Top Educational Day Trips In Denver

June 11, 2011 11:05 AM

Colorado State Capitol


Denver is rich in educational opportunities. Not just the kind you get in a classroom, but rather the ones found in nature and history. Whether it’s learning about how money is made or getting an insider view of the Titanic’s most famous survivor, the Mile High City offers a mountain of educational opportunities that you and your family can share, delight in, and enrich your lives with. In the daily bustle of our nine-to-five routines, we often neglect learning. So what do you say? How about stowing the laptop, turn off the mobile phone, take a day off, round up the kids (or some friends) and discover the vast knowledge that presents itself right under our very noses. Go downtown, have some breakfast at a great eatery like Dozens, and explore Denver’s own, very personal history lessons. Learn something about the great heritage and culture around you and have some good clean fun doing it. Here are some of the very best educational day trips to fill a summer’s eve or winter’s morn.
denver museum of nature and science Top Educational Day Trips In Denver

(credit: CBS)

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

2001 Colorado Blvd
Denver, CO 80205
(303) 370-6000

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 capitol dome interior Top Educational Day Trips In Denver

(credit: CBS)

Colorado State Capitol

200 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 866-2604
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 5 Top Educational Day Trips In Denver

(credit: CBS)

Forney Museum of Transportation

4303 Brighton Boulevard
Denver, CO 80216
(303) 297-1113
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.

mint Top Educational Day Trips In Denver

(credit: CBS)

Denver Inside and Out

1835 W. 40th Ave.
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 330-9871
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