This is a guest post from Theresa Jorgensen, a mother of 4 kids who lives outside of Denver, Colorado. Her website, SixSuitcaseTravel, helps larger families of 5 to 8 find accommodations in all 50 States, Canada, and Mexico.
On the front range of the majestic Rocky Mountains you’ll find beautiful Denver, the capital of Colorado.Sitting at 5280 feet above sea level, the Mile High City has 300 sunny days a year. Denver has over 200 outdoor parks so there is no shortage of outdoor activities. Every season is a good season to visit this great city. No matter when you visit, you’ll find plenty to do with your family.
Opened in 1896, the Denver Zoo has grown to over 80 acres. Nicely laid out on a relatively flat area, the zoo boasts over 3500 different animals. The first North American naturalistic animal habitat, Bear Mountain (opened in 1918) is the oldest exhibition.The newest, Predator Ridge, is sure to please any lion lover. Watch for scheduled feeding times, especially the sea lions and elephants.Plan on spending at least three hours here, more if your kiddos are little.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Be prepared to spend the whole day at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, there’s so much to see and do.Three levels containing dinosaurs, mummies, Native American Cultures, wildlife exhibits and more will keep you busy for hours. Also available is an IMAX theatre and Gates Planetarium. Don’t miss the Children’s Discovery Zone an interactive, hand-on educational area. The museum features limited time exhibits, so there’s always something new to see and explore. At the end of your visit, your little ones will be worn out.
Who doesn’t love a children’s museum? The Denver Children’s Museum has a dozen great hands-on activity areas. Exhibits include a toddler sized grocery store, real fire truck, kid-sized basketball court, finger painting, dress up, and more. Focusing on ages infant to eight, the museum is a sure kid pleaser. Open 7 days a week, we recommend visiting on Mondays which are school-group free.
There’s something magical about butterflies. The Butterfly Pavilion has over 1200 free flying butterflies in their tropical conservatory. The pavilion isn’t limited to butterflies, there are huge cockroaches, tarantulas, scorpions, giant centipedes and more. Butterfly releases are done twice a day. Newly emerged butterflies are transferred from the chrysalis viewing chamber into the tropical conservatory
Elitch Gardens Theme Park
Locatednear downtown Denver, Elitch Gardens Theme Park was first opened over 100 years ago. Today the amusement park has over 35 family and thrill rides. Elitch also has a water park, Island Kingdom Water Park with 11 attractions. See their schedule for special events and concerts. Check online, local grocery stores, and Pepsi cans for discount coupons. Fun for all ages.
Don’t have all day to take in an activity?These activities are fun and can be done in half a day. Hammond’s Candy Factory has a free factory tour. The Byers Evans House built in 1883 offers guided tours. The Molly Brown House is the historic house of The Unsinkable Molly Brown (think the Titanic).
Looking for a kid pleasing, unique dining experience? Try the White Fence Farm, enjoy the small animal farm, koi pond, and horse carriage rides before or after dinner. The Casa Bonita has one of a kind atmosphere although the food can be mediocre, but where else can you enjoy a meal while watching indoor cliff divers? Another great atmosphere restaurant is the Downtown Aquarium. Eat your dinner while enjoying the 150,000 gallon aquarium.
Whatever season you visit, you can catch a game with one of Denver’s many professional sports teams. Teams include the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, and Colorado Rapids. The Denver Nuggets offer special family packages which include tickets, pizza and drink. The Rockies have Rock Pile seats with tickets for kids $1 and adults $4
No matter what you decide to do, Denver is a great destination for a family vacation. Due to Denver’s high altitude and high desert climate, we highly recommend drinking plenty of water to prevent dehydration and headaches due to Altitude Sickness.
Ciao Bambino recommended family hotels Denver