Heading to Denver with kids? Lucky you! Here are my top ten spots you must hit…
1. Heritage Square is toddler amusement park with paddle boats, bumper cars, fair style food, candy shops and wooden toy shops and much more. Set up like an old west town, Heritage Square also hosts holiday events, so check out their schedule before you go!
2. Littleton History Museum. A ‘living’ farm with sheep, cows, mules, blacksmith, schoolhouse and more. Best of all, it’s free! Located 15 minutes from Downtown Denver this volunteer run museum feels like stepping back in time. Talk to the farm workers, schoolhouse teacher, blacksmith, homemakers to learn more about times of the past. Holiday events are held here through the year.
3. Red Rocks Amphitheater/National Park. Nestled in the foothills West of Denver, this concert venue sits within jutting red rocks. Known worldwide for its acoustic projection, visiting Red Rocks during off-concert times is fun, kids (and adults) can play on the stage, hike around the rocks, visit the visitors center and learn more about the area.
4. The Butterfly Pavilion. Get up close and personal with live bugs and butterflies. Walk into a huge atrium with free flying butterflies, or wander around the (not free crawling) creepy crawly exhibits. You can even hold Rosie the tarantula. Eeeek! (20 minutes north of Denver.)
5. Casa Bonita. A Mexican themed restaurant with cliff divers, puppet shows, arcade, all around kid craziness. Not the best food in town, but what it lacks in that department it makes up for in over the top entertainment and overall ‘fun’ stuff for kids of all ages.
6. Dinosaur Ridge. An outdoor museum where important dinosaur discoveries were made in the late 1800’s. See Stegosaurus bones, Iguanodon tracks and ripple marks preserved in this unique outdoor setting. Make sure to stop by the Visitor Center for a guided tour.
7. Downtown Denver Aquarium. The entertainment and dining complex features a public aquarium boasting more than a million gallons of underwater exhibits that highlight fascinating ecosystems around the world. The aquarium houses over 500 species of animals, including an interactive stingray reef touch tank where kids can feed stingrays. There are even tigers to be found (though you can not feed them!)
8. Mile High Flea Market. Your typical flea market, year round. It seems innocent enough, but the vastness of this market calls for a whole day of exploring and fun. Like a giant garage sale, the market also houses permanent vendors, fair foods and amusement rides.
9. Tiny Town. Literally a miniature town that kids can look at/play in, playground and train ride around the park, just 20 minutes outside of Denver into the beautiful mountains.
10. Pike’s Peak Cog Railway. For the train lovers, or for the scenic mountain view lovers, the worlds highest cog railway runs year-round. This is a whole-day trip, located a little over an hour south of Denver near Colorado Springs. The rail is about 4 miles, and takes 3+ hours. The beautiful views make it well worth it.