Whether you’re a local or a tourist visiting the Mile High City with your family, you’ll score a bull’s-eye with plenty of things To Do with Kids In Denver's City Park. Located 5 minutes east of downtown, the tree-lined City Park is Denver’s version of NYC’s Central Park with jogging and biking trails, and nearby are two of Denver’s can’t miss attractions for kids: the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. City Park with downtown Denver skyline and the Colorado Rocky Mountains. — Photo courtesy of Rich Grant and VISIT DENVER
Begin your day at the Denver Zoo, located just 5 minutes from downtown on 80 acres within Denver's historic City Park. The Denver Zoo is the fourth most popular zoo in America with 1.6 million annual visitors containing the 7th most diverse animal collection. The zoo has 4,000 animal residents, representing more than 685 species, including188 of the world’s most exotic animals. See how the animals live in the wild with the Denver Zoo’s natural habitats, including the Predator Ridge, Northern Shores, Tropical Discovery, and Primate Panaroma. It’ll take all day to walk the expansive zoo, but make sure you get a look at rare amur leopards, okapi, black rhinoceros, elephants, vampire bats, Komodo dragons and so many more!
Denver's Northern Shores polar bears — Photo courtesy of Denver Zoo & VISIT DENVER
The most recent addition is the Toyota Elephant Passage, the Denver Zoo’s LEED-certified $50 million Asian-Tropics themed exhibit. At the 10-acre complex, kids can see Asian elephants, Malayan tapirs and one-horned rhinos, exploring the history of animals in the Asian culture. The exhibit boasts s six sprawling outdoor yards, three animal crossings, and more than 1.1 million gallons of water for the exhibit animals to enjoy. A must-stop is the Elephant Bridge, an overhead passage for elephants, rhinos and tapirs. Although the exhibit is free with admission, reserved time tickets are required and available online. Two hippopotamus at the Denver Zoo. — Photo courtesy of Denver Zoo & VISIT Denver
The Denver Zoo isn’t just a fair weather facility. During the winter, the Zoo Lights is a fun holiday light safari.
LOCAL TIP: Families should arrive early at the Denver Zoo (opens 9 am March-October and 10 am November to February). Early morning visited are often rewarded with watching the caretakers feed the animals. During the summer heat, many animals disappear into the shade to avoid the sun.
After a morning at the Denver Zoo, take a picnic break for lunch at City Park. Pick up a lunch at the Denver Zoo’s many restaurants, or pack a cooler before heading out for your family adventure. Denver’s City Park offers dozens of trees for shades, perfect for your family picnic. Then take a moment to people watch as the City Park boasts miles of jogging including the Mile High Loop, biking paths, and playgrounds. You can even enjoy a leisurely paddle boat ride on the lake.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Children gaze at dinosaur bones at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. — Photo courtesy of Steve Crecelius and VISIT DENVER The finale to your kid friendly attractions at City park is he nearby Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The interactive museum is built for curious kids and includes popular permanent exhibits: Discovery Zone, Expedition Healthy, Gems and Minerals, and Prehistoric Journey, and Space Odyssey. The museum also features rotating exhibits, like Lizards & Snakes and Arctic Sanctuary. Step into the unknown world of space during a current show, at Gates Planetarium experience an adventure by watching an IMAX film.
Where to Stay:
For families vacationing in Denver, the boutique Renaissance Denver hotel is located off I-70 with convenient access to the City Park, Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and near the popular Shops at Northfields, Bass Pro Shop and Dick’s Sporting Good Park.