The United States is full of great cities to explore. We recently spent a week in Denver, and had a chance to check out some fun family friendly Denver experiences while we were there.
My husband is a Colorado native, and he had a great time taking us around the state of Colorado and showing us all his favorite spots from his childhood. By far our favorite city to visit was Denver. For a city gal like me, it has all the things that I love about a city: culture, outdoors, and plenty of activities for little ones. Our kiddos loved all the family friendly Denver experiences we discovered while we were there, and we loved being able to spend quality time with them while visiting Denver.
The capital city of the state of Colorado, Denver was first established in 1858. Since then, it has grown from a small mining town into a bustling metropolis, with a population of approximately 700,000 people! As I mentioned, the city has a variety of family friendly Denver experiences for visitors to explore, including a bustling downtown, world class museums, and the amazing Rocky Mountain National Park a few hours away.
We spent almost a week in Denver, visiting with friends and family, and taking in the sights. If you’re planning a visit to the “Mile High City,” here are our favorite family friendly Denver experiences that you won’t want to miss.
Wings Over the Rockies
Budding pilots in your family will love visiting Wings Over the Rockies. In terms of family friendly Denver experiences, this museum has several things that will entice little ones, including space exhibits and a simulator of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s plane. The museum has planes dating back to before World War I, and you can even go into the cockpits of a few old commercial planes too. The museum is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10am to 5pm, and Sundays from 12pm to 5pm. Tickets are $15 for adults (aged 17-64) and $8.50 for kids (aged 4-16).
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
One of our favorite family friend Denver experiences was visiting the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. You could easily spend a whole day at the museum and not see every exhibit. There was just so much to see! This museum has it all: science, puzzles, space, history, geology. The museum also has a planetarium, where we caught an interesting show about the universe, and an IMAX theater, where we saw a cute movie about pandas. Museum hours are 9am to 5pm daily. Tickets are $16.95 for adults (aged 19-64) and $11.95 for kids (aged 3-18). Planetarium tickets are an additional $4-$5, and IMAX tickets are an additional $6-$7.
Molly Brown House
One of Denver’s most well-known historical figures is Molly Brown, a survivor of the ill-fated Titanic, and a huge benefactor to the city of Denver. Her home, located in the historic district is open to visitors, and for families interested in historical family friendly Denver experiences, it’s worth a tour. Built in the 1800’s, the house is full of original artifacts from the Brown family, as well as curated artifacts from the Victorian era. It’s an interesting glimpse into a time period that was both decadent and conservative. The Molly Brown House is open for tours Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10:30am to 3:30 pm, and Sundays from 12pm to 3:30pm. Tickets are $12 for adults (aged 19-64) and $8 for kids (aged 6-18).
16th Street Mall
We’re not into shopping, but we do enjoy going to commercial districts from time to time when we visit new cities. For some interesting family friendly Denver experiences, head over to the 16th Street Mall, a mile-long pedestrian promenade in downtown Denver. There, you can find shops, restaurants, and unique street performers. We happened to be there during an anime convention that was happening downtown, so we saw all sorts of people dressed up in costumes. We even saw some street magicians performing! The 16th Street Mall is free and open to the public all day.
Civic Center Park
The city of Denver has several parks where you can enjoy family friendly Denver experiences for free. We especially enjoyed visiting Civic Center Park, because it was so close to downtown, and also because we could catch glimpses of the Colorado Capitol Building. The park is free and open to the public all day. The Colorado Capitol Building is open to the public Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 5pm, and is free to tour.
The Brown Palace Hotel
The Brown Palace Hotel in Denver is one of the city’s fanciest hotels, and for those looking for luxurious family friendly Denver experiences, it’s available for lodging and dining. I love visiting fancy hotels, but I don’t always enjoy paying expensive prices to stay at a fancy hotel. Fortunately, you can also take tours of The Brown Palace Hotel. Public tours are offered on Wednesdays at 3pm and Saturdays at 11:30am. Tickets cost $15 per person, and require a minimum of four people. Reservations should be made online through their website. You can also schedule a private tour for a flat fee of $60 for one to four people.
There are several excursions you can take to expand your family friendly Denver experiences. We loved heading out to the famous Red Rocks, which is a popular concert venue, as well as a park with hikes and trails. Red Rocks is located near the town of Morrison, about twenty minutes away from Denver. We took our kids to see a Jason Mraz concert while we were there, but you can also just visit the area during the day and check out some of the nearby trails.
If you’re willing to go a bit farther for your family friendly Denver experiences, take a trek out to Estes Park, just an hour and a half drive from Denver. Estes Park is where the Stanley Hotel is located, made famous by Stephen King’s book, The Shining. We were tempted to book a night at the Stanley (who wouldn’t want to stay at a haunted hotel?) but opted to take the tour instead. Tours run all day, every day, and range from $10-$28 dollars depending on your age and the type of tour you’re taking. You can do a historic tour ($17-$23), a family friendly tour ($10-$15), or a haunted tour, for those brave enough to try it ($28).
Rocky Mountain National Park
We love experiencing the outdoors, and fortunately for us, there were plenty of family friendly Denver experiences that we involved the outdoors. About an hour and forty-five minutes outside of Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park is the perfect outdoor getaway for visitors to Denver. We took a day trip out there, and drove along highway 34 through the park, climbing up to more than 12,000 feet above sea level! It was so fun for the kids to see an alpine tundra, and we even saw several animals while we were driving through the park, including bighorn sheep, elk, and deer. The park is open year round, and entrance fees are $25 per vehicle for a 1-day pass.
Like any big city, Denver is full of interesting places to explore, both within the city and outside of the city. We loved seeing what Denver had to offer, and these fun family friendly Denver experiences were just what we needed to make our visit memorable.
Have you been to Denver? What are some things that you experienced there with your family?
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