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Kid’s Guide to Denver, Boulder & Colorado Ski Country

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Grab a backpack.

But not just any backpack.  These backpacks at the Denver Art Museum are designed to inspire kids to become lifelong art lovers—and art museum goers.

You can live like a Chinese scholar in one exhibit or create an American Indian horse mask; discover European fashion or become a detective as you make your way through the furniture gallery.

Did I mention these backpacks are free?  They’re designed for different age groups, including for preschoolers.  And if you are short on time, the kids can grab an art tube with one simple activity, like decorating special specs to enhance your viewing pleasure.  Fun!   No wonder on weekends and school break times, one in four visitors are kids.

And Given Denver’s large Hispanic population, every activity is bilingual.

It turns out that some 20 years ago, the Denver Art Museum was the first in the country to not only embrace families but to introduce backpacks-to-borrow as a way to engage kids. What is really amazing about this museum is that the family activities aren’t limited to these backpacks—as wonderful as they are—or to a family discovery museum.  There are hands-on activities all around the museum, including an area for the youngest museum goers.

“I like that you can do your own stuff at this museum, not just look at things,” said 10-year-old Roisin, visiting with her mom Theresa.

“The Denver Museum is really based around kids,” agreed Henry, 11,  visiting from Minneapolis

They were among the more than 100 kids—locals and those visiting—interviewed for my  Kid’s Guide to Denver, Boulder  & Colorado Ski Country. And predictably, they had some really good ideas for seeing museums through their eyes:

Colorado kids, not surprisingly, spend a lot of time outdoors.  But you might be surprised at what matters most:

  • On a bike trail, It’s especially fun “when you get to bike next to a river!” offered Olivia, 11, from Denver.
  • Camping is especially fun when you can camp “by rivers and lakes” said Jacob, 11, Gunnison
  • Rocky Mountain National Park is most fun in fall when you can see elk, suggested Archer, 12, from Denver.
  • Hiking is especially fun in summer “because it’s fun to see all the different flowers.” Lauren, 10, Denver

“I love living in Colorado,” declared Eve, 12, who lives in Denver, “because there are so many places to go and so many things  you’ll never forget!” 

Just remind the kids that next time they complain they’re bored.

Eileen Ogintz writes the syndicated column and website Taking the Kids  and is the author of the Kid’s Guide series to 10 major American cities.  

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson April 19, 2016

    I love the idea of a book recommending children’s activities from children!

  • comment avatar Randy April 19, 2016

    I’m surprised how few people have ever been to the DAM, even after they implemented the free admission for youth. Go, go go.