Colorado’s capital city is known for being a top family-friendly vacation destination, with plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy year-round. If you’re planning a trip and looking for fun things to do in Denver, our guide has you covered with interesting museums, lively theme parks and outdoor recreation.
Cost: $9 for adults; $7 for ages 2-12; free for kids under 2
Teach your child about fire safety inside this historic firehouse that dates back to 1909. Kids can get hands-on practice calling 9-1-1, learn fire safety behaviors and even dress up in firefighter gear. The museum also hosts camps and classes that teach kids fire safety concepts and behaviors so they are more knowledgeable and prepared in the event of an emergency.
Cost: $25 on weekdays or $29 on weekends for adults; $22 for ages 4-12
Video and flash photography encouraged! If your kid is always in search of the coolest selfie backdrop, then they’ll love spending time at this museum. Its gallery is full of fun themed sets and colorful art installations that make for the most scroll-stopping photos.
Spend the morning or afternoon enjoying your favorite outdoor activities at this riverside park in downtown Denver. Go for a swim in the shallow waters, cast a fishing rod into South Platte River or get on the water in a rented tube, kayak, inflatable raft or stand-up paddleboard. If your kids prefer to have fun on dry land, there is a skate park as well as miles of paths for walking, jogging and biking.
Cost: $49.99 for adults online; free for kids under 2
Whether your kids are looking to fly through the air on a thrill ride or want to take it slower on a tea cup or carousel, this amusement park in the heart of Denver will keep the little ones entertained for hours. Dodge long lines by going to the park on weekdays in the summer or any time during the shoulder season months of May, June and September. When you’re in need of a break from Elitch Gardens’ dozens of rides and water park attractions, you can take the kids shopping for sweets, indoors to the arcade or over to carnival-style games they can win a prize.
Cost for aquarium exhibit: $26.50 for adults ages 12-64; $19.99 for ages 3-11; free for kids under 2
Explore the rainforest, meander through the coral lagoon and journey into the desert all without leaving the Downtown Aquarium. A variety of habitats give visitors the opportunity to come face to face with eels, starfish, seahorses, large turtles, snakes and more. Kids can pet stingrays in the interactive touch tank. And, for those brave enough, there’s a shark cage experience that brings you under water for 20 minutes for a truly up-close view of sharks and other marine life.
Cost: $17 for ages 2-59; $15 for 1-year-olds; free for kids under 1
This interactive museum is the perfect place for kids to explore their interests, try out new activities and flex their creativity. In the Investigate area, kids are introduced to science through hands-on projects like rocket building, creating shimmering bubbles and experimenting with water. At the Imagine station, the little ones can jump into action at a firehouse, keep pets healthy at the veterinarian’s office and shop for groceries at the market. The Create section will have them roll up their sleeves to practice building, cooking and making art. End your visit in the Explore area, where active kids will get thoroughly worn out for nap time.
Cost: $22 for ages 16-64;$16 for ages 3-15; free for kids 2 and younger
Animal lovers will adore a trip to the Denver Zoo. With more than 3,600 animals to see, it’ll feel like you’re crossing continents as you move from habitat to habitat. Admire colorful flamingos, watch sloths hang lazily on tree limbs and gaze in awe at the mighty Komodo dragon. The zoo also offers exclusive encounters, where your group can go behind the scenes for a memorable experience like a giraffe feeding or a tour of the zoo’s animal hospital.
Cost for museum admission only: $22.95 for adults; $17.95 for youth; free for kids 2 and younger
Curious kids love digging into this museum’s collections, which includes Jurassic and Cretaceous dinosaur fossils, ancient artifacts from North America and a zoology collection with approximately 1.27 million specimens. If your kid is fascinated by outer space, save some time for a show at the planetarium and to have an adventure on the Pulseworks VR Transporter inside of the "Space Odyssey" exhibition, which is a virtual reality experience that immerses you in a whole different world. By the way, if you plan to go to the Denver Zoo, add this museum to your day’s itinerary, as they’re right next to each other in City Park.
Cost: $5 for adults; $4 for ages 2-12; free for kids 2 and younger
This miniature village dates back to 1915, when it began as a passion project by George Turner for his daughter. Turnerville, as he called it, became large enough in 1920 to open to the public. Today, there are more than 100 small buildings that make any kid — or adult — feel like a giant. Hop aboard the Tiny Town Railroad ($4 per person and free for kids under age 2 with an adult) for a 10-minute train ride that takes you to the far corners of the village. Visitors are free to bring in outside food to enjoy at picnic tables inside the park.
If you want to avoid the constant calls of, “Are we there yet,” then you’ll need to plan accordingly. Whether you’re exploring Denver as a local or are there on vacation, it’s always a good idea to bring small things that you know will calm or entertain your kids, like snacks, drinks, favorite toys, scavenger hunt printouts or a tablet. And when you’re traveling with kids, plan for the unexpected by giving yourself extra time to get to where you’re going.
You’ve got your fun-day itinerary planned out for the kids and all that’s left is to rent a car. Skip the hassle and headache of traditional car rental counters by using Avail car sharing. Our convenient neighborhood locations around Denver are self-service, so you can grab the keys for the car you booked and hit the road without ever waiting in line. Plus, your booking is protected by insurance from Allstate and includes 24/7 roadside assistance so you can take your kids on an adventure without burning a hole in your budget.