The author's kid overlooking the animals on the Colorado Rocky Mountains, one of the best things to do in Colorado with kids

27 Things to Do in Colorado With Kids (By a Local Mom)

Colorado is an amazing place to explore with children! We have a wonderful variety of outdoor activities. The cool museums, and arts and culture here mean there’s an almost endless list of fun things to do in Colorado with kids. 

I’m a Colorado local and mom of four who’s been exploring this state with my kids for years now. I’ll help you find the best spots for outdoor adventure, educational fun, and even some free stuff (because let’s face it – kids aren’t cheap!)

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27 Best Things to Do in Colorado With Kids

Rocky Mountain National Park

Explore history and nature in one of Colorado’s most beautiful national parks.

View of the kids learning the roping skills at the Holzwarth Historic Site
Practice ropin’ skills at the Holzwarth Historic Site

📍 Google Maps | Phone: Phone: (970) 586-1206 | Rocky Mountain National Park Website | Entrance: $30 Vehicle Day Pass

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my favorite national parks in Colorado. It’s also among my favorite places to take kids in Colorado! 

RMNP offers several easy nature hikes for little hikers. The trail around Sprague Lake is flat and we have seen moose here in the past. 

The Coyote Valley Trail on the west side of the park is just a mile, with tables for a picnic lunch at the start. The Holzwarth Historic Site is a good stop, and the visitor centers have hands-on exhibits to help kids learn more about the area. 

Denver Botanic Gardens

Enjoy native plants and flowers and a dedicated children’s area.

View of the small pavilion surrounded with blooming colorful flowers at Denver Botanic Gardens
This little pavilion looks like a fairytale building in the middle of the gardens!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 865-3500 | Denver Botanic Gardens Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm daily | Entrance: $15, adults, $11 kids 3-13 

The Denver Botanic Gardens are one of my personal favorite things to do in Denver with kids! The Botanic Gardens have lots of interesting plants and flowers, plus a large, grassy area that’s perfect for running or rolling down. I especially recommend planning to spend plenty of time in the Mordecai Children’s Garden. It has play spaces and plants kids can touch and investigate. 

Garden of the Gods

Short hikes and rocks shaped like giants make this a fun Colorado spot for kids!

View of the kids exploring the Garden of the Gods
There are lots for kids to explore at Garden of the Gods!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 634-6666 | Garden of the Gods Website | Hours: Winter 5 am – 9 pm daily; Summer 5 am – 10 pm daily | Entrance: free

Garden of the Gods is a great Colorado Springs kid spot! The Garden of the Gods Visitor Center has interactive exhibits and a film about how the area was formed. The paths at the park are easy to navigate. And kids will have fun finding shapes like the Sleeping Giant and the Kissing Camels rock formations. 

Garden of the Gods is one of the most popular things to do in Colorado Springs and a great free thing to do in Colorado with kids.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Check out tons of hands-on exhibits and learn about space, dinosaurs, and more!

View of dinosaur bones in Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Colorado
Fun exhibits for dino-obsessed kids! (photo: Kit Leong / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 370-6000 | DMNS Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily, Most Fridays 9 am – 9 pm | Entrance: $22.95, adults, $17.95 ages 3-18

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is one of the top things to do in Denver, with its hands-on exhibits for curious kids! Practice docking a space shuttle, walking through a mine shaft or measuring yourself against a dinosaur. Kids 3-8 will love the Discovery Zone, with water experiments, a construction corner, and a science kitchen.

👉 Pro Tip: You can save $1 off of peak entry times by purchasing your tickets online ahead of time!

Water World

Slip & slide the day away at Colorado’s biggest water park!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 427-7873 | Water World Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily, open until 6 pm some days | Entrance: $28.99 – $45.99, adults, $23.99 – $39.99 under 47”, free under 40”

Water World is a great summer spot because there are fun things for every age! Wally World and Little Bear Pond and Little Bear Pond are appropriate for toddlers and younger kids. Older children will enjoy bigger thrills like the Screamin’ Mimi and the Mile High Flyer.

Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center

Spend a day in a tropical paradise.

View of a butterfly landing on the elbow of a kid
Picked up a hitchhiker!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 469-5441 | Butterfly Pavilion Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $14.95, adults, $9.95 for 12 and under

The Butterfly Pavilion is a really unique thing to do in Colorado with children. Even on a frigid winter day, you can cavort with free-flying butterflies and other insects! 

The Butterfly Pavilion has several rooms to explore, featuring insects and ocean animals before you arrive at the main attraction. You’ll end up in the Butterfly Pavilion itself where you can watch the insects eat, fly, and sometimes even land on you! If you can, plan your trip around a release time when the newly hatched butterflies take to the air.

Denver Zoo

See a variety of animals from around the world.

View of the penguins at Denver Zoo
We could watch the penguins for hours!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 337-1400 | Denver Zoo Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm | Entrance: $24, adults, $18 kids 3-15 

One of my family’s favorite ways to explore the zoo is to go when it’s warm outside, and again when it’s very cold. It’s cool to see which animals enjoy which seasons. The Arctic fox in the wintertime is a fun sight to behold! 

Grizzly Rose

Have a family dance party!

The author Laura Falin with her family under the neon pink lights at Grizzly Rose
Taking a break from boot scootin’

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 295-2353 | Grizzly Rose Website | Hours: 6 pm – 12 am Sundays | Entrance: $10 adults, free under 11

Sure, the Grizzly Rose is a great spot for a Denver date night – but it’s fun to bring the kids as well! Sunday nights are family nights. Kids under 10 get in free, and there are a variety of kid-friendly drink and food options. 

There are line dancing lessons at 7 pm (although we found them a little hard to keep up with), and a live band takes the stage at 8 pm. If the kids don’t want to dance, they can play pool or try fun things like skee ball instead.  

Fishing in Leadville or Twin Lakes

These stocked ponds are a great spot for young anglers!

View of a boy fishing in Hayden Meadows Reservoir with a camping chair nearby
Hayden Meadows Reservoir is a great spot for your first fishing trip!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 739-7000 | Hours: Sunrise to Sunset | Entrance: free

One of our favorite things to do in Leadville is to head to Hayden Meadows Reservoir on Highway 24 for some fishing! The reservoir is stocked, so impatient kids are more likely to actually catch a fish. If you want more of a challenge, head to Twin Lakes or Turquoise Lake for a much bigger body of water (or try ice fishing them in winter!)

Colorado Railroad Museum

Tour and ride a historic train.

View of the signage and entrance at The Colorado Railroad Museum
The Colorado Railroad Museum is year-round fun!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 279-4591 | Colorado Railroad Museum Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Tuesday – Sunday, Closed Mondays | Entrance: $10 adults, $5 under 18

If you’re looking for things to do in Golden, the Colorado Railroad Museum offers railyard tours. You can also visit for storytime or see the model train layout (it’s very elaborate!). Finish your trip with a ride in one of the passenger cars. The kids are sure to love it!

Mesa Verde National Park

See the cliff dwellings at this World Heritage Site.

View of the Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park
The Cliff Palace is a fascinating look at how Ancestral Pueblo people lived.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 529-4465 | Mesa Verde Website | Hours: open 24 hours | Entrance: $30 summer (May – Oct), $20 winter (Oct – May) | 👉 Browse Mesa Verde Tours on Viator

One of the coolest things to do near Durango is to visit Mesa Verde. Kids will have fun looking for cliff dwellings around the park. There’s also a wonderful visitor center at the entrance, with lots of activities to help everyone learn more. 

Cave of the Winds

Examine stalactites and try an adventure course.

View inside the dark Cave of the Winds
Take the family underground for some cool caverns!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 685-5444 | Cave of the Winds Website | Hours: Winter 10 am – 5 pm daily; Summer 9 am – 6 pm daily | Tours: from $27 adults, $18 ages 4-12, free under 4

Cave of the Winds is a popular thing to do in Colorado Springs with kids! You can take a cave tour, and see stalactites and stalagmites underground. You can also try the Wind Walker Challenge Course and several other high-adventure challenges. 

Rafting the Arkansas River

Test yourselves on the river.

View of the rafters enjoying the strong water of Arkansas River
A thrilling adventure ride, courtesy of Mother Nature! (photo: J. Norman Reid / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 395-2158 | Noah’s Ark Rafting Website

Whitewater rafting is a popular activity in Buena Vista, and it’s an activity kids are sure to remember! Take a family rafting ride and you’ll get some great pictures and memories of your trip. 

Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park

Scream yourself hoarse at Denver’s downtown amusement park.

View of the roller coaster loops from below in Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
Thrills and chills … right in the middle of downtown Denver! (photo: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 595-4386 | Elitch Gardens Website | Open April – October plus various holiday events; Hours vary depending on dates | Entrance from $49.99 

Elitch’s is a very popular thing to do with kids in the Denver area. Although Elitch’s is known for their thrill rides, there are also tamer rides for smaller kids. Try the E.G. Express train or Ding Dong Dock. Elitch’s also has a water park for cooling off in summer. 

👉 Pro Tip: Check on Elitch Gardens’ website for deals on tickets or season passes. 

Evergreen Lake

Paddle, fish, or walk around this foothills lake.

View of the people paddling on the water near a cabin in Evergreen Lake
The lake is a beautiful spot for a paddle!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 880-1300 | Evergreen Lake Website | Hours: Sunrise – Sunset

Evergreen Lake is a great spot for a quick getaway from Denver and nearby areas! The town feels like a charming mountain town but is less than an hour from downtown. At the lake, kids can visit the nature center, rent a pedal boat, or fish. There are also lots of other things to do in Evergreen for the entire family, so you can make a day of it!

Children’s Museum of Denver

Learn and explore with educational activities for all ages!

A kid with an amazed face in Children’s Museum of Denver
What could go wrong?

📍 Google Maps | Children’s Museum Website | Cost: $17 Adults & kids over 1, $15 for 1-year-olds, free under 1 | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm daily

The Children’s Museum has a bubble station, an imagination area, water play, and other hands-on activities. The Adventure Forest is visible from I-25, and the colorful pods, bridges, and flags entice kids to climb and slide. This is one of many awesome museums in Denver that kids love!

Lyons Classic Pinball

Show your kids how people played before video games.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 837-2677 | Lyons Classic Pinball Website | Hours: 5 pm – 10 pm Thurs, 4 pm – 10 pm Fri, 12 pm – 10 pm Sat, 12 pm – 9 pm Sun, Closed Mon-Wed

Lyons Classic Pinball makes a great stop to or from Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Spend some time playing the more than 35 pinball machines made anywhere from the 1960s through now. It’s a great thing to do near Boulder with kids!

Casa Bonita

Watch cliff divers and sample sopapillas.

View of the vibrant pink exterior of Casa Bonita in front of the huge fountain and the shops nearby
Casa Bonita is getting ready for a grand re-opening! (photo: Jamilya Khalilulina / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Casa Bonita Website 

Casa Bonita is one of the more controversial things to do in Denver! Some people love the kitschy, bright pink restaurant. It’s known for its cliff divers and its notoriously bad food (except for the sopapillas!) Meanwhile, other people love to hate it.

However, Trey Parker and Matt Stone – the creators of South Park – bought Casa Bonita in 2021 and it’s scheduled to reopen in May. They promise the food will be good, but this is such a Denver landmark that I’m not sure it matters. 

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort

Splash and soak in the world’s largest hot springs pool.

View of the people enjoying the pool and slide in Glenwood Hot Springs Resort with the beautiful mountain in the background on a sunny day
Glenwood Hot Springs has a large pool, a waterslide, and a splash pad. (photo: Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: 970-945-6571 | Glenwood Hot Springs Website | 👉 Browse Glenwood Springs Hotels on Booking

Enjoy the natural hot springs at the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort! The resort includes a huge pool, a waterslide, a splash pad, and waterfalls modeled after the nearby Hanging Lake. It’s one of several family-friendly Colorado hot springs resorts!

Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Indulge your flying fantasies!

Travel Lemming founder Nate Hake posing near the aircraft inside Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum
Travel Lemming founder Nate, channeling his inner aviator

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 360-5360 | Wings Over Rockies Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm M – Sat, 12 pm – 5 pm Sun | Entrance: $18.95, adults, $11.95 children 4 – 16, free under 4

This air and space museum occupies a hangar that was once part of the Lowry Air Force Base. Now, kids and adults can see historic aircraft. The Apollo Command Module and Navy planes are also on display.

Gateway Park Fun Center

Choose your own adventure!

View of the entrance arch of Gateway Park Fun Center on a sunny day
Golf, go-kart, and more on the outskirts of Boulder!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 442-4386 | Gateway Park Website | Hours: 10 am – 7 pm daily | Entrance: Attraction prices vary

The Gateway Park Fun Center has mini golf, go karts, batting cages, an arcade, and a driving range. You can purchase a day pass, but you can also opt to pay for each activity individually and just choose what you like. 

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Get very close to the animals!

Closeup view of a giraffe licking in Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Get up close and personal with some zoo residents! (photo: Jenna May Osborn / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 633-9925 | Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $14.75 – 34.75 adults, $10.75 – 29.75 under 12

One of the coolest things about the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is that it’s made so kids can get really close to the animals. They can feed giraffes…and also elephants and rhinos! It’s definitely a unique experience at a smaller zoo. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Hike, slide, and splash among the tallest sand dunes in North America.

View of the people walking along The Great Sand Dunes on a sunny day
The Great Sand Dunes are striking with the Rocky Mountains beyond!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 378-6395 | Great Sand Dunes Website | Hours: open 24 hours | Entrance: $25 7-day Vehicle Pass | 👉 Browse Nearby Hotels on Booking

You can make Great Sand Dunes National Park a day trip from Colorado Springs, or camp inside the park (it’s one of the best campgrounds in Colorado!) If you visit in late spring or early summer, Medano Creek will be flowing and kids can splash while you relax. Also, get to the dunes early in the morning before they get hot or crowded.  

Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre

Hike and learn about music history at this unique amphitheater.

View of the people wandering and sitting around Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
Run off some energy on the amphitheatre steps! (photo: Jim Lambert / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (720) 865-2494 | Red Rocks Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily 

Red Rocks is one of the best free things to do in Denver! The Trading Post Trail is a manageable trail for kids. You can also visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame located inside the Trading Post. If the kids still have energy, bring ‘em to the amphitheater and let them run the stairs. It works wonders for naptime!

Georgetown Loop Railroad

An exciting train ride through the Rockies.

View of the colorful narrow gauge train running through the scenic view of Georgetown
A fun ride aboard a narrow gauge train! (photo: Jim Lambert / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 569-2030 | Georgetown Loop Website | Entrance: $30.95, adults, $24.95 under 16

The Georgetown Railroad is the best train ride in Colorado that’s near Denver! Kids can ride in open or covered cars, and you’ll head from Silver Plume to Georgetown and back. 

Downtown Aquarium – Denver

See the fish and other aquarium creatures.

View of the silhouettes with the aquarium in the background in the Downtown Denver Aquarium
Learn about life under the sea!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 561-4450 | Downtown Aquarium Website | Hours: 10 am – 8:30 pm Mon-Thurs, 11 am – 10 pm Fri, 9 am – 10 pm Sat, 11 am – 8 pm Sun | Entrance: from $26.50 adult, $19.99 age 3-11

The Denver Aquarium has more than 500 species of animals. There’s also a stingray touch tank and a tiger exhibit, although some people are petitioning to have that removed. [Source] The aquarium also has a carousel and an on-site restaurant for hungry visitors. 

Dinosaur National Monument

Hit two states and see petroglyphs and fossils.

View of a kid pointing on the wall with petroglyphs in Dinosaur National Monument
History comes to life at this monument!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (435) 781-7700 | Dinosaur National Monument Website | Cost: $25 7-Day Vehicle Pass

Dinosaur National Monument is both a Colorado and a Utah national monument. Check two states off your list with this trip! 

At the Quarry Hall, you can view more than a thousand dinosaur bones, and kids are allowed to touch some of them. Along with dinosaur history, you can learn about the original people who lived in the area. You’ll also get stories of the outlaws and homesteaders who came later. 

FAQs on What to Do in Colorado With Kids

What part of Colorado is best for kids?

The Denver area of Colorado is the best place for kids if you’re headed to Colorado on vacation. There are several family-friendly museums, many parks, and lots of outdoor activities for family fun. 

Rocky Mountain National Park is also a great spot for kids to explore and learn more about Colorado’s wildlife. Many Colorado ski resorts have great kids’ programs, both in winter and during the summer as well. 

Is Colorado a good place for kids?

Colorado is a good place for kids. Although the state is known for its snow, even in winter there are many pleasant days when kids can get outdoors. Along with lots of opportunities for outdoor adventures, Colorado is steeped in history. Many national and state parks, living history museums, and other attractions help history to come alive for kids. 

Colorado also has many areas with excellent schools and safe communities where kids can thrive.


Hopefully, this post has given you lots of ideas for things to do in Colorado with kids! Colorado is chock-full of kid-friendly things to do, and it’s a great place to vacation with the family. I hope you enjoy experiencing it with your children as much as I do with mine!

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