With 300 days of sunshine annually, Denver, Colorado is a year-round, family vacation destination that about guarantees blue skies for your vacation. Here you’ll find many affordable family friendly things to do in Denver. Shake out your map and you can find things to do in Denver for kids of all ages. Start with a downtown Denver, kid-friendly hotel that is just plain fun, The Curtis Hotel. While you check in, give the kids a quarter to spend at the 5 & Dime store or check out the travel games library for in-room entertainment. Then be prepared for giggles as each floor is a themed pop culture experience.
The Curtis Hotel is located in the Theater District of downtown Denver and two blocks from the pedestrian 16th Street Mall. Pick a direction for walkable access to dining. Choose from comfort food at Burger King or McDonalds; sit down breakfast at Annie’s Café or Dixon’s, or grab and go at The Market. Other options include the on-site Corner Office, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., The Old Spaghetti Factory, or Armando’s Ristorante Pizzeria
The Curtis Hotel is within 5 miles of the following family friendly Denver attractions:
A Day at City Park
Pick up sandwiches at one of many delis close to your hotel for a picnic lunch at City Park Denver where you’ll also find playgrounds, lakes for padding and summer concerts.
Or drive directly to the Denver Zoo, located just 5 minutes from downtown on 80 acres within Denver’s historic City Park. Choose from several casual restaurants at the Denver Zoo, the fourth most popular zoo in America (1.6 million annual visitors) and has the 7th most diverse animal collection. The zoo has 3,500 animals, representing more than 685 species, including 157 that are classified as threatened or endangered. My favorite exhibits are: rhinoceros (Mshindi, the world’s only rhinoceros that paints with a brush); the sea lion show; the monkeys and the elephants. In the winter, the Zoo Lights is a fun holiday light safari.
Wrap up your day wandering the exhibits of the adjacent Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The interactive museum is built for inquisitive kids. At the museum, explore fossils and dinosaurs – oh my!, the unknown world of space at Gates Planetarium, Egyptian mummies, the mysteries of the human body (Expedition Health), and many other hands-on exhibits.
Play Mile High Ball
Take the family out to the ballgame. If you’re not totally exhausted, an afternoon or evening cheering on the Colorado Rockies is a perfect end to the day. Coors Field – Colorado Rockies Stadium also offers a kid-friendly area and batting cages to keep the family busy.
BONUS: A Colorado Rockies baseball game is affordable – ROCKPILE seats costs $4 for adults and $1 for kids 12 and under. Denver’s other professional teams often offer special family packages too!
Day Two: Explore Platte River Valley
Sleep in, have a relaxing breakfast before driving the few miles to the Platte River Valley, in the heart of downtown.
The Children’s Museum of Denver, welcomes infants, toddlers and preschoolers to test themed educational sections. Your kids can become a shopper, cashier or shopkeeper at the Community Market. Or become a “firekid” at a fire station, wear a fireman’s hat, sound the siren, while learning about safety. The museum caters to ages newborn to 8.
The Denver – Downtown Aquarium, just a short walk away, is an entertainment and dining facility operated by Landry’s Restaurants. The focal point is the public aquarium boasting more than a million gallons of underwater exhibits that highlight fascinating ecosystems around the world. With more than 500 species of animals, including the interactive Stingray Reef touch tank. Time your visit on Tiger Tuesdays to watch Tiger trainer Heran complete a training session at 2pm.
Other options are Elitch Gardens Theme Park or hitch a historic ride on the Platte River Trolley. If you have time, find the REI flagship store, your complete outdoor resource, located in the Denver Tramway Power Company building. This REI includes interactive features such as a 45-foot climbing wall.
Break up the day or finish it up by dining at the Downtown Aquariums two dining options: the Aquarium Restaurant (at the Downtown Aquarium) or be seated around the 50,000 gallon aquarium at Dive Lounge.
Your two-day Denver family adventure will begin and end with Mile High family fun, but you’ll discover two days isn’t enough.