Look no further if you’re searching for free sights and things to do in Denver with your kids.
Denver, Colorado, offers budget-friendly fun for the entire family. There are various adventures, from free museums and zoos to parks. Regardless of your kid’s age, there are activities for your little ones.
So, plan your next family-friendly getaway. You’ll feel surprised how much you’ll save. So, below is your guide to seven free things to do in Denver with kids.
1. Denver Museum of Nature and Science
While the Denver Museum of Nature and Science sells tickets, you can also take advantage. The museum offers free days and nights, depending on their calendar. You’ll find a list of days throughout the year on their website. So, see free exhibits, activities, and performances, or visit the planetarium.
The main exhibits include gems and minerals, wildlife, and prehistoric fossils. While they have attractions that come and go, you can also count on permanent attractions.
Additional permanent exhibits include the following:
- Space Odyssey
- Egyptian Mummies
- Discovery Zone
- Expedition Health
If your kids love space, you won’t want to miss the Space Odyssey exhibit. Discover stars while partaking in a sensory spacewalk. First, you’ll feel rocket rumbles in a simulator. Then, drive a Mars rover while creating galaxy images. With state-of-the-art technology, you’ll feel like an astronaut in space. See vivid images with your virtual reality headset.
Plus, you and your kids will hear clear sounds in great detail.
Now, your kids can follow in the footsteps of ancient storylines. Learn all about tomb artifacts during the Egyptian Mummies exhibit. If ancient Egypt sparks their interest, they’ll love engaging throughout this interactive experience. Before moving on to the next attraction, you and your family can digitally unwrap mummies.
The Discovery Zone is an excellent place for kids ages three to eight. Plus, it’s free. There are many fun activities for your kids to create and enjoy. With Water Way being an attraction, it’s also a good idea to bring extra clothes. For example, build and stretch like an engineer during the Construction Corner activity.
After spending hours playing, sharing, and exploring, grab a bite to eat in the kitchen.
Your kids will learn about the human body with the Expedition Health exhibit. Along with gaining knowledge, there are fun activities. Sit inside a theater attraction to ignite all senses. There are additional daily activities in the Genetics Lab. Your kids can observe experiments from liquids and gel electrophoresis to extracting DNA.
Kids will find variety at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, no matter their interests. From space and ancient mummies to health and play, Museums are a hotspot in the city of Denver.
2. Denver Art Museum
Next on the list is the Denver Art Museum. Receive free admission for all kids under 18, no matter the day. Thanks to the Bellco Credit Union, the Free for Kids program is possible. However, for an entire family-free day, arrive every first Saturday of the month. Even adults can get in free sometimes, so be on the lookout.
With several floors, there’s a lot to see inside. The Denver Art Museum includes kid-friendly activity centers. Be sure to utilize the family backpack. Enjoy puzzles and games to keep your kids occupied during exhibits. However, family fun isn’t inside, as outside, you can find outdoor sculptures.
Starting on the ground floor is a gallery, including the gift shop. However, the second floor contains special exhibits, which unfortunately do cost money. For a free experience, you can skip to the third floor. The third floor includes the Art Spy mural. Your kids can search for hidden art pieces for a unique hands-on activity.
The family guide includes the following:
- Storytelling studio
- European and American Art gallery
- Rip’s Adventure
- Activities in the Creative Hub
- Family Central, blocks, costumes
- Latin American Art, family game
- Discovery Library
Your kids will discover brand-new art from activities, crafts, and exciting experiences.
3. Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus
The third museum that offers particular free days is the Children’s Museum of Denver. While the museum is educational, it’s also interactive while embracing creativity. With hands-on learning, it’ll be a wonderful family experience. All ages are welcome, from newborns to eight years old and older.
There are four learning exhibits with activities, including the following:
Imagine is for inspiration. Listen to stories in the book nook while learning about careers. From firefighting to veterinarian duties, your kids can pretend to take on new roles. There’s also a market where your kid can learn how to use a cash register and act like an actual store employee.
Investigate is for science lovers. Here your kids will learn physics and partake in experiments. Activities include kinetics, water, bubbles, and energy. For example, practice Newton’s law of gravity while learning about floating bubbles. As you harness your kids, they’ll feel the wind power.
Create includes an art studio. Here you can paint, chalk, and work with clay. Plus, learn from an artist. Then, discover different recycling materials. Last, cook food with your kids while learning about nutrition and hydroponic gardens.
Explore is excellent for your kids to either run around or relax. While there are calm activities, you can also find active playtime. For example, the Early Learner’s Oasis includes a canyon to climb on while pretending to kayak. In addition, kids four and older can ride on a gondola and cross a monkey bridge.
However, outside there’s also Joy Park within the explore area. The park includes a zipline, dunes, a play area, and a little river. Also included is the Aventure Forest, which includes bridges, tunnels, and slides. You’ll love the forest if your kids are at least five years old and 44 inches tall.
Be sure to check out events and upcoming free days for the ultimate afternoon trip.
4. Hammond’s Candies Factory Tour
Aside from museums, you and your kids can tour a candy factory. Hammond’s Candies has been around for over 100 years and includes hand-made treats. The shop started as a small, family-owned business. However, the company is now an international brand. With free tours every day, you won’t even need a reservation.
Start the tour in a movie theater, as you’ll learn the company’s history. Then, you’ll watch candy-making in a viewing area. Your tour guide at the facility will tell you everything you need to know. Soon, you’ll learn facts about your favorite nostalgic candy.
Watch the workers roll out sweet caramel in front of your eyes. You can also see how workers make their famous delicious treats. You’ll see it all in the tour, from candy canes and lollipops to chocolate.
Hammond’s candy tours typically run every half hour so that it won’t be an all-day occasion. While you don’t have to make a reservation, there’s a maximum of 45 people. To ensure your spot, it’s a great idea to make a reservation. You can book a tour online for you and your kids, as it’s easy and convenient. Since it’s a kid-friendly environment, you can bring strollers.
You’ll see everything from melting chocolate to cutting candy canes. Afterward, you’ll also see the packaging process. Finally, don’t forget to visit the candy store before leaving, as you can take home a tasty souvenir.
5. Denver Botanic Gardens
Another kid-friendly hit includes the Denver Botanic Gardens. Enjoy greenhouses and gardens with various exhibits. Although there’s a cost of admission, they do offer free days. You can view specific days on their calendar online. Overall, there are two locations, and both provide kid-friendly experiences.
One location is close to downtown York. Spreading across 24 acres, it’s an excellent location, especially within nearby festivities. For example, the Denver Zoo is nearby. However, the other garden resides at Chatfield Farms, just south of Denver. Regardless, there are several park options within the Denver Botanic Gardens.
Mordecai Children’s Garden
At the downtown location, you’ll find the Mordecai Children’s Garden. The kid-friendly garden spreads over three acres. Additionally, it’s open from June to the end of October. You can even come and go through a separate entrance. The garden showcases an elevation trail with different ecosystems and hands-on activities.
Your kids will learn which plants thrive in different climates. There’s also a picnic table, shady areas, and a stream.
Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory
Also in the city lies the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory. Let your kids discover tropical plants and trees. Since it’s in a conservatory, it does get humid.
With a garden filled with sweet smells, your kids will love putting their noses into each flower. It’s a fun, interactive experience from flowers to plants. Scents range from spicy to sweet. The Fragrance Garden is a great place to take your little ones downtown.
Prepare to spend at least a couple of hours at the Denver Botanic Gardens. You can also bring food along, as there are picnic tables to eat at. Overall, the garden is an incredible living museum and one of the free things to do in Denver with kids.
6. Denver Zoo
After the botanical garden, you can visit the Denver Zoo. Within Denver City Park, your kids will love the view. Since the zoo is a must-see kid activity, take advantage of free days throughout the year.
Aside from free days listed on their calendar, there’s also free parking and picnic tables. Amenities also include the gift shop and dining options. From pizza to ice cream, your kids won’t go hungry. However, you can also pack lunch and snacks.
The Denver Zoo is an incredible place to see animals up close. Animals are in their natural habitats, including the Tropical Discovery exhibit. See around 300 different species and 1,800 animals. In addition, the jungle-like experience is home to snakes, tree frogs, and reptiles.
Another habitat experience your kids will love includes Stingray Cove. While it’s a seasonal exhibit, you’ll encounter over 100 marine life species. Gaze upon stingrays and sharks in a 15,000-gallon tank.
Overall, you’ll see an extensive range of animals, including the following:
- Sea lions, penguins
- Exotic birds, fish
While the Denver Zoo is open all year round, visiting in the late summer to fall months is excellent. May tends to be a busier time due to end-of-the-year school trips. Make the zoo a highlight for your trip to Denver.
7. Washington Park
If you want to take your kids to a park, you must visit Washington Park. An architect named Reinhard Schuetze designed Washington Park in the early 1900s. Plants and paths embodied a french countryside. South of downtown, there’s also dining and shopping in the area.
So, between the multi-use trails, gardens, and two lakes, you’ll take in 165 acres of scenery. You can also visit two flower gardens. One park’s gardens are a replica of our first President, George Washington.
The park is an excellent spot for a picnic and exploration, complete with restrooms. However, there are also activities, including volleyball and paddleboarding. There are activities for the entire family.
Other activities include the following:
- Recreation center
- Picnic table, grills
- Horseshoe pits
- Basketball, tennis courts
- Lawn bowling
- Water foundations
For a beautiful day in the city, your kids can walk or ride their bikes on the trail. Bring a picnic lunch, and let your little ones run wild at the playground. You’ll enjoy impeccable sights and shopping near historic homes in the neighborhood.
You’ll love spending your next getaway in the city. There are plenty of free things to do in Denver with kids, from exhibits to parks. Although you’ll plan ahead of time, you’ll also save. Family activities don’t have to cost you, as you’ll find the best free deals.
Whether you live close or are looking for a road trip adventure, you and your kids can also save. Your free guide is now complete. So, it’s time to plan your next family trip to Denver.
More about our TFVG Author
Caitlin is one of The Family Vacation Guide's long standing contributors. She enjoys taking vacation to busy, vibrant cities and has stretched her traveling legs out towards Europe in recent months, enjoying new experiences in Barcelona in Spain, and Nice in France.