Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Blvd
Denver, CO 80205
The DMNS is one of our most underrated educational resources in the Denver area. It is an excellent museum and provides a wealth of interesting residential and traveling exhibits. It is one of those rare places where adults and children alike may learn, enjoy, and share. Among the many attractions are Expedition Health, Space Odyssey, Dinosaur Hall, and Body World. All offer excellent presentation, content and ease of viewing. The museum also hosts the second largest collection of dioramas in the country. They are simply magical and appeal to both parents and the kids. If you bring the little ones, don’t overlook the Discovery Zone. Mix in the availability of the IMAX Theater (recently updated) and the Planetarium and you have the recipe for a fun and highly educational day trip. Although main lot parking can be a bit problematic, the overall experience is well worth the time. To expedite your day trip, check out the underground parking near the back of the museum and think about buying your tickets online. Keep an eye out for the annual “free day” and enjoy this very special outing at no cost.
Colorado State Capitol
200 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
Our lovely state capitol building offers group and self-guided walking tours. It is an opportunity to not only view artifacts of our state’s history and those who shaped it, but also to experience one of our best examples of turn-of-the-century architecture. The Senate, House and Supreme Court chambers are especially impressive. The building’s gold dome is magnificent and its many halls and displays provide an excellent educational day trip sure to interest citizens of all ages. Both the guided (book in advance!) and self-directed tours are free and will take between 45 minutes and a couple of hours depending on how long you want to linger. If you finish early, a short walk will lead you to the Denver Mint where you can watch coins being made and even collect a souvenir coin for a keepsake of your tour.
Forney Museum of Transportation
4303 Brighton Boulevard
Denver, CO 80216
For all of the local train and old car buffs in Denver, we have The Forney. The museum houses one of the world’s largest steam powered locomotives, the Union Pacific ‘Big Boy’ #4005, as well as a large collection of cycles. That collection includes bicycles, tricycles, unicycles, motorcycles and even several 19th century high wheel bicycles with the huge front wheel. They also have rotating car displays, including many unique and one of a kind models and short-term visiting car exhibits such as Studebaker, Packard, Thunderbird & others. Kids love climbing up into the cab of the Big Boy locomotive and sitting in a real old fashioned Model T. The staff is informed and friendly and the facility is well maintained, clean and safe. This may not be your typical educational day trip but it can certainly offer a remarkable afternoon for those interested in old trains, cycles, buggies, carriages, motorcycles and automobiles. The kids and adults alike will love it and everyone may just gain some insight into transportation history by experiencing some fascinating vehicles and the part they played in our state and nation’s evolution.
Denver Inside and Out
1835 W. 40th Ave.
Denver, CO 80211
Denver Inside and Out is one of the most popular and fun ways to learn about the Mile High City. It is essentially a walking tour and scavenger hunt for clues based on the 1922 robbery of the Denver Mint. The tour kicks off in LoDo and visits many of the city’s famous landmarks. Participants encounter live characters (portrayed by local actors) while attempting to solve the caper. You will come face to face with the desperados as you try to solve one of Colorado’s most infamous crimes. The combination of fun and interactive history lesson provide a great way to learn about the city in a way the entire family will enjoy. The tour is self-guided, two miles in length, and can be covered in 2 to 3 hours at a relaxing pace. Complimentary drinks and snacks are provided and a good time is usually had by all.
While there is an abundance of good educational day trip possibilities in our fair city, space limitations prevent me from covering more in this commentary. Denver is (excuse another pun) a gold mine of fun educational prospects which you and your loved ones can explore and relish, all in a single day’s outing.
– J. Michaels is a writer based in Colorado. Learn more about him at jmichaelsbooks.biz.