Have more time to spend in Denver?
- Denver Zoo. Home to some 4,000 animals, the city zoo is the perfect afternoon outing. Tree-lined avenues provide shade in summer, while special lights and events make wintertime fun. Admission is $5-7 for kids, depending on the season, and $9- $12 for adults. Be sure to look for the zoo nursery for the latest zoo babies!
- Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Don't miss the top family attraction in Denver. The museum's ever-changing exhibits provide hands-on fun for youngsters of all ages. Located right next to the Denver Zoo, you can hit two attractions in one day. When your feet get tired of walking, take in an IMAX movie or one of the shows at the museum's planetarium. Entrance is $11 for adults and $6 for children and seniors.
- Red Rocks Amphitheatre & Visitors Center. Nature is responsible for this beautiful park and concert venue. Located in the mountains overlooking Denver, the park's towering red rocks reach toward the sky, offering natural acoustics for the world-famous amphitheatre. Walk down to the stage and test the acoustics for yourself, or hike the trails that meander throughout the park. Don't forget your camera! Entrance is free, except during concerts and special events.
- Children's Museum. Young children up to age 8 or so will get a kick out of this colorful museum. With plenty of hands-on experience to stir the imagination, the Children's Museum of Denver turns learning into fun. Children age one and under are free, one-year-olds and adults 60+ are $5.50, and children two and up and adults are $7.50. If the weather is good, take a picnic and eat outside.
- 16th Street Mall. The heart of Denver is a tree-lined, pedestrian promenade lined with funky shops and outdoor cafés. You may want to walk so that you can people-watch and enjoy the sunshine, but a free mall shuttle will whisk you down the granite street. Stop for an ice cream shake at the cool Paramount Café, "Denver's original rock n' Roll café."
- Downtown Aquarium. This world-class aquarium showcases an aquatic journey from an Indonesian rainforest to the Pacific Ocean, as well as the journey from the Continental Divide to the Sea of Cortez. The aquarium has a fun restaurant where diners can view the fish and enjoy tasty dishes in a colorful, sea-themed dining room. Tickets are $14.95 for adults, $13.95 for seniors 65+, and $9.25 for children 3-11. Children two and under are free.
- Water World. Want to beat the summer heat? Live like the locals and head to Water World. Just north of Denver, this 64-acre park has everything from gentle rivers to wet and wacky water rides. Wally World is an area just for little ones, with tot-sized slides and gentle water features. Thrill seekers will like the Zoomerang and the Screamin' Mimi. Chances are, parents will like the Lazy River best. Tots under 40" are free. Children under 47" are $28.95. Those over 48" are $33.95 each.
You might want to also consider these fun family vacation ideas
Free things to do:
- Punt the Creek. Venice on the Creek is a unique way to sightsee in Denver. Similar to a gondola, the punts navigate the shallow Cherry Creek waterway through the city. It's a view of Denver that few ever see. The tour uses the only boat locks in Colorado. Tickets for kids start at $15, while adults start at $20.
- Play Ball! When you stand near Coors Field, you can almost feel the pulse of Denver. Home to the Colorado Rockies baseball team, this sparklingly clean sports venue harkens back to the baseball stadiums of yesteryear. It's a great place to soak in some Colorado sunshine and sample some local brews.
- Elitch Gardens. This historic theme park has been wowing Denver crowds since the 1890s. Perfect for children and teens who enjoy the thrill of coasters and other rides, Elitch Gardens is a satisfying family outing. Located right in downtown Denver, admission is $34.99 for kids and adults and $19.99 for kids less than 48", children three and under are free. Special discount pricing may be available online.
- The Horse on a Chair. This unique art piece, mammoth in size, sits in front of the Denver Public Library, a fun outing on its own. With exhibits, free Internet access and some beautiful artwork, the library is a nice two-hour stop.
- Tiny Town. Located in the hills on the outskirts of Denver, Tiny Town is just what the name says it is an entire miniature village. Kids will love the more than 100 handcrafted miniature houses, churches and other buildings. Visitors can ride the authentic steam engine around the village or explore on foot, peeking into the windows at the tiny furniture and toy people inside. Adults are $5.00, and children 2-12 $3.00. Infants are free. The train costs $1.00 per ride.
- Tiny Tokyo. Sukura Square is a unique Asian shopping area in Denver's historic LoDo District. The most interesting stop is the Pacific Mercantile Company. A city staple since 1944, the store sells everything from Hawaiian soda to Japanese dishware and other Asian food staples. Head to the candy section and let your little ones sample the brightly colored Japanese sweets. The store is located at 1925 Lawrence Street.
- Heritage Square. This Victorian-style attraction, about 20 minutes outside of Denver, is a kickback to yesteryear. The Music Hall Dinner Theater and Children's Theatre provide plenty of rip-roaring entertainment, while the alpine slide will whisk you down 490 feet of the mountain at breathtaking speeds. The "Fish 'n Farm at Heritage Square" has go-karts, bumper and paddleboats, miniature golf, ponies, and fishing. Pricing varies according to attraction.
- Washington Park. This local favorite is Denver's playground. With two lakes, bike paths, flower gardens, and lots of shaded grass to play in, your little ones are sure to get some wiggles. Rent a paddleboat and explore the park on water.
- Colorado State Capital. Take in a free tour of the grandiose building where Colorado's future is decided. Be sure to stop at the three Mile High Markers (the one on the steps is a favorite photo stop), and check out the Allen True Water Murals.
- Watch River Kayakers. Kayakers can always be seen braving the rapids at Confluence Park, where the South Platte River and Cherry Creek meet. The park is a great place to sunbathe and enjoy views of downtown. During the summer, Confluence Park is home to a free concert series--every Thursday evening around dusk.
- Lake Views. Sloan's Lake Park is located in one of Denver's up-and-coming neighborhoods, the Highlands. The lake, with its stunning view of the Denver skyline, is one of the most photographed locations in Denver. The park hosts the annual Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, an Asian-American celebration where dragon boats race across the lake, as well as the Latino Rhythms Festival, which are both held every July.
- Free Art Tours. Art lovers will get a kick out of Denver's free public art tours. Offered by the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, the tours show visitors some of the city's most popular art pieces, from the "Big Blue Bear" to beautiful pieces in the Colorado Convention Center. Check online for more details and dates.