If you’re a family looking for a weekend filled with adventure, Denver makes for a fun and educational escape. Frequent, fast, affordable and nonstop flights from cities across the U.S. make it easier than ever to embark on a long weekend in the Mile High City. Here are six family adventures that you’ll want to enjoy during your visit to Denver, Colorado.
6 FUN THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WITH KIDS
1. Touch a lion’s teeth and laugh along with hyenas at the Denver Zoo.
More than 4,300+ animals call the Denver Zoo home. Set off on a Predator Ridge Adventure and you’ll have the chance to touch a lion’s teeth (yikes!) and laugh along with hyenas. At 2 pm, you can meet the zookeepers that take care of these predators and get a behind-the-scenes close-up look as they monitor the animals’ health and keep them engaged and active.
Head over to Bird World at 3:30 pm and you can see the penguins paddle their way to a hand-fed lunch. Or, register for an Up-Close Animal Encounter and you’ll get truly face-to-face with your favorite animals.
2. Greet the Dinos at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and follow their tracks along Dinosaur Ridge Trail.
If you have a dinosaur lover in the family, you’ll want to head to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, located adjacent to the zoo. Watch Allosaurus and Stegosaurus battle an 80-foot long Diplodocus and observe scientists as they study and prepare fossils at the Prehistoric Journey exhibit.
Then head to the Dinosaur Ridge Trail, about 30 minutes southwest of Denver, for an easy 1.5-mile hike that features over 300 authentic dinosaur tracks along the super scenic route. Take a moment here to explore the indoor Trek Through Time exhibit, where you’ll find beautiful, digitized dino-oriented murals and fossils.
3. Dine while watching Acapulco-style cliff divers and bite into a rattlesnake.
Two Denver restaurants offer families delicious food with a side of adventure. At 52,000 square feet and featuring everything from a 30-foot waterfall, arcade, scheduled gun fights and Acapulco-style cliff dives, Casa Bonita is likely the world’s wackiest Mexican restaurant.
But the most daring dining families will want to make a beeline to Denver’s oldest restaurant, the historic Buckhorn Exchange, where you’ll find tasty rattlesnake and indulgent Rocky Mountain oysters (hint: they don’t come from the sea) on the menu.
4. Eat pancakes with the choo-choos.
Snooze, located within Denver’s Union Station, offers decadent pancake flights. Think Blueberry Danish, Pineapple Upside Down, and Spiced Sweet Potato pancakes. Or, enjoy the superb selection of Eggs Benedict. Afterwards, check out the in-station Tattered Cover Bookstore, which offers a great selection of kid’s books.
5. Set off on a Wild West art trail at the Denver Art Museum.
Grab an On the Trail family backpack and spend a day “on the trail” through games and activities in the Western American Art gallery at the Denver Art Museum. Help the cowboy move his herd of cattle, dress him in his cowboy duds and even make a bandanna to take home. If your kids love creating art, stop at Creative Corners where you’ll find a gallery-related art-making activity. The museum is free for kids 18 and younger.
6. Stay in a Star Trek or Ghostbusters themed room.
Located in the center of downtown Denver, the Curtis hotel is a fun and affordable hotel with funky themed rooms that range from Ghostbusters to Star Trek. Don’t miss the warm, freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies available for free at the lobby’s front desk.
Or, find a relaxing retreat at Hilton Denver Inverness with award-winning restaurants, spa and golf just 30 minutes south of Denver.