What to Do in Colorado: Family-Friendly Activities in Denver and Surrounding Areas

Colorado, with its stunning landscapes and vibrant cities, offers a perfect blend of urban and natural attractions for families. It’s why vacation homes in Denver are so popular. The state capital is known for its welcoming atmosphere and diverse range of activities that cater to all age groups. From educational museums and lush parks to thrilling outdoor adventures, Denver and its surrounding areas provide countless opportunities for family fun. This guide will help you discover the best family-friendly activities, ensuring your trip to Colorado is both memorable and enjoyable.

Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, Denver is an ideal destination for families seeking both excitement and relaxation. The city’s rich cultural scene, combined with easy access to some of the country’s most beautiful natural landscapes, makes it a perfect base for exploring Colorado’s treasures. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the top attractions and activities that are sure to delight family members of all ages.

Exploring Denver’s Attractions

Denver Zoo

A trip to Denver wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Denver Zoo. Home to over 3,000 animals representing more than 400 species, the zoo offers a fascinating and educational experience for children and adults alike. From the majestic lions and playful primates to the exotic reptiles and colorful birds, there’s something to captivate everyone’s interest. The zoo also features interactive exhibits and daily animal shows, making it a fun and engaging destination for families.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

For a mix of education and entertainment, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a must-visit. The museum boasts an array of exhibits that cover various fields of science, including paleontology, space exploration, and anthropology. Kids will love the hands-on exhibits, the planetarium, and the IMAX theater, which offers awe-inspiring documentaries. The museum’s interactive approach ensures that learning is both fun and impactful, providing a memorable experience for the entire family.

Children’s Museum of Denver

The Children’s Museum of Denver is designed specifically for young explorers. With a wide range of interactive exhibits that encourage creativity and learning, this museum is a fantastic place for kids to play and discover. From the Joy Park outdoor adventure zone to the Teaching Kitchen and the Assembly Plant, each exhibit is crafted to spark curiosity and imagination. The museum’s focus on hands-on learning makes it an ideal destination for families with young children.

Outdoor Adventures

City Park and Washington Park

Denver’s parks are perfect for family outings, offering ample space for picnics, play, and relaxation. City Park, one of the largest urban parks in Denver, features beautiful lakes, walking paths, and playgrounds. It’s also home to the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, making it a convenient spot for a full day of family fun. Washington Park, another popular destination, boasts expansive lawns, flower gardens, and sports facilities. Families can enjoy paddle boating on Smith Lake or simply relax and enjoy the scenic beauty.

Hiking Trails Suitable for Families

Colorado is renowned for its hiking trails, many of which are suitable for families. Near Denver, you’ll find numerous trails that offer stunning views without being too strenuous. The Alderfer/Three Sisters Park in Evergreen is a great option, featuring several easy-to-moderate trails that wind through pine forests and meadows. Another family-friendly trail is the Lair o’ the Bear Park near Morrison, which follows Bear Creek and provides plenty of opportunities for wildlife spotting and picnicking.

ATV/UTV Adventures

For families seeking a bit more thrill, ATV tours in Denver, Colorado offer an exhilarating way to explore the great outdoors. Numerous rental companies in and around Denver provide all the necessary equipment and safety gear, ensuring a fun and safe adventure for everyone. Popular trails include the Rampart Range near Colorado Springs and the Bunce School Road near Boulder. These trails vary in difficulty, so families can choose one that suits their comfort level.

Safety is paramount when going for an ATV/UTV adventure. Always ensure that everyone is wearing appropriate safety gear, including helmets and protective clothing. It’s also important to follow trail guidelines and respect the natural environment. Many companies offer guided tours, which can be a great option for families new to off-roading, providing expert guidance and ensuring a safe, enjoyable experience.

Educational and Cultural Experiences

Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is a fantastic place for families to explore creativity and culture. The museum’s extensive collection includes works from around the world, with interactive exhibits designed to engage young visitors. The Just for Fun Family Center and the Discovery Library offer hands-on activities that encourage children to create their own art and learn about different cultures. The museum’s family-friendly programs and workshops make it an enriching experience for all ages.

History Colorado Center

For a journey through Colorado’s past, the History Colorado Center offers engaging exhibits that bring the state’s history to life. The museum features interactive displays that allow visitors to experience life in Colorado throughout different periods. From a replica of an 1880s adobe house to a virtual ski jump, the exhibits are both educational and entertaining. The museum’s focus on storytelling makes it an engaging destination for families interested in learning about Colorado’s rich heritage.

Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens provide a peaceful and educational outing for families. The gardens showcase a diverse range of plant species, with themed gardens that represent different regions and ecosystems. The Mordecai Children’s Garden is specifically designed for younger visitors, offering hands-on activities and interactive exhibits. Families can explore the various gardens, enjoy a picnic, and participate in seasonal events and workshops.

Fun and Entertainment

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park

Elitch Gardens is a premier destination for family fun in Denver. This amusement park offers a wide variety of rides and attractions, from thrilling roller coasters to gentler rides suitable for young children. The water park section provides a perfect way to cool off on hot summer days, with numerous water slides, wave pools, and splash zones. The park’s combination of rides, games, and entertainment ensures a fun-filled day for the entire family.

Downtown Aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium in Denver offers an underwater adventure that’s both educational and entertaining. The aquarium features a variety of exhibits showcasing marine life from around the world, including sharks, rays, and colorful tropical fish. Interactive exhibits like the touch tanks allow children to get up close with sea creatures. The aquarium also offers a unique dining experience, with a restaurant surrounded by a 150,000-gallon aquarium filled with fish.

Denver Skate Park

For families with older children, the Denver Skate Park provides a great place to practice skateboarding and BMX biking. The park features a variety of ramps, bowls, and rails suitable for all skill levels. It’s a popular spot for local skaters and offers a fun, active way for kids to spend their time. The park’s central location and vibrant community make it a great addition to any family itinerary.

Day Trips and Surrounding Areas

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

A short drive from Denver, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is a must-visit for families. Known for its stunning natural rock formations and world-class concert venue, the park offers numerous hiking trails and picnic spots. The Trading Post Trail is particularly family-friendly, offering a 1.4-mile loop with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Visiting Red Rocks is a great way to experience Colorado’s natural beauty and enjoy some outdoor exercise.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of Colorado’s crown jewels, offering a vast expanse of wilderness to explore. The park features over 350 miles of hiking trails, many of which are suitable for families. The Bear Lake Trailhead is a popular starting point, offering easy access to several scenic trails. Families can enjoy wildlife watching, picnicking, and exploring the park’s visitor centers, which provide educational exhibits about the park’s natural history.

Georgetown Loop Railroad

For a unique and historic experience, the Georgetown Loop Railroad offers a scenic train ride through the Rocky Mountains. The narrow-gauge railroad winds its way through breathtaking mountain scenery, offering a glimpse into Colorado’s mining history. The train ride is suitable for all ages and provides a fun and relaxing way to explore the area. The railroad also offers seasonal events, such as holiday-themed rides, adding to the experience.

Final Thoughts on Family-Friendly Activities in Colorado

Colorado, and particularly Denver, offers a wealth of family-friendly activities that cater to a wide range of interests and ages. From the educational and cultural attractions of the city to the thrilling outdoor adventures in the surrounding areas, there’s something for every family to enjoy. Whether you’re exploring the interactive exhibits at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, embarking on an ATV/UTV adventure, or simply enjoying a picnic in one of Denver’s beautiful parks, you’re sure to create lasting memories.

The diverse range of activities ensures that every family member will find something to love about Colorado. The state’s natural beauty, combined with the vibrant cultural scene of Denver, makes it an ideal destination for family vacations. As you plan your trip, be sure to include a mix of educational, cultural, and outdoor activities to fully experience all that Colorado has to offer. Enjoy your adventure in this incredible state, and make the most of the family-friendly attractions that await you.

Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!

I use HeyMondo. You get INSTANT quotes. Super cheap, they actually pay out, AND they cover almost everywhere, where most insurance companies don't (even places like Central African Republic etc!). You can sign-up here. PS You even get 5% off if you use MY LINK! You can even sign up if you're already overseas and traveling, pretty cool.

Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!

Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on johnny@onestep4ward.com. In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.

Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $699 - email johnny@onestep4ward.com to get started.

Do you work remotely? Are you a digital nomad/blogger etc? You need to be insured too.

I use SafetyWing for my digital nomad insurance. It covers me while I live overseas. It's just $10 a week, and it's amazing! No upfront fees, you just pay week by week, and you can sign up just for a week if you want, then switch it off and on whenever. You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here!


So if you’re ready to…..

1) Change your life
2) Travel the world
3) Get paid to travel
4) Create a positive influence on others
5) Be free of offices and ‘real world’ rubbish

Then Sign Up Below and Let’s Get Started!

Follow me on Instagram @onestep4ward