The first in our four part series on Our Favorite Things to Do In and Around Denver, is from Angela Bruns. With a 3 and 7 year old, she is always on the lookout for kid-friendly activities that are low-cost or free!
I have recently fallen in love with Denver’s City Park. I’m a runner and love the variety of paths that crisscross the park. My 3 year old enjoys walking by the duck pond that backs up to the Zoo. The boating lake is serene and a perfect distance for kids to walk or jog around. The playground in the center has a section for younger children that is mostly enclosed and the older kids area is full of towers for make believe play. Watching the kids swing (and fall) from the monkey bars, run, jump (and fall), and play their hearts out makes me grateful that we have a wonderful pediatric chiropractor!
2. Denver Art Museum
Often overlooked as an oasis of children’s activities, the Denver Art Museum has a surprising amount of fun and creative things for infants, toddlers and school-aged children. At the end of the 2nd floor crossover bridge, there is a children’s play area complete with blocks, crafts, picnic area and other rotating activities. My kids set up a chiropractor’s table with the padded blocks and pretended to give each other adjustments. One of our favorite activities is the Backpack Cart. Check out a free backpack kit which will lead you to a different room in the library, depending on the backpack you choose. Some backpacks have the kids searching the room for a certain piece of artwork, others have them finding shapes. There is also a take home activity such as making your own bird mask or box.
Just a 20 minute drive from downtown Denver, Dinosaur ridge is a hands-on museum. Kids can dig in a sand pit and uncover skeletons, browse the museum and hold a dinosaur claw and tooth mold. My son even exclaimed once after seeing the dinosaur skeleton “there’s one of those at the chiropractor’s mommy!” – I love that he’s making those connections! The best part is walking or riding the free bus up the ridge to check out the actual dinosaur fossils, footprints and more in the mountain! This is also a wonderfully different place to have a child’s birthday party (I know from experience).
4. Spaghetti Factory
Located in downtown Denver on the NW corner 18th & Lawrence, parents love this restaurant because of the all-inclusive meal deals and kids love it because you can eat in a trolley car! The décor is quirky and fun, the atmosphere is super kid friendly (they often have a balloon artist there during dinner) and the food is delicious and affordable– who doesn’t love Italian?
5. Bass Pro Shops
If you’ve never been here, then you’re probably scratching your head at this one. If you have been there, then you understand. Recommended to us by another client at Well Beings Chiropractic, we have spent many afternoons just strolling through this huge store. It’s like the Aquarium, Nature & Science Museum and Children’s museum rolled into one big free attraction! The restaurant in the store offers views of giant fish tanks and kid-friendly food. There are always children’s activities going on from crafts and an old tymey shooting range to casting practice with fishing poles and trying your hand at archery. Over the summer, they even have workshops where children can earn badges or pins for learning camping survival skills, how to properly pack a backpack and identify Colorado birds. My kids love to climb on the ATV’s and boats and walk through the camping tents. They also have a climbing wall and LOTS of taxidermy throughout the store.