I hope you’re enjoying our “See the USA” series. Hopefully you caught the best of Columbus, Ohio last week and Boston the week before. We’re continuing on alphabetically with letter D and Denver. I’m thrilled to have Diana from Traveling in Heels sharing the top 5 family friendly things to do in Denver because I learned a lot about this beautiful city and hopefully you will too!
Denver, Colorado is a year-round, family vacation destination that about guarantees blue skies for your vacation. The Mile High City (due to its 5,280 feet above sea level) celebrates its strong Western heritage at Denver International Airport with a “howdy” from cowboy-hat wearing ambassadors, but Denver is no Cowtown. Its high-tech economy blends with an upscale, trendy feel while accenting its Western roots and love for the outdoors. You’ll find more to do in here than you have time, but start with these top 5 family friendly things to do in Denver for kids of all ages.
Top 5 Family Friendly Things to do in Denver
You’ll be surprised how fun downtown Denver is for families. A good place to start exploring is on the 16th Street Mall, Denver’s mile-long, pedestrian walkway spanning several city blocks. Hop on and hop off the free electric shuttle buses that travel up and down the Mall, stopping on every corner. People watch, browse dozens of shops, restaurants, cafes and entertainment venues. And go ahead, sit down and play one of the 10 brightly painted pianos. On display each year from May to September, the pianos repainted each year by local artists of all ages including students from Denver public schools.
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about the state’s history at gold-domed Colorado State Capitol. Take the stairs to the “One Mile Above Sea Level” step. From beautiful stained glass windows to Presidential portraits, the free guided tour (Monday through Friday) takes family on an historic journey from early statehood to today. Visitors are welcome to watch legislative proceedings from the public galleries on the 3rd floor.
Located just 5 minutes from downtown on 80 acres within Denver’s historic City Park, the Denver Zoo is one of the most popular zoos in America with more than 2 million annual visitors. The zoo is home to more than 4,000 animal residents, representing more than 685 species, including 188 of the world’s most exotic animals including Asian elephants, African lions, Komodo dragons and Western lowland gorillas. See how the animals live in the wild with the Denver Zoo’s natural habitats, including the Toyota Elephant Passage, Giraffe Encounter, Predator Ridge, Northern Shores, Tropical Discovery, Primate Panorama, and more.
LOCAL TIP: After a morning at the Denver Zoo, take a picnic break for lunch at City Park. Pick up a lunch at the Denver Zoo’s many restaurants, or pack a cooler before heading out for your family adventure. Denver’s City Park offers dozens of trees for shades, perfect for your family picnic with the added features of biking paths and playgrounds. You can even enjoy a leisurely paddle boat ride on the lake.
One of my family’s favorite cultural experiences is at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, also located in City Park. The interactive museum is built for curious kids and includes popular permanent exhibits: Discovery Zone, Expedition Health, Gems and Minerals, Prehistoric Journey, and Space Odyssey. Step into the unknown world of space during a current show, at Gates Planetarium experience an adventure by watching an IMAX film. No matter how many times we visit we discover something new, as the museum features rotating exhibits, like Robot Revolution.
Return to downtown Denver and take the family out to the ball game to cheer the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The 76-acre, nostalgic-designed Coors Field stands at 20th and Blake Streets in Denver’s lower downtown/Ballpark Neighborhood. There’s more to baseball than the game. Be sure to arrive early to enjoy the Interactive Area, located behind Section 120. For older kids, video batting cage, pitching video game, speed gun to test your arm speed, and a home-run derby are available for a fee. Little ones can hit one out of the ballpark for free in a T-ball cage. And the best news is that Rockies baseball tickets are surprisingly affordable. Located behind center field, the Rockpile is a section of bleacher seats and $4 for adults and $1 for kids 12 and under.
Have you visited Denver? What’s your favorite thing to see or do in the city?
As a travel writer for 20 years, Denver-based freelance writer Diana Rowe has explored many local and international destinations with her multigenerational family. But home is where the heart is, and Denver is forever etched as one of Diana’s favorite destinations.