an open-air ice rink beckoning families. With the city’s skyscrapers glimmering through the tree-lined perimeter, the 9,500-square-foot rink delivers a quintessential urban arena for swirling figure eights atop hand-held skates. Parents grasp little mittens while guiding wobbling toddlers on the ice with watchful smiles.

Skyline Park’s ice rink lies within steps of the holiday market at the Dairy Block lined with food, drink and shops. Families refuel around fire pits with hot chocolate warming frozen toes stuffed inside skates. Laughing kids brave wipe outs and slippery landings while twirling beneath sparkling lights draped between evergreens. With looping holiday music playing amidst the city lights, Skyline Park’s outdoor ice rink helps families celebrate the magic of the season.

Play and Learn at the Children’s Museum of Denver


With bright colors and interactive exhibits spanning all genres of learning, the Children’s Museum of Denver keeps kids moving, creating and exploring. As one of the top family destinations in Colorado, the massive museum tailored specifically for kids aged newborn through eight years old overflows with hands-on activities. Children run ecstatically between ball exhibits demonstrating physics, arts and crafts encouraging creativity, a kid-sized grocery store, as well as adventure sections like firefighting or expedition tools. Parents join the fun through stations like an aviation lab with technology from the Federal Aviation Administration or a hospital role-playing space.

The Children’s Museum also dedicates resources toward traveling exhibits focused on STEAM education. Past visiting attractions covered outer space, world cultures, mechanical engineering and even world-class innovations by Leonardo da Vinci. Both parents and kids gain exposure to diverse learning opportunities that sneak in education through the thrill of exploration and discovery unmatched anywhere else.

Unwind at Lakeside Amusement Park


First debuting in 1908 along the southern shores of Lake Rhoda, Lakeside Amusement Park holds the distinction as being one of the oldest continually operating amusement parks across the United States. The park maintains its vintage vibes through original rides dating back generations alongside modern attractions catering to contemporary thrill-seekers. Families intermingle across ages enjoying nostalgic experiences together.

Kids undergo rushes of adrenaline racing down the Cyclone Rollercoaster’s plunging tracks first constructed in 1940. Parents relive childhood memories steering bumper cars emblazoned with the original 1960s logos before joining tots easing down gentler courses like the fairytale-themed dragon wagon ride swirling through Enchanted Forest. From notorious bigger attractions to kiddie rides bedecked with ice cream colors, Lakeside Amusement Park delivers pint-sized thrills for Denver families seeking a lively afternoon maintaining beloved traditions across decades.

Cheer on the Home Team at Coors Field

Enjoy America’s favorite pastime in the rarified air of the Mile High City by catching MLB’s Colorado Rockies swinging bats downtown at Coors Field. As one of Denver’s top family-friendly venues, the open-air baseball stadium frames fly balls soaring across panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains visible through the bleacher’s steep backdrop. The ballpark buzzes with kids clutching gloves while chasing home runs bounding across purple rows filled with fans. Parents pass down traditions watching nail-biting innings unfold toward triumphant walk-offs echoing victory cheers.

Beyond exciting innings pitching playoff dreams, Coors Field offers diversions to keep families entertained all nine rounds. An interactive area at the main concourse allows kids to swing their own bats, race on agility training courses attempting stolen bases or test their pitching prowess against speed radars. Additional kid-friendly perks include free ride wristbands for the Ferris Wheel on family Sundays, on-field adventures allowing fans to play catch on the field before games, as well as kids eat free meal policies allowing young diners ages 12 and under to chow down on hot dogs, burgers and fries for free during every home game.

Camp and Hike Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Nestled halfway between Denver and Rocky Mountain National Park, Golden Gate Canyon State Park offers quick escapes to refreshing Front Range Foothills spanning 12,000 acres across mountainous forests and windswept meadows. The serene park borders national forest connecting families to over 100 miles of multi-purpose trails for hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding past trickling creeks and stands of bristling evergreens. Within its untouched terrain remote from city distractions, families reconnect to the refreshing wild through immersive adventures.

Well-distributed campgrounds across five locations within Golden Gate Canyon furnish rustic outpost accommodations for families seeking to fully unplug within nature for days at a time. Kids gather kindling sticks to stoke evening campfires beneath starlit skies while parents prep foil dinners over the dancing flames. Lulls filled with crickets and owls replace incessant notifications demanding attention through smart devices abandoned for simpler living. Renewed through restorative slow-downs, families bond while detached from digital dependencies in the forests of Golden Gate Canyon where the wild still echoes in the cool mountain air.

Pan for Treasure at Argo Gold Mine and Mill

Delve into Colorado’s glory days during the gold rush by panning mining tailings for golden glimmers at the Argo Gold Mine and Mill perched on the outskirts of Idaho Springs. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the mine sits preserved in time with original machinery dating to the gold rush along with mine shafts and tunnels open for exploration. Families tour levels toward bedrock while learning of geologic forces behind precious metal deposits glittering across Colorado’s mountains.

Kids receive lesson on panning techniques to swirl muddy mixes revealing sparkling flakes clinging to ridges along the bottom of metal pans. Administrators supply all tools and guidance – including vials for collecting shiny specks to take home as souvenirs. The educational experience connects kids to Colorado’s mining history through hands-on interactions extracting real gold from in the rough terrain. After a day digging and panning, 21st generations gain enduring context of the wild west built from ambitious pioneers who set the mountainous frontier ablaze with gold fever.

Solve an Old West Mystery at Buckskin Joe Frontier Town

Once a Hollywood movie set spun from historic buildings dating to Colorado’s frontier era, the Buckskin Joe Frontier Town transports families back to the wild west through a ghost town where bandits and marshals still roam. Kids rummage the saloon, assayers office, and dusty mercantile for clues unraveling a 100-year-old mystery from 1912. Adults admire dozens of preserved buildings featuring original construction techniques utilizing tools from the era when the town still bustled.

Surrounding the windblown outpost, the heritage park also offers stagecoach rides, panning for gold, period carnival games and shootouts staged by can-can dancers and costumed cowboys demonstrating the gritty glory days of yesteryear’s Colorado boom towns. Through interactive adventures across the former film set, the frontier village imparts living history helping generations understand the melting pot origins along the wild frontier.

Conclusion


With a lively urban culture nested against nature’s splendor, Denver delivers dynamic opportunities for making family memories spanning the spectrum from frontier throwbacks like panning for gold to postmodern art experiences transporting imaginations into fantasy dimensions.

From thrills flooding high mountain rapids to quieter strolls circling the peaceful lily pads of a Japanese garden, the Mile High City bridges past and future through educational attractions catering to kids balanced with relaxing escapes for parental sanity.With such an engaging array of family pursuits, visitors never run out of enriching new adventures while creating bonds and nostalgia destined to last future generations.

Leave a Comment