With so many unique attractions and fun kid activities in Denver, CO, it’s no wonder why the city is a popular destination for family vacations. Denver offers kids’ activities year-round, from strolling in blooming botanical gardens in spring to racing down crazy water slides in summer. Autumn brings family hayrides and pumpkin patches at local farms, and winter provides fun snow sports and seasonal attractions. Learn about some of the unique things to do in Denver with kids, and get inspired for your next family vacation.

1. Explore hands-on exhibits in kid-friendly museums

Museums in the area are known for offering lots of kid-friendly things to do in Denver, with immersive exhibits and hands-on adventures. Enjoy spaces where kids can learn through play at the Children’s Museum of Denver, discover ancient fossils and gems at the Museum of Nature and Science, and see historical exhibits and trucks at the Denver Firefighters Museum. Check out airplanes at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, and learn about the major role African Americans played in western expansion at the Black American West Museum and Heritage Center. Teens can check out an offbeat, selfie-style museum at Distortion Monster World.

2. Tour the U.S. Mint and other historical sites in Denver

If you’re interested in checking out some of the colorful history behind historic places in Denver with kids, you can take a guided walking tour with local companies, or hop on the trolley to enjoy cool breezes and sightseeing. You can make a reservation to tour the Denver Mint to learn about the history and methods of producing coins, and visit the gold-domed Colorado State Capitol Building for tours. View intricate architecture at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, or tour the former home of the famed RMS Titanic passenger the “Unsinkable Molly Brown.”

3. Go on animal adventures around Denver

There are many animal-based things to do in Denver with kids, with many appropriate for children of all ages. In the city, you’ll find major local attractions like the Denver Zoo and the Downtown Aquarium. Just north of Denver, you can visit the colorfully winged inhabitants at the Butterfly Pavilion, then head to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, a huge drive-through safari experience. In the autumn, visit Anderson Farms for hayrides to the pumpkin patch, plus a corn maze, sunflower fields, and farm animals just north of the city.

4. Ride coasters and slides at theme and water parks

Theme parks and water parks offer tons of kids’ activities in Denver. The largest park is Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park, offering thrill rides and coasters for bigger kids, kid-friendly rides for smaller tots, and a seasonal water park. Lakeside Amusement Park is a smaller, family-owned park that is a great option with smaller crowds where you can enjoy games and rides for all ages, including wooden coasters. Water World opens each summer and is known for a half-pipe water slide that towers almost 4 stories high and a racing slide where riders reach nearly 30 mph.

5. Connect with nature in Denver’s parks and gardens

Denver's parks and gardens offer plenty of low-cost, kid-friendly things to do in the city. City Park is centrally located near major attractions downtown and includes extensive scenic walking trails and a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. Stroll bloom-lined paths at Centennial Flower Gardens, modeled after the Garden of Versailles, or climb a play structure shaped like a huge microphone at Paco Sanchez Park. At Confluence Park, you can picnic and splash on the sandy shores of the Platte River with city skyline views. The Denver Botanic Gardens are a bit pricier, but it's well worth it to explore their themed gardens and exhibits.

6. Enjoy winter kid activities in Denver, CO

You'll find plenty of wintertime activities that bring tons of additional family things to do in Denver, including seasonal events, attractions, and winter sports. You can ice skate on the rink at Skyline Park, which is a free family activity, and enjoy the annual parade of lights in downtown Denver. Head to Dillon Town Park for interactive ice castles with tunnels, thrones, and slides sculpted by professional ice artists. At Cherry Creek North, you can check out Prismatica, an interactive light exhibit inside a fantastical ice palace. You’ll also find plenty of winter sports opportunities within driving distance from Denver, from snowshoeing trails to snowboarding.