14 Great Things to do on your Family Vacation in Denver

Looking to plan a Family Vacation in Denver? It may be a bit overwhelming deciding on the many things to do.

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We have lived in the Denver area for quite a while and gotten to try out lots of nearby attractions. From things the kids love to places we adults love too, here is a list of the best things to do in Denver with kids. Fill up your days visiting with all the fun Denver has to offer.

From FUN museums to taking in nature in the city, there are plenty of choices for entertainment and education alike.

Where to Stay on your Family Vacation in Denver

The top place to stay in Denver is at the Grand Hyatt. It’s not only rated highly, but it has a nice indoor pool, beautiful lobby, and a restaurant on-site.

As a bonus, it makes getting around Denver very easy. Take a short walk to many attractions, or take an even shorter walk to a light rail station that can get you all over the city.

The Grand Hyatt will make your family vacation in Denver comfortable and convenient.

pinnable image of the best things to do on a family vacation in Denver.  4 images: neon x's on a dark wall, kids looking at orbits made of lights, a cheetah at the zoo, fall foliage behind a lake

Budget-Friendly Tips

To save a bit of money, first, check out the many free things to do in Denver. Add a few in to keep on budget.

Next, grab a CityPass. If you are visiting a few of the attractions listed, a City Pass will be well worth the money. You’ll get access to 5 of the attractions listed in this post. You can purchase a 3, 4, or 5- attraction pass.

If you get the 5-attraction pass, just visiting the Museum of Nature and Science, Botanic Gardens, and Children’s Museum will pay it off. And you’ll still have 2 attractions left.

Denver CityPASS

What to do on your Family Vacation in Denver:

Here are quite a few options of things to do in Denver that the whole family will love. Mix and match as you please to fill your days with fun and entertainment.

1. Children’s Museum

2121 Children’s Museum Drive

An educational, but FUN way to learn. The Children’s Museum is best for those with young kids who love to explore in hands-on ways.

Try out the bubble room, experiment with water, save the day at the fire station, and enjoy many other exhibits that offer fun play.

If the weather is right, make sure to go outside to the Joy Park to experience mini versions of Colorado. Find the canyons and play on the sand dunes. You’ll also get a huge, unique playground to run around a little.

2. Downtown Aquarium

700 Water Street

This is a magical aquarium filled with all the sea life you expect at an aquarium. You’ll walk through a glass tunnel to get up close with sharks and even walk through a jungle area with a tiger.

At the end, make sure to stop at the restaurant with unique menu offerings and an atmosphere like no other!

a cheetah walking among dry grass and rock

3. Denver Zoo

2300 Steele Street

One of the classic and most fun family friendly activities in Denver is to visit the zoo.

Get a sample of wildlife all over the world as you walk through 84 acres of over 3,000 animals at the Denver Zoo. The lions are a grand exhibit that welcome you first. Then using a map or the app, you can make your way around to your desired location.

If you happen to be visiting during a free day, it won’t cost you a thing! (Just make sure to reserve in advance.)

4. Hammonds Candy Factory

5735 Washington Street

Founded in 1920, Hammond’s Candy has been a classic in Denver. They specialize in candies both sugar and chocolate, plus other confections.

This will be the sweetest thing you do on your family vacation in Denver. You can visit the factory (schedule ahead) for a free factory tour.

See the history of the company, area, and witness over 5,000 pounds of candy being made. Of course, you’ll be sent away with a sweet momento to remember the occasion.

5. Botanic Gardens

1007 York Street

My daughter loves finding flowers along trails, at parks, or really anywhere we go. So the Botanic Gardens make for a perfect outing for those who appreciate plants, colors, and a bit of fresh air.

The Botanic Gardens also offers free days, so if you’re lucky you won’t need to spend anything.

Kids will love the Mordecai Children’s Gardens where they can climb a mountain, trek across a swinging bridge, and get hands-on experiences to learn about different ecosystems.

kids exploring space and black holes

6. Denver Museum of Nature and Science

2001 Colorado Boulevard

I’m a little partial to this place. We’ve visited a few times when the kids were young and had a blast every time.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is another great hands-on place to learn in a way that is entertaining.

Discover gems and minerals, grasp a better understanding about space and the many questions that go along with it, and what we know about mummies through many scientific approaches.

The Museum is a great idea any time of year, but especially during a winter visit to Denver so you can all stay warm.

7. Molly Brown House

1340 Pennsylvania Street

Molly Brown is well-known locally as the woman who survived the sinking of the Titanic. But when you visit the Molly Brown House and Museum, you’ll realize she made great contributions to society both before and after.

If you have kids interested in history, or specifically the Titanic, this is a great place that is less visited than the other major attractions.

8. Wings Over the Rockies

7711 East Academy Boulevard

This Air and Space Museum is located where the former Lowry Air Force Base use to be.

Check out the FIRST (and ONLY at its time) hospital transport helicopter, a B-52 (which is still used today by the Air Force), an F-14 Tomcat (seen in the original Top Gun), and space vehicles.

lake with perfect reflection of fall colored trees along the shoreline

9. Washington Park

701 S Franklin Street

Known by locals as “Wash Park,” this area is beautiful to walk around. You can go back in time as you admire gardens that were designed as a replica as the ones at Mount Vernon in George Washington’s garden.

Visiting a park always makes for a great, free activity in Denver.

Walk around the lake, play some basketball, spend some time at the playground, or have a picnic.

You can also rent a pedal boat, kayak, or take out the Stand Up Paddle Board for a nice day on the lake.

Free things to do in Denver with kids US mint

10. Denver Mint

Take a free, guided tour of the Denver Mint. This is a truly unique thing to do on your family vacation in Denver, as there are only 6 mints in the country.

Of those 6, only 2 (Denver and Philadelphia) actually produce coins that go into circulation. So this is a fun experience you may not get elsewhere.

Tickets for tours are available as first-come first-served on the day you wish to tour. Advance tickets are not available. Must be 7 years old to participate.

11. Denver Center for the Performing Arts

14th Street and Curtis Street

If the kids like shows and entertainment, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts is a great place to check out a show.

The complex is made of 8 different theaters that perform year-round.

Enjoy a family-friendly performance to enhance your trip to Denver. While shows rotate, past shows have included Bluey’s Big Play, Shrek the Musical, Space Explorers, and Frozen the Musical.

Find your show

neon colored x-shaped lights on a black backdrop

12. Meow Wolf

1338 1st Street

Meow Wolfs are popping up around the country and receiving high marks for their creativity and entertainment.

Experience lights and visuals as you walk through. Meow Wolf is a vacation for the senses, combining unique art installations with visual enchancments. It’s one of the most popular immersive experiences taking over right now.

high up view of amuseument park with water area to the left

13. Elitch Gardens

2000 Elitch Circle

Elitches was once a Six Flags park, but now has been owned separately for almost 20 years. That said, it’s a rather large amusement park full of rides and coasters for all ages.

It also has a water park on site, live entertainment, and seasonal events that are family-friendly.

If you need a rush on your family vacation in Denver, stop at Elitch Gardens for a fun day out.

perspective through a telescope lense, a small piece of the moon with clear craters

Looking through one of the telescopes on the lawn

14. Chamberlain Observatory at DU

2930 E Warren Avenue

Stopping by the observatory on the DU campus is one of the lesser-known things to do that I think is really fun.

Public nights are on Tuesday and Thursday where you can look through a refractor to see the stars.

If you visit at the right time, you can attend a stargazing event held once a month. Start by going inside the observatory to look through the giant telescope. (I don’t know how to technically describe it. It was about 2 stories tall.)

Then, make your way to the lawn outside where the Denver Astronomical Society members have set up their telescopes. The members are friendly and more-than-happy to let you look through and help you find some great stars and planets.

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Family Vacation in Denver

Those are the most fun things to do when you take a family vacation in Denver. If you have more time, make sure to get out of the city for some of the great nature Colorado is known for or to explore other cities.

If you want to explore beyond Denver, check out some of the coolest weekend trips that aren’t terribly far from Denver.

But if you don’t have time to step away from the city, these family friendly activities in Denver will be plenty to fill your days. With so many options, Denver makes a great destination anytime of year. Stay warm indoors in the winter, and have indoor and outdoor options during spring break. It’s the perfect combo!

👉🏼 Don’t Forget to Grab the CityPass!

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pinnable image of the best things to do on a family vacation in Denver. 4 images: neon x's on a dark wall, kids looking at orbits made of lights, a cheetah at the zoo, fall foliage behind a lake

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