Family Friendly Denver: 11 Must-See Sites

Denver, the vibrant capital of Colorado, offers a plethora of family-friendly activities that cater to all ages and interests. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone in the Mile High City and its surrounding areas. Whether you’re a local or a visitor planning a family vacation, here are some of the best things to do in Denver.

1. Denver Zoo

Embark on a wild adventure at the Denver Zoo, home to over 3,500 animals representing more than 550 species. Kids and adults alike will delight in seeing majestic elephants, playful primates, and exotic birds up close. Don’t miss the chance to feed giraffes or ride the zoo’s iconic carousel. With interactive exhibits like the scavenger hunt app, the zoo offers a fun and educational experience for the whole family.

2. Museum of Nature & Science

Ignite your curiosity at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, where science comes to life through hands-on exhibits. Explore prehistoric fossils, marvel at dazzling gems and minerals, and journey through space in the planetarium. With rotating exhibitions and interactive displays, the museum inspires a love of learning in visitors of all ages.

3. Botanic Gardens

Escape the city buzz and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Wander through enchanting gardens featuring diverse plant collections, serene water features, and stunning seasonal displays. Kids will love the Mordecai Children’s Garden, where they can play, explore, and learn about the natural world in an interactive setting.

This is a great, calming locale open year-round. Plan to spend 2-3 hours here.

Denver’s Botanic Gardens are another must-see in the winter. There is still plenty to see despite the cold weather, and it’s pleasant for an afternoon walk after lunch. The gardens are home to a conservatory, Japanese Gardens, and dozens of other exhibits. Adults and kids will love works by the famous glass blower Chihuly. My personal favorite is the tropical greenhouse with huge humidity-friendly plants. Admission is $15 for adults, $11.50 for seniors and $11 for children.

Between late November and early January there’s also the Blossom of Light signature event. Tickets are $21 for adults and free for children aged 2 and under. They sell out fast, so plan ahead.

The gardens are open every day from 9am to 4pm.

4. Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

Discover the natural beauty of Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, just a short drive from Denver. Hike among towering red sandstone rock formations and take in panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Explore the Visitor Center to learn about the area’s geological and musical history. During the summer months, catch a concert under the stars for a truly unforgettable experience.

The best time to go is morning, as the park will often close early to mid-afternoon for concert setup.

This is a great place to bring a packed lunch and follow up with #5 on our list.

Dinosaur Ridge great for kids and adults
Dinosaur Ridge Main Track Site

5. Dinosaur Ridge

Dinosaur Ridge holds a special appeal to families visiting Colorado due to its unique combination of natural beauty and geological significance. Located minutes from Red Rocks, this world-renowned site offers families an immersive journey through time. Here you can walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs that roamed the area millions of years ago. The ridge boasts an impressive array of fossilized dinosaur tracks and other prehistoric remnants. An area that is an educational and awe-inspiring experience for visitors of all ages.

Dinosaur Ridge offers numerous family-friendly activities such as guided tours and hiking trails that wind through breathtaking scenery. Families can enjoy the fresh mountain air and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. With its blend of adventure, education, and natural wonder, Dinosaur Ridge stands as a must-visit destination for families during their time in Colorado.

Want to stay budget-friendly? Good news: Dinosaur ridge is completely free. If you choose not to partake in a tour, you can simply street-park and walk the ridge yourself. This is an uphill climb with the entire trek totaling 1-2 miles from beginning to end. While there are restrooms at the parking lot, there is no shade, and no water stations on the trail. Plan for your pets and family accordingly.

Did you know?
The original caretakers of the lands we now call Jefferson County Open Space Parks include the Tabeguache and Moghwachi bands of the Ute Nation, the Arapaho and Cheyenne Tribes, and other Indigenous Peoples. Their knowledge, resilience, and cultural and spiritual ties to these lands inspire us to continue their legacy by practicing informed stewardship, providing equitable access, teaching sound outdoor ethics, and treating nature and humanity with respect.

6. Epic Sky Trek

A giant playground for kids and adults? Sign us up.

Embark on an exhilarating adventure at the Epic Sky Trek aerial obstacle course, conveniently located just south of Denver. This thrilling experience invites you to test your strength, and agility as you navigate through 120 aerial obstacles. This all while soaring up to 50 feet (15 meters) above the ground. Before your journey, secure your admission for stress-free access upon arrival, ensuring a full day of excitement and exploration. With a smart belay system and harnesses in place, safety is paramount, allowing everyone to enjoy the course at their own pace. Don’t miss the chance to experience one of the country’s largest aerial obstacle courses. Book your tickets in advance and prepare for an unforgettable day of adventure at Epic Sky Trek. For more information, visit: The EDGE: Epic Sky Trek

Guided tour of Rocky Mountain National Park

7. Rocky Mountain National Park

Venture outside of Denver and into the breathtaking wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park. Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails to discover alpine lakes, cascading waterfalls, and majestic mountain peaks. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including elk, deer, and bighorn sheep, as you explore this pristine natural playground. Whether you’re embarking on a scenic drive or camping under the stars, Rocky Mountain National Park offers endless opportunities for family adventure.

Consider taking a guided tour of the area that allows you to sit back and relax and forget about planning for a day.

Meow Wolf, a must for all ages in Denver

8. Meow Wolf Denver

Prepare to enter a realm of imagination and wonder at Meow Wolf Denver, an immersive art experience like no other. The blend of interactive art, storytelling, and exploration invites visitors to step into fantastical worlds. All filled with hidden passages, mysterious objects, and mind-bending illusions. From neon-lit landscapes to surreal sculptures, every corner sparks creativity and curiosity. An ideal destination for families seeking adventure and inspiration.

Pro tip: There are noises and flashing lights. So plan to bring accommodations if you or a family member gets overstimulated easily.

Family friendly Denver, the butterfly pavilion

9. Butterfly Pavilion

Delight in the delicate beauty of nature at the Butterfly Pavilion, located just outside of Denver in Westminster. Step into a tropical paradise filled with thousands of fluttering butterflies from around the world. Observe butterflies up close in the indoor conservatory, and learn about the fascinating life cycle of these enchanting insects. With interactive exhibits, educational programs, and hands-on activities, the Butterfly Pavilion offers a captivating experience for visitors of all ages.

10. Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus

Ignite your child’s imagination and curiosity at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. Designed specifically for young learners, this interactive museum features exhibits and activities that encourage creativity and play. From a mini cityscape where kids can role-play in different professions to hands-on science experiments and sensory experiences. The museum offers endless opportunities for learning and fun. With indoor and outdoor exhibits, including an outdoor adventure garden, the Children’s Museum of Denver is the perfect destination for families looking to spark curiosity.

City of Golden, family friendly activities

11. The City of Golden

Just a short drive from Denver lies the charming town of Golden, Colorado, offering a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Close enough for a Lyft ride, you can explore the rich history of the area. Try a Wild West Walking Tour for all ages, the Golden History Museum or Geology Museum. Then enjoy a walk along Clear Creek and grab lunch downtown.

With its rich history, stunning landscapes, and family-friendly attractions, Golden offers a wealth of experiences ensuring a memorable Colorado adventure.