Family Vacation to Denver [Fun Things to Do in Denver & Kid-Friendly Places to Stay]
Looking for a unique family vacation that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Colorado is less than an 8-hour drive from KC, but filled with kid-friendly activities! And we’ve gathered the scoop on things to do in Denver, especially with kiddos.
Whether you’re heading to Denver for skiing and snowboarding or just need to get out of Kansas City, there are tons of fun things to do in Denver…
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We’ve gathered everything you need for a family vacation – things to do and places to stay. All you have to do is find a date that works for your family!
If you need something a little bit closer, check out these places:
- Cabins Near KC
- Day Trips & Weekend Getaways (3 hours-ish away)
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Fun Things to Do in Denver:
While Denver has so much to offer, these are some of our favorites!
This outdoor attraction has Jurassic Park dinosaur bones, as well as other real dinosaur bones! If your kids are into dinosaurs, this is a cool place to visit. It was the place of the first Stegosaurus discovery!
You can also walk along various trails that feature REAL dinosaur tracks! There are 250 tracks at Dinosaur Ridge, which is why it’s ranked the top track site by paleontologists…
Denver Children’s Museum
Families can play for free the first Tuesday of each month from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Discover the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, where interactive playscapes, programs, and special events make learning fun by engaging kids to play, learn and explore. It’s a place that ignites and fosters a love of learning that children will carry with them throughout life.
Check out each exhibit as some are currently closed. Exhibits include:
- Joy Park
- Adventure Park
- Box Canyon
- Center for the Young Child
- Big Backyard
- Art Studio
- Teaching Kitchen
- Assembly Plant
- Water Investigation
- Bubbles Exhibit
- Book Nook
- Fire Station No. 1
- My Market
- Ready Vet Go
- Village of Healthy Smile
Explore the life of pioneers in Denver when you visit the Littleton Museum. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time, giving a break from the modern world!
There are kids’ activities at the children’s interactive gallery, 2 living history farm sites & tons to do. “The 1860s homestead farm and the 1890s turn-of-the-century urban farm represent how people lived and worked during the early years in Littleton and the South Platte Valle,” according to their website.
This is a giant park with two playgrounds, tennis courts, and historical monuments to explore. If you need a place for your kids to burn off some energy, this is the perfect place!
It is also home to the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and IMAX.
Located in City Park, it’s the perfect kid’s activity. There are 80 acres to explore and a huge variety of animals to visit! There are also many events and kids’ activities that you can participate in when you visit.
Explore under the sea at the Downtown Aquarium in Denver! There are a variety of fish and aquatic life, as well as mermaids! You can also ride the Aquarium Express with your kiddos or eat at a restaurant that gives the perfect view of the aquarium.
- Under the Sea
- In the Desert
- The Rainforest
- At the Wharf
- Coral Lagoon
- Sunken Temple
Museum of Contemporary Art
The museum exhibits are constantly changing, so even if you’ve visited the art museum before there are bound to be new things to see. Located in the heart of downtown Denver, it’s a quick stop no matter where you’re staying in Denver…
Relax and watch your kids have fun in the sand! Kids Dig is the largest indoor sandbox for kids in Denver. Sand toys are provided such as shovels, Tonka trucks, pails, and even more to get creative with. No reservations are required, find more info here!
Denver Botanical Gardens
There are 2 locations of the botanical gardens. The York Street location in Denver & the Chatfield Farms location in Littleton. If you’re looking for more ponds, sculptures & cityscape-type botanicals, check out the York St. location. The Chatfield location offers a corn maze, pumpkin patch & other farm fun during the Fall.
Visit 16th Street Mall
This lively street has shopping, restaurants, and other places to explore! If you’re looking to buy souvenirs from your trip, this is the best place to shop. There is also a movie theater if you’re looking for things to do indoors when the weather gets not-so-nice.
Meow Wolf is an arts production company that creates experiences that take audiences into fantastic realms. Their largest permanent installation is Convergence Station in Denver. This is an immersive experience that transports the audience into new dimensions of storytelling and creative exploration. Visit their website for more information and tickets.
You can ride the trolley around Denver and feel like you’re in an episode of Mr. Rodgers! This unique thing to do is something your kiddos will remember forever.
Visit Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater
While there aren’t tons of concerts happening right now, you can still visit this beautiful Denver attraction. It is a short drive from downtown Denver and offers great views of the city!
There are hiking trails that are great for kids. Your family can easily walk the trails without having to worry about what to do if your kids get tired. You can also explore:
- Visitor’s Center
- Colorado Music Hall of Fame
- Art & Exhibits
- Red Rocks Hall of Fame
Whether it’s snowing or the sun is shining, you can explore the Butterfly Pavilion! Its tropical environment is home to tons of butterflies. You can spend hours in here watching the butterflies fly around.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Learn about the earth, space, dinosaurs, animals & so much more! You can explore the digital planetarium, IMAX theater, science experiments, and tours. No matter what you’re interested in, there’s something for you here!
The museum is open every day of the week from 9 am to 5 pm, staying open till 9 pm on Fridays.
Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Feel free to walk around the museum and explore air and space on your own, or attend one of their events. These events are perfect for families!
Garden of the Gods
If you’re willing to drive a little further, Garden of the Gods is one of the best things to do in Colorado Springs.
Rent electric bikes and go on a bike tour of the gardens or you can drive and walk with your family! There is so much to see you probably will spend all day here…
Hammond’s Candy Factory Tour
This is the perfect free thing to do in Denver! You can tour the historic candy factory to learn how they make yummy candies (& maybe even try a few)!
Large screens allow you to get up close and personal with the candy-making experience. Kids can, “watch as their favorite treats are pulled, twisted, shaped and packaged by hand—just like they have been since 1920.”
Night Lights Denver
Check out the rotating light-up art exhibit on Daniels & Fisher Tower! It is lit up every day for approx. 30 minutes after the sun goes down.
Four Mile Historic Park & Museum
This is a pioneer museum where you can learn more about the history of Denver. You will go back in time to see how the oldest Denver residents live and get a cool view of Denver!
According to their site, “Step back in time and rediscover a historic oasis in the heart of the city with a tour of the beautiful Four Mile House Museum, Denver’s oldest standing structure.”
Where to Stay in Denver, Colorado:
Airbnbs make it easier for your entire family to stay together and provide a more homey experience. Here are some of the best places to stay in Colorado…in our opinion.
Urban Perfection, Historic Victorian, City Vibe
If you’re visiting Denver with another family or a lot of children, this place is a great option!
Built in 1893, this house is gushing with old-world charm yet modern conveniences that you will appreciate. With gorgeous crown molding, ten-foot ceilings, a fireplace, an Italian oak stairway, original leaded glass windows, skylights, and a fully equipped gourmet kitchen with stainless steel appliances, this one is a real gem.
Castle Rock with the Views
If you’re looking for places to stay with an incredible view, this is it.
Situated on one of the highest points in Castle Rock! If you enjoy gorgeous sunsets (who doesn’t??), epic mountain views with a secluded Colorado setting you will love this house on over 9 acres.
It feels like real Colorado scenery, yet grocery stores and even restaurants are an easy walk just across the street. Plus outdoor activities, as well as highway access are all within 2 miles.
Adorable Golden, CO Bungalow
Golden is one of our absolute favorite places to stay. There is so much to do and it’s all completely walkable. This uber-cute 1930s bungalow sleeps 4. With a gourmet kitchen and a peaceful deck in the back overlooking the Rocky Mountain Foothills, you will love every minute of this place.
Colorado Bear Creek Cabin
This is about a 45-minute drive from Denver, but you definitely feel the mountain-living vibes!
Located in beautiful Evergreen Colorado, this one is located within twenty feet of Bear Creek. This is an authentic Evergreen Colorado lodging experience. All three bedrooms have queen beds. The log home has a full kitchen equipped, a charcoal grill, AND a gas grill available for your choice of choking styles. How fun would be to pack up the kids and make a winter trek to enjoy this setting?!
Modern Townhouse in Cherry Creek
If you’re looking for a home to stay in Denver big enough for your whole family.
Enjoy your choice of outdoor spaces, including a wrap-around rooftop deck for panoramic mountain views, a private front deck, AND a private rear deck on the second level. Built green with sustainable building products, smart home with voice-controlled air and heat. The entire family will love the neighborhood and the ability to walk to amazing shopping and dining!!
If none of these places fit your family’s needs, there are TONS more options throughout the city.
We hope your family is able to visit Denver to explore all the city and mountains have to offer. There are some great options for affordable places to stay in Denver if your family is on a budget.
If you have other fun favorites in Denver, be sure to EMAIL us details.
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From our family to yours,