A trip to the Denver Museum Of Nature & Science is a great way to begin exploring the Mile High City with children.
A wide variety of exhibits cover topics from ancient Egypt to space exploration. That means that there’s surely something for everyone, even the curious adult. When you throw in the special temporary exhibits the museum hosts or a trip to the IMAX or Planetarium, it’s easy to spend all morning or afternoon learning about the world around us. To learn more: dmns.org.
From the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, head downtown to the Downtown Denver Aquarium. Kids will surely love the aquarium-side lunch before the family explores the aquatic exhibits, which also include a massive Sumatran tiger area. There’s enough to do and explore at the aquarium to keep the family busy for the rest of the afternoon. To learn more: Downtown Denver Aquarium.
Head over to the nearby Wynkoop Brewing Company. The first brewpub in Colorado has a long and distinguished history, and a separate dining area is great for families. To learn more: wynkoop.com.
A second day can easily be spent wandering the pathways of the Denver Zoo.
The zoo was first founded in 1896 around an orphaned black bear named Billy Bryan. The Denver Zoo has grown and expanded into an impressive educational and entertaining display of animals from around the world. On top of the animal exhibits and programs, kids will also surely love a ride on the small train or carousel on the zoo’s grounds. To learn more: denverzoo.org.
Some pizza or pasta at Pasquini’s in Uptown on 17th is an excellent nearby option. The menu is moderately priced, and the atmosphere is great for families. (pasquinis.com) When you’re done with supper, if you’re not walked-out, take a short ten-block walk over to Liks Ice Cream for some desert. They’ve been scooping up flavors since 1976, and are a favorite among neighborhood residents and Denverites throughout the metro area. To learn more: liksicecream.com.
A relaxing morning or afternoon can be spent exploring one of the Denver Botanic Gardens locations.
The grounds are beautifully groomed and offer great opportunities for kids to work off some energy, particularly at the Chatfield location in the south metro. botanicgardens.org. If the weather isn’t cooperating for outdoor recreation, head up to the Butterfly Pavilion for some up close encounters. butterflies.org
On your way west from the Botanic Gardens or Butterfly Pavilion, stop at the OLD CAPITOL GRILL in Golden for lunch. It serves up tasty and affordable meals in the first capitol building for the Colorado Territory. To learn more: oldcapitolgrill.com.
From Golden, two great opportunities present themselves. The first stop, which is just a short drive up Interstate 70 to the west, is the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. For more information: buffalobill.org. The excellent old west history in the museum, next to Buffalo Bill’s gravesite, is only eclipsed by the great views of Denver to the east from atop Lookout Mountain. If the mountain weather is cooperating, though, a second suggestion is to head up the highest paved road in North America — Mt. Evans Road. For more information: mountevans.com.
The views from 14,264 feet above sea level are spectacular, and will surely leave you breathless if the elevation doesn’t. The opportunities for wildlife encounters, namely Rocky Mountain Goats, are also possible.
Buffalo Bill Cost: $5 (Adult), $1 (Children) *Gravesite admission is free
Mt. Evans Road cost: $10 per vehicle with twelve or fewer passengers. *Free with various national passes, including the annual national parks pass
Check out any of the great Best of Denver suggestions for a great local meal tonight. If you’re feeling adventurous, though, check out the famed Buckhorn Exchange. For more information: buckhornexchange.com. Buffalo, elk, rattlesnake, and the infamous Rocky Mountain oysters are all on the menu. More affordable kids meals are also available.
- Jason Hussong is an Assignment Editor at CBS4. He has traveled to all seven continents, most of the states, and almost all of the counties in Colorado; he writes about his travels at www.jasons-travels.com.