Dubbed one of the best places to live in the United States, Denver is full of entertaining attractions for people of all ages and walks of life. The Mile High City boasts stunning state parks
, intriguing museums
, wonderful zoos
, aquariums, and heart-pounding theme and amusement parks.
With so many kid- and parent-oriented activities to choose from, it’s no wonder that so many families are moving to Denver. From archery to water parks, here are eight family-friendly activities you won’t want to miss in this lively city.
1. City Park
Photo Courtesy of Visit Denver
At 330 acres, City Park
is Denver’s largest public park. It houses lakeside trails, horseshoes, picnic sites, the Denver Zoo, a planetarium, and more. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to exercise at exactly a mile high, you can walk the park’s Mile High Loop, which runs three miles at 5,280 feet, while taking in lovely views of Denver’s skyline, Denver architecture, and the Front Range Mountains.
In addition to having two lakes, Ferril Lake and Duck Lake, City Park also holds events throughout the year, including its weekly City Park Farmer’s Market
and seasonal outdoor City Park Jazz
concerts featuring not only live jazz but also mambo, brass, funk, Latin and more.
2. Denver Zoo
Photo Courtesy of Denver Life Magazine
Looking at homes for sale in Denver without a realtor
can make it seem like a jungle, but the real wildlife encounters happen at the Denver Zoo
. One of America’s most well-known zoos, Denver Zoo sits in City Park, spans 84 acres, and is home to over 3,000 animals representing 550 different species.
This zoo has several outstanding exhibits and interactive encounters. Sting Ray Cove allows visitors to safely touch and feed stingrays and sharks in a saltwater pool. The Toyota Elephant Passage offers families an intimate experience with massive elephants and rhinos, while Harmony Hills is an up-close-and-personal grizzly bear habitat.
Younger kiddos will also love riding the magical Endangered Species Carousel and Pioneer Train, which makes its way through a park full of live hippos. During the holidays, bring your family to Zoo Lights
—an enchanting event in which the zoo is decorated with festive twinkling lights.
3. Downtown Aquarium
Denver’s Downtown Aquarium
takes families on a marvelous underwater adventure. This state-of-the-art aquarium is home to more than 15,000 sea creatures and over 500 species.
Rainbowfish, green sea turtles, moray eels, and sea otters are just some of the many ocean-dwellers you will see here. The Shipwreck exhibit is a favorite among children—it features a replica of a sunken ship in a 400,000-gallon aquatic habitat. For the truly fearless and scuba certified, you can purchase tickets for “Dive With the Sharks
This experience will break shark stereotypes when you swim up-close-and-personal with sand tiger sharks, brown sharks, zebra sharks, barracudas, guitarfish, and sawfish! You can also “Swim With the Fish
” and snorkel along with amazing sea life.
If all that fishing around makes you hungry, there’s an on-site restaurant
where you can be seated around the 50,000-gallon centerpiece aquarium and dine as you watch over 100 species of tropical fish. If you run out of time to eat while there, have no fear. Food orders can be delivered from the aquarium restaurant, bringing a piece of the ocean into Denver homes.
4. Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
Photo Courtesy of Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
The museum has investigative areas in which children can experiment with water, test kinetic theories in a physics playground, and immerse themselves in bubbles
! There are over a dozen playrooms, including a fire station, veterinary office, and nature-themed zones resembling Denver’s great outdoors. The museum provides spaces for children to create too, such as cooking in the teaching kitchen
and painting in the art studio
The Children’s Museum of Denver also hosts various summer workshops
, such as gardening in Joy Park, casting plaster fossils in the Art Studio, and cooking your own pretzel with dipping sauce in the Teaching Kitchen. Tickets for these workshops include Museum admission.
5. Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Photo Courtesy of Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Step lightyears beyond your Denver property to uncover the wonders of the natural world at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
. This museum features experiential exhibits, the majestic Gates Planetarium
, and a magnificent 3D IMAX theater in Phipps Auditorium.
Children can investigate fossils, dinosaurs, gems, and minerals at the museum’s discovery exhibitions. Take an imaginary trip to the moon and learn about the solar system, black holes, and more at the planetarium. The 3D IMAX theater
shows awe-inspiring films about some of nature’s wildest places on a towering three-story high screen.
Another fun and quirky feature at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the scavenger hunts. For example, the “Find the Hidden Elves Scavenger Hunt
” gets the entire family working together to locate tiny hidden elves throughout the museum’s numerous exhibits.
6. Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
For the thrill-seekers in the family, head to Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
. This two-in-one park has a top-of-the-line amusement park and thrilling water rides.
The theme park portion of Elitch Gardens has a variety of exhilarating roller coasters and awesome kid’s rides. Try the heart-pounding, 17-story tall Star Flyer
, or lose your mind on the seven-story Brain Drain
if you dare. Or stay on the calmer side with the Sunflower Swings or Mouse House.
Open for the summer months, the water park
portion of Elitch Gardens has waterslides, rides, and cabanas to relax in. Family activities you won’t want to miss include the gigantic 22,000 square foot wave pool
, Splashdown raft ride, and chill lazy river.
Elitch Gardens also offers shopping, games and arcades, concerts, and dine-in movies. Families with season passes get unlimited visits so they can spend all summer shuffling back and forth between their Denver homes and one of the longest operating amusement parks in the U.S.
7. Water World
Open during the summer and occupying 70 acres, Water World
is one of the biggest water parks in the country. Water World has 52 attractions, including a water-themed fun house, two waves pools, several mudslides, and a multi-guest inflatable raft ride.
Daring water rides include rapid river tubes, a hydromagnetic water coaster, and high-speed body slides. A cutting-edge waterslide, Warp Speed
, is a personalized attraction in which riders are immersed in a space story and must use handheld buttons to destroy cosmic threats. For little ones, there are slower-paced rides and elaborate water play areas. The whole family will love meandering down the Lost River of the Pharaohs
together or racing down the Sunset Racer
Families need not go all the way back to their Denver homes if they need to rest and regroup. You can cool off from the heat at Water World under shaded cabanas and bungalows. The park has plenty of eateries and refreshing drinks to choose from too.
8. Archery Games
Up for a round of archery dodgeball? Don’t know what that is? It’s ok; take a break from looking at Denver houses and come to Archery Games
anyway—you may not want to leave. This family-friendly archery dodgeball arena is an epic way to take on new challenges in the most fun way possible.
“Archery dodgeball” is an action-packed game in which two teams face off against each other in a large paintball-style arena. The goal is to hit all of the opposing players with arrows so that they are eliminated, and your team wins the game. Not to fret, the “arrows” are made of foam to ensure player safety, and protective masks are required. There are eight different game styles that participants get to try out, and games are supervised by a trained referee. Additionally, players have the opportunity to test their skills in a practice area beforehand.
Archery Games also offers Nerf Wars! Held in the Dart Arena, guests can battle for up to an hour with dueling Nerf Blasters in an epic bid to defeat their opponents.
Denver real estate
There’s a reason why the demand for Denver homes has been so hot. If you’d like the expert guidance to successfully navigate the ultra-competitive world of Denver real estate, contact seasoned luxury real estate agent Jason Sirois
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