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2019 Denver Summer Activity Guide (150+ ideas!)

Warmer weather is here! As the sun lingers in the sky longer before settling behind the mountains, how should we fill the time? What activities are sure to be a hit?

Well, with the help of our readers (yes, that’s you!) Mile High Mamas has compiled a list of fun activities in the Denver area this summer.  All of these places and activities in one handy list!?  Awesome!

Need an idea for an inside activity? It’s here!
Need a new outside activity to try? It’s here!

See something that isn’t on the list? Let us know, and we’ll add it! Be sure to bookmark this page and check back often. It’s your Summer 2019 Guide to Fun in Denver. 

Don’t miss 2019 Summer Vacation in Colorado: 75+ ideas for families. Also, scroll to the bottom of this article for our recommendations for Denver’s best hikes, splash parks, waterfalls and more. 

Indoor Activities

Get in out of the sun (or rain) and have an indoor adventure!

  • American Paintball Coliseum – The coliseum is comprised of indoor and outdoor paintball fields. The indoor fields are split into two arenas, one with giant inflatable obstacles, the other with heaps of corrugated plastic tubing. The paint is water-soluble, and remnants of matches make floors sticky.
  • Apex CenterApex Center (Arvada)–Perfect for a hot weather day, this recreation and entertainment center houses two ice rinks, an awesome indoor aquatic play area, climbing wall, gyms, indoor track, a FREE indoor playground and more.
  • Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities – Whether you play on Squiggles, an Interactive Sculpture Park, or go inside to see a children’s play or class, there’s plenty to do at the Arvada Center. 
  • Boondocks Fun Center – Boondocks Fun Center in Northglenn is an 8-acre indoor-outdoor fun facility. Indoors you’ll find a futuristic laser-tag arena, a dual-seat Max Flight Simulator and a broad sweep of arcade games that run from Dance Dance Revolution (hilarious to watch) to a Panzer tank simulator. From tiny tots to older teens, there’s a game appropriate for every player.
  • Brown Palace – The Brown Palace is a luxury hotel in Denver, and it’s considered to be a national treasure. Take advantage of one of the free tours, which are held every week.
  • Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave (Golden) – The Buffalo Bill Museum’s exhibits include memorabilia from Buffalo Bill’s life and Wild West shows, Indian artifacts, antique firearms and more. The spectacular views overlooking Denver are a bonus.
  • Butterfly Pavilion – This small and cozy museum still boasts a lot of bang for the buck. When have you last held a tarantula? Or better yet, stood in a tropical enclosure while tons of butterflies flitted around you? Definitely worth the jump up Highway 36.
  • Celestial Seasonings – Head up to Boulder to explore “the world’s most advanced tea production plant.” (Children must be 5 years or older to go on the factory portion of the tour.) Enjoy the artwork and free tea samples!
  • Cherry Creek Mall – The children’s Play Area is located on the lower level in front of Macy’s. Children can enjoy a “Play Park” theme area complete with a fountain, slide, wagon, rowboat and much more.
  • Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus – This museum is the perfect place to explore and learn! From crawling around in the nature tunnels to building something in the workshop, there’s something for every child to enjoy. Joy Park, a 30,000 sq ft outdoor experience is filled with outdoor activities designed to captivate children’s imaginations, including zip-lining, climbing, spelunking, splashing, digging and messy all-in-play. Coming Soon: Adventure Forest. The museum is free to the public on the first Tuesday evening of the month.
  • Climbing Walls – Are you or your kids climbing the walls? Take them to climb the walls…for real! Check out the climbing walls at Dick’s Sporting Goods or REI!
  • Colorado Model Railroad Museum: Examine intricate model railroad layouts, a wooden caboose from the Colorado and Southern Railroad and more than 1,000 railroad artifacts. See actual trains come and go on nearby tracks.
  • Colorado Railroad Museum (Golden)–Lose track of time year-round at this 15-acre railyard featuring over 100 engines, cabooses and coaches, a garden railway, renowned library and roundhouse restoration facility with working turntable.
  • Colorado State Capitol building – Home of the Colorado Legislature and Governor. Give the kids a great history lesson and cross the street to Civic Center Park for a picnic.
  • Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum – Housed in Sports Authority Field At Mile High Stadium, the museum honors the legacies of The Mile High City’s greatest sports heroes, and features the Gallery of Legends, a “Great Moments in Colorado Sports” exhibit and a section celebrating the achievements of girls and women in Colorado Sports.

    (Dart Warz)

  • Dart Warz (Centennial)–Want an ultra cool alternative to paintball or airsoft? Look no further than Dart Warz.
  • Denver Art Museum – Visit the Denver Art Museum this summer where kids receive FREE general admission every day! There is plenty to do during #SummerofPlay2019 at the DAM including family-friendly artmaking in the galleries and in the Paint Studio (opening June 1).
  • Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys – This museum “provides educational and cultural services to the greater Rocky Mountain region through the preservation, exhibition, collection and interpretation of the visual arts using miniatures, dolls and toys.”
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science– DMNS is one of the premier natural history and science museums in the western United States with Exhibitions, IMAX and planetarium shows, activities, and so much more. Current exhibition: Our Senses: Creating Your Reality.
  • Downtown Aquarium. So maybe we actually have a rainy day here and there this summer? Perfect! Head to the Aquarium and see the fish! Plus, they still have the tigers from when this museum was more about following the path of water around the world. AND you now have lots of extra kid-friendly activities, like touching some of the aquatics on display, or eating lunch surrounded by real fish tanks.
  • Family Sports Center. This 150,000 square foot facility in Centennial is full of attractions including ice skating, laser tag, eXerGame Zone, inflatables, climbing wall, bumper cars, an outdoor 18-hole miniature golf course, food concessions and a restaurant.
  • Fat Cats Fun Bowling – Once home to a skatepark, this well-kept, cavernous building now houses a state-of-the-art, 29-lane bowling alley. Clean and hopping, this alley offers bowlers and bystanders, from tykes to teenagers, a friendly place to party.
  • Defy Gravity’s (Thornton) new park features over 35 trampolines, including the famous angled wall trampolines, launching decks, Ninja Obstacle Course, Extreme Dodgeball, Trapeze, Battle Beams and so much more in a 36,000 square foot facility.
  • The Denver Firefighters Museum (downtown) – The Museum offers not only outstanding exhibits on the history of fire fighting in Denver focusing on the Denver Fire Department, but innovative and exciting hands-on activities that allow visitors to interact with the traditional exhibits.

    Denver Puppet Theater

  • The Denver Puppet Theater – The Denver Puppet Theater has been ranked “the best children’s theater in Colorado” by The Denver Post and “the best kids’ outing” by 5280 Magazine. The shows are designed for kids 3 and up.
  • FTW | Lucky Strike. Smack in the middle of Downtown Denver you can find a Pac-Man game screen a screen square footage that’s bigger than a bedroom, an upscale bowling alley and 100 other arcade, pinball, and carnival style games that light up and lure kids of all ages.
  • GameWorks – Located at the Shops at Northfield Stapleton, features 165 games, a two-story Laser Tag arena modeled after League of Legends and The Guardians genres of gaming, a top of the line eSports center, and more.
  • Great Play (Parker, Cherry Creek)–This unique gym for kids 6 months-10 years old makes it fun while developing motor skills, sport skills, fitness and coordination in their patented Interactive Arena.
  • Hammonds Candy Factory Tour (Denver) – Hammond’s complimentary candy factory tours are fun and educational for candy lovers of all ages. Hundreds of thousands of people from across the globe have seen how our famous, handcrafted candy canes, ribbon candy, and lollipops are pulled, twisted, and shaped by hand. No reservations are required for small groups.
  • History Colorado Center–This $110 million experiential museum makes Colorado history fun and has exciting new workshops and exhibits. Explore the connections and continuities with the new special exhibit “Play Ball: A Celebration of America’s Game.”
  • iFly Denver. This indoor flight facility in Lonetree offers free-fall adventures, with room for parties, meetings & lessons. Flight school is the most rewarding way for kids ages 4-16 to experience the power of flight.
  • Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park (Littleton, Lakewood, Greenwood Village) – Wall-to-wall trampolines provide fun, indoor exercise and a perfect outlet for inclement weather days.
  • Jungle Quest (Littleton). Exciting Indoor Ziplines, Huge Safari Swing, 20-foot High Rock Climbing Wall, Swinging Cargo Net, Burma Bridges, Treehouse and Slides and Jungle Caves –for Kids 5 and up.
  • Koelbel Library – This library in Littleton is great because it has a great used book store and cafe! You can check out books and then read them over coffee, apple juice and cookies.
  • Littleton Museum. Located on 39 acres, this free museum consists of two living history farms (one from the 1860’s and one from the 1890’s), a small lake, a collections center, and a main exhibition and administration building.
  • Lollipop Park (Centennial)–This indoor children’s amusement park is located inside the Family Sports Center and offers a carousel, bounce castles, train ride, small Ferris wheel, teacup ride and more.
  • The Longmont Museum has hands-on education programs for all ages, an outdoor concert/performance series each summer and a gift shop featuring local history books, souvenirs, and exhibit-related materials.
  • Lyons Pinball Arcade – When it’s too hot to be outside, duck in for classic pinball and ’80s arcade games. Stop next door for a family-friendly lunch at Oscar Blues or the Colorado Cherry Company for the best pies and ciders around.

    (Mid-air Adventures)

  • Mid-air Adventures. Mid-Air Adventures offers a safe, active and unique experience for guests of all ages. Our 12,000 sq. ft. facility offers giant swings, zip lines, 20’ climbing wall, rope bridges, slides and a toddler area.
  • Molly Brown House Museum – Learn about the life and times of “Unsinkable” Molly Brown in her restored Victorian home in Denver, Colorado. This is one of the most visited historic sites in the state of Colorado, and one of only a handful of sites nationally dedicated to the interpretation of a woman’s story. Admission to the Molly Brown House Museum is by guided tour only.
  • Money Museum. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City-Denver Branch’s Money Museum offers an opportunity to learn about the Federal Reserve Bank. And, best of all, it’s free! Walk-ins are welcome and groups can make advance reservations. On your way out, don’t forget to get your bag of shredded money.
  • Mizel Museum. Rooted in Jewish values that have universal relevance, the Mizel Museum is a gem tucked away in a residential area in Denver’s Hilltop neighborhood. Kids will love their interactive road map as they journey along the 4,000 Year Road Trip: Gathering Sparks. They’ll learn about art, artifacts and digital media that narrates and illuminates Jewish history and culture.
  • Monkey Bizness (Centennial, Denver, Lone Tree) -You’ll find interactive inflatables, play structures, climbing walls, and games of all shapes and sizes. There is a separate section just for toddlers with their own play equipment.
  • Museo de las Americas – The diversity of Latin American art and culture is the focus of this museum in Denver.
  • Museum of Contemporary Art – This museum is an ever-changing group of works. Experience culture in the making. This museum is good for older kids: pre-teens or teens…and above!
  •  National Center for Atmospheric Research. Learn about global warming, the 21st century’s hottest topic, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. See a hailstone the size of a softball, watch as a miniature tornado is whipped up in front of your eyes, and get an up close look at how lightning is created.
  • Punch Bowl Social. Social is the name of the game at this Baker kitchen and funhouse with bowling, a vintage arcade, table games and karaoke that’s family friendly by day and party central after dark.
  • Pump It Up – Pump It Up is “the inflatable party zone,” with different obstacle courses, slides and jump-as-much-as-you-can fun! It’s not just a place for parties! Check out the website for the “pop-in playtimes” at a location near you!

    Toy Library

  • Smiley Library. The lower level of the Smiley Library has a toy library where you can actually check out toys to take home with you. 
  • StoryTime – Get in out of the heat and enjoy a StoryTime at your local library including Denver Public Library, Jefferson County Public Library, Boulder Public Library, and the Adams County (Rangeview) Public Library. Be sure to check out the Summer Reading Programs, too!
  • United States Mint Tour (downtown) – Discover how our currency is made and take home a souvenir – FREE. Reservations are required for the 45-minute tours that are run every 90 minutes. Book early; these fill up several weeks in advance. 
  • VoiceBox. This is not your average karaoke lounge. Yes, there’s a full bar for the adults and a great and highly-rated food menu that kids love…but that’s just the beginning of the fun. 
  • The Wild Game Entertainment Experience (Longmont and Evergreen) – Get competitive and interactive with over 50 video and prize games, bowling, live bands, sporting events and more. 

Wizard's Chest

  • Wings Over the Rockies Aircraft & Space Museum – This museum is located in the former Lowry AFB on the east side of Denver, in a World War II-era Hangar. “Cockpit demo days” are the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 pm.
  • Wizard’s Chest – Need some magic in your life? Take the kids to Wizard’s Chest in Cherry Creek. Check their calendar for upcoming events.

Outdoor Activities 

Explore the great outdoors! Enjoy the sun (but don’t forget the sunscreen) and see what outdoor adventures you can find!

  • Aspen Grove – They have summer movie nights with fun vendors/goodies for the kids. They also have “A Paris Street Market” on first Saturdays. Check out their website for a complete listing of events.
  • Belleview Park – Belleview park has a stream that is great for wading or catching crawfish, a train to ride, and a children’s farm with a petting zoo.
  • Berry Patch Farms – Berry Patch Farms opens in June for the season. It’s a pick-your-own fruit place! It’s free to get in, and you only pay for what you pick. Luckily, they don’t weigh you when you get there and when you leave, because it’s hard to resist eating strawberries and raspberries right off the vine. The kids love wandering around in the yard with the chickens, turkeys, and pot-bellied pig, and picking out wonderful fresh produce in the farmhouse for supper.
  • Bluff Lake Nature Center – This urban wildlife refuge and “outdoor classroom” is located on the eastern edge of Stapleton, and is open from sunrise to sunset. Be sure to check out their calendar for different events through the summer or venture out there any day of the week to find some quiet time away from the city!
  • Carson Nature Center – The South Platte Park and Carson Nature Center in Littleton has hands-on activities focused on Colorado wildlife. Biking and hiking trails and close proximity to Aspen Grove shopping center located in Littleton.
  • Centennial Center Park – This 11-acre park includes an awesome playground, water features, picnic facilities, the historical timeline of the Cherry Creek Basin and am amphitheater. Adjacent to the Centennial Civic Center.

    Chautauqua Dining Hall

  • Chautauqua Park – The Kids’ Park at Chautauqua in Boulder is another favorite spot. It has a slide built into the side of the mountain, a fun play house, a ranger’s station, great hikes, epic dining at the Dining Hall and the best view around!
  • Chatfield State Park – This is the perfect park for boating, swimming, hiking, bicycling or riding horses. Chatfield Reservoir has many different types of activities to beat summer boredom.
  • Cherry Creek State Park – This park is great for hiking, swimming, or skipping rocks! One mile south of I-225 on Parker Road at Lehigh (a light). You can walk down by the Reservoir to skip stones and picnic at covered tables. If you’re a boater, there’s ramp access. Follow the wetlands trail (foot path only) to see some of the shyer wildlife, or use the longer paved trails that run as long at 6 miles, great for bikes. There is a walk-in entrance (free!) at the corner of Quincy and Parker.
  • City Park – Denver’s largest park has a lot to boast about. The Denver Zoo to the north (check-out the new tiger exhibit), Denver Museum of Nature & Science to the east, several playgrounds in the middle – including a large lake with paddle boats shaped like ducks! Not to mention City Park Jazz all summer long. What’s not to love?
  • Civic Green Park in Highlands Ranch – Next to the Highlands Ranch Library, this park has fun interactive fountains, a wading stream, a playground and lots of great events, free yoga classes, and concerts all summer. The park is next to the Highlands Ranch Library, which has lots of great story times and kids’ activities.
  • Clear Creek Valley Park

    Clear Creek Valley Park. The 81-acre Clear Creek Valley Park is now open in Federal Heights with trails, fields, destination playground, water feature zip line, fishing pond & more!

  • Clement Park (Littleton)–Clement Park is set on a 60-acre lake with a 1.4-mile walking path around it, tennis course, baseball fields, batting cages, multi-purpose fields, horseshoe pits and three separate playgrounds
  • Colorado Rockies Game – Maybe they will recapture the magic of the 2007 season this year? Um, who cares. It’s all about the experience. The big, beautiful field, the crack of the ball, the COTTON CANDY. Get seats on the 3rd base side to avoid the intense afternoon sun. And yes, the line of purple chairs are exactly a mile high.
  • Confluence Park – Even though we are in a dry climate, we still have plenty of water. Head down to Confluence Park and watch the kayakers strut their stuff (on the river that is) and play along the shore to keep cool. Even better, bring a picnic lunch. On Saturday nights, check out the amazing energy of the drummers, fire dancers and jugglers.
  • Cure Organic Farm – Volunteer at this farm in Boulder. The farm has set volunteer hours each week, and they are seasonally based. It’s totally kid friendly (the owner has kids) and super fun! You and your kids can help, play and learn.
  • Dad Clark Park – This park in Highlands Ranch has a playground, picnic area, basketball court and a separate off-leash dog area.
  • Delaney Historic Farm – Show your kids a working farm, not that far from the city at 170 S Chambers Road in Aurora. They have guided tours, and there are also beekeeping tours.
  • Denver Botanic Gardens – Make your very own “photo day” outing by packing the camera gear and head over to the gardens with your budding photographer(s) in tow. Share some cinematic love through the viewfinder. Not only are the flowers amazing, so is the company. Two locations in Denver and at Chatfield.
  • Denver Municipal Band – Check out the band at a variety of local parks this summer. Bring the blanket and picnic and let the kids run around.
  • Denver Skatepark – We are really lucky in Denver. A variety of crazy fun things to do – even a very large and intricate skate park right near Millennium Bridge. But go early, when its cooler and it is the best time to bring little ones… before the professionals, I mean hipsters, take over the skate tricks. Feel free to bring scooters if your kids are not proficient on boards yet.
  • Denver Zoo – The summer wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Zoo! It’s the perfect place for you and your own little monkeys to check out the other animals. 
  • Dinosaur Ridge and Dakota Hogback – See some dinos – or what’s left of them anyway. Dinosaur Ridge features famous Jurassic dinosaur bones, such as Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus, discovered in 1877, and Cretaceous dinosaur footprints. The  Dinosaur Ridge Discovery Center near Red Rocks is free to the public.

    Eldorado Pool

  • Eldorado Canyon State Park – Located just five miles southwest of Boulder and 30 miles from Denver, this park is like a hidden treasure. It’s a great place for hiking, climbing and picnicking. Cool down at Eldorado Swimming Pool, an outdoor pool that is fed directly from the artisan spring and has been a popular resort since its opening in 1905.
  • Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park – Elitch Gardens is Denver’s own 70-acre amusement and water park located downtown! Check out the rides, shows and attractions and dive-in movies. New this year: Meow Wolf’s Kaleidoscape!
  • Farmer’s Market – Check out this link to find a local farmer’s market in your area.
  • Film on the Rocks – There is always at least one beloved kid film in this series at Red Rocks. The kids will love climbing the stairs and a special night out under the stars.
  • First Fridays Art Walk in Denver – On the first Friday of every month, you’ll get a chance to experience the work of artists from around the world and next door. Over 30 galleries on Santa Fe in Denver participate in this event!
  • Four Mile Historic Park – This park is just four miles from downtown Denver and features Denver’s oldest standing structure. This park is great for school-age kids and beyond. For a unique peek into Colorado’s frontier past, check it out.
  • FlatIron Crossing – Looking for a giant sandbox? Check out the play area in front of the FlatIron Crossing while you shop.
  • Harlow Park and Pool -This outdoor park and pool at Belleview and Federal has a fun baby pool and slides and is rarely busy.
  • High Line Canal – This trail is a great for hiking, biking, jogging and horseback riding. There so much to see and much of it is shady.
  • Hudson Gardens (Littleton) – The Hudson Gardens’ 30 acres non-profit botanical gardens are located along the bank of the South Platte River. Admission is free every day.
  • Lair o’ the Bear Park – Open Space – This favorite park is near Evergreen. There’s a small hike that is good for kids but also a great picnic area and a spot to fish. Three things to love!
  • Louisville Community Park is a park that has it all. There is a grassy area for the kids to run free in, spray grounds to cool off in the summer, a large sandbox, playground and even a dog park with swim beach to watch the pooches play.
  • Letterboxing – This hobby will get you out and about all over the Denver Metro! Letterboxing like a treasure hunt, but instead of hunting for buried treasure, you solve puzzles and decipher clues that lead to hidden boxes containing carvings. Collect these stamps and/or hide some of your own.
  • Lakeside Amusement Park – Lakeside isn’t your typical amusement park, and that’s why we like it. The art-deco signs and original architecture are showing their age, but the place has character. The kiddie rides are old school and you can bring your own picnic.
  • Lion’s Park in Golden – Not only is there a great playground with a huge sandbox, picnic area and Farmer’s Market, the kids love to watch the kayakers on the Clear Creek Whitewater Park.
  • Majestic View Nature Center (Arvada)–Majestic View Nature Center and Community Park has more than majestic views–The 3,000- square foot Nature Center features hands-on nature and environmental displays, wildlife exhibits, a kid’s area, classrooms and meeting space.
  • Morrison Nature Center at Star K Ranch (Aurora). Star K Ranch “regulars” include mule deer, painted turtles, snapping turtles, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels, western meadowlarks, great horned owls, and blue jays. Costumes, blocks, puppets, kids’ books, and live animal exhibits make Morrison Nature Center a great place for kids.
  • Matthew Winters Park – This is the perfect gentle hike for young kids, and it’s close to Red Rocks. There is very little shade so be sure to go in the morning or evening on hot days.
  • Mother Cabrini Shrine – No matter your religious views, it can be spiritually uplifting to climb to the top and take in the breathtaking view of the city (no strollers).
  • Nottingham Park – This park in Westminster is awesome! The ground beneath the massive play structure is spongy, and there is equipment for all ages of kids. There are picnic tables under awnings, the perfect place for a shaded picnic. And, there’s a stream to explore.
  • Pearl Street Mall, Boulder – The Pearl Street Mall in Boulder is always a happenin‘ place. Stroll along the pedestrian mall, checking out the street performers, shops, spray fountain, shaded areas and great views.
  • Plains Conservation Center – Discover your local prairie. This conservation center is “an outdoor education facility and state-designated natural area consisting of two sites totaling approximately 8,894 acres.”
  • Platte Valley Trolley Ride – Experience a piece of history on this open-air trolley ride that takes you past REI, Confluence Park, the Children’s Museum and Invesco Field.
  • Red Rocks – We have one of the best concert venues in the whole country right in our back yard. Check out the schedule to see what concerts you may want to attend, or try to get up the hill to see a movie under the stars via Film on the Rocks. For a killer workout, brave the stairs or hike the Amphitheater Loop while rewarding yourself with fudge at the Trading Post.
  • Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge (Commerce City)–Located 10 minutes from downtown Denver, this 17,000-acre refuge is one of the largest urban wildlife refuges in the United States. It consists of open lakes, wetlands, prairie grasslands, and woodlands and an excellent hands-on visitor’s center.
  • Sensory Park – This park was built in cooperation with Children’s Hospital and is 100% accessible to children of all ages and abilities. It’s tucked away from view, nestled between Church Ranch Blvd and Olde Wadsworth Blvd, just down the embankment from the SuperTarget in the Walnut Creek shopping area.
  • Sixteenth Street Mall – This 16-block-long pedestrian and transit mall in Downtown Denver is home to numerous cafes and retail merchants. Stroll along or take the free shuttle!
  • Stapleton’s Central Park – Stapleton was smart when they named this park after the famous New York park. Because it’s HUGE. It’s GINORMOUS. And the play area has some of the coolest equipment around!
  • Tiny Town & Railroad – Tiny Town is just west of Denver, about ½ mile from the intersection of 285 and South Turkey Creek. It’s a tiny town! And, there’s a train you can ride! They also have an awesome playground. The oldest kid-size village in the United States that will remind just how big you really are.
  • Washington Park – “Wash Park” is a great place to rent a paddleboat, play on one of the playgrounds, or pack a picnic. Don’t forget to stop by Bonnie Brae Ice Cream for a scoop (or two) of ice cream.
  • Westlands Park – This park in Greenwood Village has been ranked as one of the best parks in the metro area. The playgrounds include areas for kids of all ages and abilities. There is also an in-line hockey rink, playing fields, natural water sculpture and more.
  • White Ranch Park – This is a great spot to walk your dog and hike with the family, just off Highway 93 with East and West access that both offer gorgeous city views.
  • The Wild Animal Sanctuary – The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a 720 acre refuge for more than 350 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves and other large carnivores…

Water Fun:

Whether they’re indoor or outdoor, these fun water parks and spraygrounds are sure to help you beat the heat!

The following is a sampling of water fun. Be sure to check out our extensive guide to Guide to Denver’s Splash Pads and Spray Fountains, divided by geographic area. 

  • The Apex Center Pool – The Apex Center in Arvada features a 23,000 square foot indoor water fun area, complete with water slides, zero-depth pool, and family hot tub.
  • Argo Park & Pool – Located in north Denver, this pool has a beach entrance for the little kids!
  • Bear Creek Lake – Bear Creek Lake near Morrison almost feels like a real beach! Pack a picnic lunch and spend a day at the beach without leaving Colorado. Explore the extensive network of hiking and horse trails.
  • Brighton Oasis Family Water Park. This family-friendly water park features a large tube slide and a body flume slide, a lazy river with zero depth entry and a wave generator, a tot pool with zero-depth entry and interactive play features as well as a water basketball area.
  • Eldorado Swimming Pool– The surroundings are gorgeous in this historic swimming pool at the base of Eldorado State Park outside of Boulder. The pool is fed directly from the artesian spring.
  • Great Plains Park (Spray park & Playground) – East of Tower on the south side of Jewell, it feels a little like you’ve driven past civilization, but trust us it’s there! The spray park runs from 10 am to 8 pm, and the park itself is open 8 am to sunset. Unlike some parks we’ve been to, there IS a potty. The playground has the smaller scale toddler side and a big-kid side. There is access from Jewell, and also walking access from the neighborhood just south of there.
  • Harlow Park and Pool – This outdoor park and pool at Belleview and Federal has a fun baby pool and slides and is rarely very busy!
  • Lake Arbor Center & Outdoor Pool – This pool in Arvada is a great place to cool off in the summer heat! Play on the water slides, or the zero-depth pool or the pool geysers! Bring a picnic lunch and play at the adjacent park & playground.
  • Pirates Cove Aquatic Center – Small kids can have a blast at this water park without getting rundown by teens. The aquatic center offers a leisure pool with a large play structure, a 25-meter, 6-lane pool, a 35-foot slide tower with three slides and a lazy river.
  • Southlands Spray Park – This big spray park is right in front of the theater, with benches and grassy areas for picnicking. A very popular spot, especially on “Free Movie” days.
  • Splash at Fossil Trace in Golden is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and is the largest water park in Jefferson County. Come and enjoy the waterslides, fountains, and “beach” area. There is something fun for kids of all ages, from 1 to 100.
  • Stapleton Town Center Fountains – How much better does it get than to sip an iced coffee and dangle your toes while your kids splash happily in the side-by-side fountains in the Stapleton Town Center on 29th Ave. and Roslyn. One is sunken with wide, gentle stones and mere inches of water — great for wee ones. The other rises like a pyramid of slabs that invite ascension to the top and vigorous splashing in the moat below. Go on Sunday mornings when there is a fun farmers market across the street from the fountains.
  • Water WorldSunset Swimming Pool – This outdoor pool in Longmont is great for kids. What’s not to love about a great big curvy slide!
  • Water World – Sometimes we can forget what a gem we have in this awesome water park just a hop and a skip up I-25 to 88th and Pecos. Featuring nearly 50 attractions for the entire family, Water World is one of the country’s premier family water parks and has something for the littlest toddler to the largest teenager and everyone in between. AND you can STILL bring picnic lunches. Score!
  • Westminster Promenade Fountains – A favorite free activity is to run through the fountains at the Westminster Promenade. It’s a sure way to beat the heat!

(At the time of publication, the above links and information were correct.  If you find something that needs to be changed, let us know!)

Other Great Resources:

Denver’s best new playgrounds for 2019

Family travel: Top 8 Family Vacations

Guide to Denver’s Splash Parks and Spray Fountains

Best Hikes for Kids in the Denver area

Where to pull of I-70 when you’re stuck in traffic (fun activities and restaurants)

10 Beautiful Places in Colorado You Didn’t Know About

Borrow a Colorado State Parks Pass from Your Library

Yurt Village at Snow Mountain Ranch is Star-lit Fun

Cool Off This Summer at Colorado’s Best Beaches

A Local’s Guide to Gunnison’s Magical Summers

Best Denver-area Parks for Beginner Trail Runners (and hikers)

10 of Colorado’s most scenic waterfall hikes

Deals: Free succulents at farmer’s market, teacher appreciation and more!

I love a reason for a party! This weekend we will have both Cinco De Mayo as well as the Kentucky Derby. Maybe I will wear my fancy hat while I take down a plate of nachos?

 Farmers Market. Its’ time again for farmer’s markets! The Union Station Farmer’s Market opens on May 11 – giving the first 100 moms a potted succulent. Plus, for the first year, the market will have a Chef’s Council where 5 chefs through the season will provide recipes for dishes to make with market ingredients. 

9Health Fair. Several years ago, my dad discovered he has high blood pressure, thanks to a 9Health Fair. Over 100 communities bring health screenings to their residents.  Volunteers organizes the free (or inexpensive) fairs in locations all across the state offering health screenings. To find one near you, visit  

Pikachu MovieYou and your family are invited to the advance screening of POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU on May 6th! Visit to download your complimentary passes. (While limited supplies last, passes admit up to 4. Passes do not guarantee admission as theater is overbooked. ARRIVE EARLY!) #DetectivePikachu in theaters May 10th.

RTD G Line Free. G as in Gretchen? Must be – because they combined it with the word FREE. For another week the G line will offer free rides.

 Ruby Tuesday. I love their salad bar and April 30 you can have Endless Garden Bar for just $5 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

 Dazbog Coffee. Mayor Michael B. Hancock has declared May 1 as Dazbog Day in Denver. In celebration, at all of the Dazbog shops (except the airport), get a FREE drip coffee on May 1.

 Treble by Train. Nothing says fun to me more than great music, friends and dancing!  Denver Union Station is offering Treble by Train, featuring LaPOMPE a new weekly jazz series in the Great Hall every Tuesday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. Plus Swingin’ Denver is offering FREE dance lessons on the first Tuesday of each month (at 8 p.m.)

 Elizabeth(an) Celebration. All moms/grandmas with the name (or middle name) Elizabeth who submit their favorite Mother’s Day story to The Elizabeth[Hotel]’s Facebook page will save 50% their May 11, 2019 or May 12, 2019 Mother’s Day stay. Entries are also eligible for the grand prize; a winner selected at random will receive a complimentary stay and in-room brunch.

 Mici loves Mom. Mici Handcrafted Italian loves your mom as much as you do… because they are giving her a complimentary glass of prosecco wit the purchase of any adult entrée on Mother’s Day when she dines in.

 Noodles & Company. I typically only see great deal with gift card purchases around Christmas. But, Noodles is offering a $5 bonus card for every $25 purchased in gift cards. Between April 24 and June 30 – purchase  in-store or online for the bonus card.

 Grimaldi’s. Grimaldi’s Pizzeria the New York Style pizzeria known for coal fired, brick oven pizza is celebrating teachers! Teachers will bet a 15% discount May 6-9. Also, their students and parents can nominate a teacher to win a pizza party – nominations accepted through May 9. 

Spanky’s Roadhouse. Teachers, you’re almost there. Do teachers get senioritis too? Teacher Appreciation week is May 6-10 at Spanky’s Roadhouse. Educators get a free drink when you walk in the door! No  strings. No purchase required. Simply show school ID to server (even the popular Moscow Mule is free). Also, on Mother’s Day every mother who dines for brunch will get a home-,ade card (which includes a token for a complimentary drink during a future visit).

 Elitch Gardens. Anyone else excited about the Meow Wolf-inspired Kaleidescape? I honestly have not been as excited about a ride in a long time! Parents with little ones (children three to five years of age), you have only a few more weeks – until May 19 to register your child online for the Pre-K Pass. Adult guests can purchase their 2019 Season Pass for just $69.99 which includes unlimited visits, free parking, free tickets for friends, free concerts and more. Available at or at King Soopers.

 Still Skiing. There are still a few ski areas open! Yes – you can still ski at Loveland, Arapahoe Basin and Breckenridge! Who wants to meet me?


Avid4 Adventure offers the ultimate summer camp adventures

I am frequently asked about my recommendations for the best outdoor summer camp in the Denver area and without hesitation, I always respond Avid4 Adventure because they do a fantastic job empowering Pre-K – 11th graders to develop a life-long passion for the outdoors. Summer Day Camps are offered in Boulder, Lafayette, Superior, Golden, Highlands Ranch, Washington Park, Stapleton, Greenwood Village, Castle Rock and Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

Hadley and Bode attended Avid4 Adventure summer camps for several years and learned to kayak, canoe, stand-up paddleboard, rock climb, bike, hike and thrive in the outdoors. During our latest camp, I was a bit worried my kids would take a been-there, done-that attitude but their experience could not have been farther from the truth; Avid4 Adventure does a fantastic job expanding each year. They also have Overnight Camp, a sleep away camp with two location at Mt. Evans in Evergreen and Windy Peak, a beautiful location near Bailey, Colorado. They also offer all-new backcountry overnight camp experiences that offer smaller group sizes and authentic adventures called Expeditions – be sure the check them out!

What you need to know:

  • Avid4 Adventure isn’t just a camp or a school program, it’s an authentic outdoor experience that teaches kids the skills and confidence to climb, bike, paddle, hike and thrive outdoors. Founder Dave Secunda calls it an “empowering experience meant to inspire a lifetime of outdoor participation.”
  • Their counselors aren’t just teenagers on summer break–they live and breathe the outdoors.All are age 18+, certified in First Aid and CPR (at minimum) and highly adept at teaching the time-tested curriculum. Most importantly, they’re great with kids and are inspiring role models.
  • Avid4 Adventure offers camps that build upon one another and are open to kids of all skill and ability levels. Many participants are first-timers in each sport.The curriculum and inclusive environment gives them the confidence to try new sports within their comfort level.
  • One year, my kids did Survival camp. Last year, we did our second round of Adventure Camp where every day is a different adventure—mastering mountain biking, climbing a local crag, hiking a trail, paddling a canoe or kayak. Campers take skills learned one year and then add to them the next, creating a virtuous cycle that teaches not only outdoor skills but also good communication and self-awareness.
  • Not only did we receive a “report card” at the end with all the things they learned or are still working on, the counselors took pictures every day so parents could follow vicariously at home through a private photo gallery.
  • Avid4 Adventure is American Camp Association accredited and partners include outdoor industry leaders such as Black Diamond, Specialized Bikes, Clif Kid, Leave no Trace and many more. 


Avid4 Adventure is an immersive experience that makes a deep imprint on kids, leaving them with lasting skills and new reserves of confidence they can use in all aspects of their lives. Summer 2019 Day and Overnight camps run from May – August. Learn more and sign up at 

More mental health staff and less law enforcement at our schools?

A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) finds that an overwhelming number of K-12 schools across the nation experience scarcity in school-based mental health personnel and a surplus of law enforcement personnel. The report finds that this stark contrast contributes to the over-criminalization of black, Latino and Native American students and harms students who need mental health supports.

During the past 10 years, the suicide rate among children ages 10 to 17 has increased by 70 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adolescent mental health struggles in Colorado are particularly acute; the suicide rate for teens ages 15 to 19 hit a record high in 2017, at 21 deaths by suicide per 100,000 teens in this age group and suicide is the leading cause of death among young people age 10-24 in Colorado.

School mental health counselors, psychologists, nurses and social workers often serve as the first line of defense for students, who see them as trusted adults. The benefits of investing in mental health services are clear. Schools with these services see improved attendance rates, better academic achievement, and higher graduation rates as well as lower rates of suspension, expulsion, and other disciplinary incidents. Data show that the presence of school-based mental health providers not only improves outcomes for students but can also improve overall school safety.

By contrast, there is no evidence that increased police presence in schools improves school safety. Indeed, in many cases, it causes harm and can lead to greater student alienation and a more threatening school climate.

CLICK to read full article at Colorado Children’s Campaign.

Colorado 9-year-old takes world by a snowball with new book and movie deal!

In December 2018, Dane Best, age 9 took the world by storm, putting his tiny, snowcapped town of Severance, Colorado on the map, fighting to overturn a nearly 100  year old snowball ban.  A law in Severance, Colorado states, “It is unlawful for any person to throw or shoot  any stone or any other missile upon or at any person,  animal, building, tree or other public or private property;  or at or against any vehicle or equipment designed for the transportation of persons or property.” This included snowballs, and Dane wanted to do something about it.  

 After all, can you imagine not being able to throw snowballs? Let alone in Colorado? However, overturning a century-old law was no easy task. Where do you even begin? Who would listen to a 9 year old?  “I think it’s an outdated law,” Dane said, “I want to be able to throw a snowball without getting in trouble.” Despite all odds, Dane Best was able to make history, and bring back snowball fights in Severance.  

 From acclaimed author and illustrator, Richie Frieman, Snowballs For Severance: The Terrifically True Story of Dane Best and the Snowball Ban is the real-life, true story of what can happen when someone decides to stand up for what they believe in, and make a change. Snowballs For Severance debuted at #1 as a New Release, and at #5 worldwide for Children’s Government books, in front of stories about Obama, Mandela, Roosevelt, and Ghandi. There is currently a feature film in the works as well with Kapital Entertainment, who created Wonder, This Is Us, A Million Little Things and Life In Pieces, just to name a few.

 For more information, visit and on Twitter/Instagram @RichieFrieman

Calcutta is My Mother: the Healing Journey of a Transracial Adoptee

For decades — lifetimes, really — the adoption narrative has been woven primarily by people like me: adoptive parents. To adoptive parents and to society at large, adoption can seem like a win-win construct. Longing parents get a baby/child, and the baby/child gets a forever family. All win, no loss. But in recent years adoptee voices have joined together to also influence the adoption narrative. One of those voices belongs to Reshma McClintock, the subject of the documentary Calcutta is My Mother, creator of the website Dear Adoption, daughter, wife, and mother, and former Denver-area resident. Calcutta is My Mother is the latest contribution an adoptee-led effort to encourage people in general — those who have direct experience with adoption in some way, and those who don’t — to better understand of the complexities of adoption. For all those Hallmark-moment gains to take place, there first has to be tragic, devastating, irreparable loss. And a way to heal from it. Often, that loss is not seeable by the non-adopted. Reshma says in the film that it felt as though her life started in the PDX airport because that’s where the story started for her parents. But her body knew (see The Body Keeps Score by Bessell Van Der Kolk, M.D.). Reshma’s body has always known that something hugely impactful had happened to little baby Reshma prior to arriving at PDX. Decades later, Reshma still had a need to breathe into her lungs the hot stifling air of Calcutta. She had a need to touch with her hand the wall of the orphanage she left as a 3 month-old baby. She had a need to experience in her entire body a day in the life of a typical Calcutta-born woman. She had a need to sit amid the graves of the babies who didn’t survive their short time the orphanage. Hallmark movies don’t talk about such needs. They don’t highlight the loss that made the gain possible, necessary. But real stories like Calcutta is My Mother do. We non-adoptees are able to see how validating, affirming, and healing it can be to have the chance to gather one’s pieces and grieve what was lost. I encourage you to watch this film to better understand the complexities of adoption. The Spring Tour continues (currently scheduled for Seattle, Dallas, and Phoenix), and you can keep up with the film’s Facebook page to find out where and how you can see Calcutta is My Mother. In the meantime, watch the official trailer. And make it a point from now on to listen to adoptees.


adoption bookLori Holden, mom of a teen son and a teen daughter, blogs from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition of Adoption Institute.

26 family events in Denver this week

Fun events this week include Dia de los Libros, Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, free day at Denver Museum of Nature and Science and more. See our event calendar for more information. 

Stand Against Racism Week in Boulder, Colorado 
Apr 22 – 29 
During Stand Against Racism Week, the YWCA will unite our community in a bold demonstration that delivers a clear message: we are on a mission to eliminate racism. Events are planned in nearly every state across the country including engagement in public policy and advocacy, community education, and public proclamations.

Colorado Rockies vs. Washington Nationals at Coors Field – Home of the Colorado Rockies 
Apr 22 – 24 
Enjoy exciting major league baseball and come out to this series between the Colorado Rockies and the Washington Nationals.

Pandas Home at Lone Tree Arts Center 
Apr 23 – 25, 10:00 pm
Venture into the culture and history of distant China by following footprints left by a panda. Through the use of dance, sound, interactive projected images, and play, the performers and children alike will encounter bamboo forests, monsters, fireworks, and kites as they explore the five elements of Wu Xing—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.

Wild Dreams Overnight at Downtown Aquarium 
Apr 26, 6:00 – 11:45 pm
Bring your sleeping bag and snooze amongst the sharks and rays! Have an exciting night at the Downtown Aquarium to explore the exhibits, learn about the animals and their habitats, make a craft, play games and much more. T-shirts & breakfast included.

Glendale Raptors vs. Rugby United New York at Infinity Park Event Center 
Apr 26, 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
The Major League Rugby Season continues with the Glendale Raptors hosting Rugby United New York at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado!

Boulder County Kids Sale at Boulder Valley Christian Church 
Apr 27,  8:00 am – 1:00 pm
It’s finally here! Twice a year, Mile High Mamas does a round-up detailing Colorado’s popular children’s consignment sales. Thousands of shoppers find bargains on kids’ clothing for newborn-preteen, toys, strollers, furniture, baby equipment, books, shoes, maternity items and more…all at 50-90% below retail.

Inside the Orchestra’s Tiny Tots Concert at McNichols Civic Center Building, Denver Arts & Venues 
Apr 27, 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Tiny Tots gets children truly inside the orchestra by seating the audience on the floor and surrounding them with a 30+ piece orchestra. Designed for children six and under, this 45-minute program gives young ones the chance to interact with the music and learn about the instruments in the process. Tiny Tots audiences receive an up-close-and-personal performance in a casual, fun environment. The experience is one-of-a-kind!

Family Discovery Series: OOPS at The Schoolhouse at Mainstreet 
Apr 27, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Through slapstick humor, audience interaction and shadow play, Suzzie Sazzypants and her assistant Felix present a fantastical story about learning from failure and finding joy in imperfection.

Super Kids Expo at Orchard Town Center 
Apr 27, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Come explore everything your community has to offer for families this summer! Camps, schools, classes, fun, demonstrations and freebies. Plus, tons of free entertainment! Battle of Superheroes, Pony Rides, Bouncy Castle, Rock Climbing Wall, Sports Demos, Kids Performances, Camp Giveaways, and more!

Shakespeare in the Parking Lot at The Plaza at Riverfront Park 
Apr 27, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Join us on April 27th for back-to-back performances of Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, right at the base of the Millennium Bridge in Riverfront Park. Actors from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts will perform modern-day, abridged adaptations of two Shakespearean plays—Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream—all from the back of an old pick-up truck.

Swan Lake Act 3 and Mother Goose Fairy Tales at Lakewood Cultural Center 
Apr 27 – Apr 28, 7:00 pm
Ballet Ariel’s season finale will feature Act 3 of the timeless masterpiece Swan Lake, alongside the premiere of Mother Goose Fairy Tales.

Cherry Creek Sneak at Cherry Creek 
Apr 28, 7:00 – 9:00 am
The Cherry Creek Sneak is the Denver must for runners, walkers, families, and elite runners too. Runners and walkers participate in the 10-mile, 5-mile, and 3.1-mile (5k). There’s even a ½-mile Kids’ Fun Run for kids ages 8 and under! After the event, join in the fun at the after-party with free beer (for 21+, of course), sponsor and vendor giveaways, and more.

Free Day at Denver Museum of Nature and Science 
Apr 28, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Free Day!

Apr 28, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Enjoy free admission, family-friendly programming, and live music and dances that celebrates children from around the world at the Denver Art Museum.

Raising Kindness Downtown Denver Family Volunteering Event Benefiting Family Tree at Colorado Collaborative for Non-Profits Training Center
Apr 28, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

In April, we are partnering with Family Tree, a non-profit human services agency that provides innovative, life-changing services designed to end child abuse, domestic violence and homelessness. 100 Raising Kindness volunteers will have the opportunity to complete multiple hands-on service learning projects to benefit the 26,000 clients of Family Tree in the greater Denver community.

Jeff and Paige at Kid’s Cycle Fest at Erie Velodrome 
Apr 28, 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Jeff & Paige team up with Moxie Moms for our 1st ever event at the Erie Velodrome!

Expect an outdoor, bicycle and springtime-themed J&P concert at 1:30 pm in the center of Erie’s own bicycle raceway; concert complete with science and nature kids’ music, educational skits, quick/copious costume changes and loads of audience participation.

Dia de los Libros at Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus 
Apr 29, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Día de los Libros is a celebration of children, families and culture, all through a love of reading! Join us for a day of bilingual StoryTimes, plus crafts and activities inspired by books and our diverse world. Included with Museum admission.

Ongoing General Events

Butterflies at Chatfield Farms
May 25 – September 2
$4, $2 Gardens or Butterfly Pavilion member, free for children 2 and under
This seasonal habitat is home to hundreds of native butterflies such as swallowtails, monarchs, mourning cloaks and painted ladies. The plants in this house are used as a nectar source for butterfly food and designed to create a whimsical atmosphere for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Learn what types of plants you can add to your garden to attract butterflies and other pollinators. Presented with Butterfly Pavilion.

Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America at the Denver Art Museum
May 5 –August 25
Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America presents the concept of playfulness in postwar American design as a catalyst for creativity and innovation. This exhibition explores how employing playfulness allowed designers to bring fresh ideas to the American home, children’s toys and play spaces, and corporate identities.  The cost is included in general admission which is free for kids 18 and under every day.

Harry Potter Marathon at Phipps Imax Theater at DMNS
April 4 – June 8, 2019
Back by popular demand, a Harry Potter marathon in Phipps IMAX Theater! Between April 4 and June 8, all eight “Harry Potter” films and two “Fantastic Beast” films will be screened in chronological order as part of Hollywood Favorites. Relive the magic or see the saga unfold for the first time. Previously released cinematic features are included in their IMAX lineup on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. 

Our Senses: Creating Your Reality at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
April 12 – August 4
When it comes to our senses, hasn’t the number five had enough time in the spotlight? Now other sensory heroes get some overdue attention in Our Senses: Creating Your Reality, a new exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for the whole family where you play with color, patterns, sounds, scents, and textures to discover there’s so much more to human senses than just the famous five.

Denver Art Museum 
Visit the Denver Art Museum this summer where kids receive FREE general admission every day! There is plenty to do during #SummerofPlay2019 at the DAM including family-friendly artmaking in the galleries and in the Paint Studio (opening June 1). Step into the shining world of the new First Light Family Space (opening June 1) and try hands-on activities inspired by the exhibition The Light Show. Don’t miss this summer’s main exhibition, Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America, opening May 5, where children are invited to play in the Free Play Zone at the end of the exhibition where they can try on bold masks and bring them to life in a colorful theater, climb on a wavy playscape by sculptor Isamu Noguchi and creatively combine the pieces of the Tyng Toy.

Once Upon a Playground at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
January 29 – May 26, 2019
In Fort Collins Museum of Discovery’s special traveling exhibition, Once Upon a Playground, take an interactive journey from the past to the present… and beyond. Share in the nostalgia for playgrounds form decades past with dozens of historic images while you celebrate playgrounds of Fort Collins present and future. We invite you to touch, to see, to smell, to listen, to climb, to build – and to experience this interactive exhibition that is sure to enliven all of your senses.

Images from the Tracks at the Colorado Railroad Museum
January 28, 2019 – January 5, 2020
One of the foremost photographers to photograph the great American West, William Henry Jackson’s images had an immense influence on the public’s perception of the American West. A portion of those images were captured here in Colorado as Jackson traveled throughout the west by rail. This exhibit not only showcases the Museum’s collection of Jackson photographs but provides visitors with the opportunity to visit the rail car he traveled and lived in – the Denver & Rio Grande Western business car – the Rico.

Got Style? Railroads & Design at the Colorado Railroad Museum
Feb 16 – Jun 10, 2019
Often leading the pack as far as what was “stylish.” railroads have echoed the fashion of their day. From rail cars to benches, dining plates to lamps passengers expected and often got the best. This small exhibit explores the how materials, production technologies and aesthetic trends all affected how the railroads we traveled on looked.

Kids Kabaret Performances at Boulder’s Dinner Theatre
Feb 20, 2019 – May 24, 2019
Our ‘Kids Kabaret’ shows are designed for children ages 3-12. We take pride in offering live theater for young children; understanding that they will wiggle and move around. Several children are incorporated into the show at each performance.

Marine Biologist for a Day at the Downtown Aquarium
Jan 1- Dec 31, 2019
See if you have what it takes to become a Marine Biologist! Spend a day behind the scenes where all the scientific action happens. Experience close encounters with exotic species from the deep sea to shallow reef and everywhere in between. You’ll even get to dissect a squid! Program includes guided tour, biologist dive show, squid dissection, animal feedings and much more! T-shirts & lunch included.

Summer Camp: Lights, Camera, Action, Fun!

Talk to the Camera summer camps turn screen time into hands-on, interactive play time!  With intentional use of technology, children learn useful life-long skills that change how they use screen time this summer.

3 ways to turn screen time into something positive!

  1. Screen time can be a bonding experience – Collaboration and teamwork are a huge part of social-emotional learning and friendship building. When children have opportunities to discover new skills and work together in a small group creating videos, their self-esteem increases. From Little Stars camps for preschoolers to Alien Invasion camps for tweens, children have fun-filled days of discovery, laughter, and creation working together and making new friends.
  2. Screen Time can be educational-  Actively engaging in all aspects of movie-making is the perfect deterrent for summer learning loss. In Movie MAGIC camps –  children learn film techniques, production roles, and on-camera acting. Various roles target specific skills. Directing is brilliant for leadership and decision making while operating the camera and editing are great for developing listening skills. Kids learning continues while acting, prompting memorization and providing a platform for imaginative storytelling. All campers join an end of summer celebration that includes pictures on the red carpet and watching their movies on the BIG screen!
  3. Screen Time can be Social– Teaching kids healthy, appropriate, and productive types of onscreen communication, builds social skills and confidence. The YOUth TUBEr©  series of camps, teach kids to use YouTube responsibly and promotes an attitude of acceptance. Each child is a STAR, learning how to develop storytelling styles while making videos that are engaging and unique. And BONUS- talking to the camera builds social communication skills like public speaking, active listening, and improved eye contact.

Talk to the Camera is Colorado’s First On-Camera Video creation & Movie-Making Camp created by two Denver moms who have been in your shoes!

WHY sign up for one of these SUMMER CAMPS?

  1. Summer camp variety- YOUth TUBEr, Little Stars⭐️(*New for preschoolers) & Movie Magic “themed” camps to name a few.
  2. Convenient Scheduling – Week-long summer camps – in half-day and full-day formats.
  3. End of Season RED CARPET SCREENING – Campers & families celebrate their summer learning, walk the red carpet and enjoy seeing themselves on the BIG screen!
  4. Early-Bird Discounts & Scholarships at The Highlands Center, Denver- Fill out scholarship request here.


30 Ways to Show Kids You Care

As children grow and develop, support and positivity in their daily lives mean a lot to them. It is important for parents, caretakers, neighbors, coaches and other adults to show children that they care. When a community invests in children’s mental, emotional and physical well-being, they are raised to be happy and healthy.

 “Children thrive when they hear encouraging words,” says The Kempe Foundation President & COO Julia Stone. “Meaningful phrases like ‘I’m proud of who you are,’ ‘You are intelligent and kind,’ and ‘You can do this’ give children a sense of capability and self-worth.”

 Communities can also support children by spending time with them, even if it’s just a few minutes.

 “Many studies have shown that quality time is more beneficial for children than quantity,” says Stone. “Even if you only have 15 minutes, there are lots of ways to make the time you do have impactful. You can read a book together, make arts and crafts, play outside or just sit and have a conversation about life. Children feel valued when asked their day and how they’re feeling.”

 Research also shows that affection and genuine displays of unconditional love make children happier and healthier. Children who have experienced affection and nurturing from a young age have shown more frequent levels of enhanced brain development throughout life’s growth stages. Simple ways to express positive emotions to children can include hugs, meaningful eye-contact, and words of admiration.

 Encouraging words, quality time and affection make a world of difference for children.

 This April, as organizations across the country recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month, Kempe encourages communities to join it in raising happy healthy children. 

Dedicating time each day to show that you care is the best way to raise happy healthy children. Hang this list on your refrigerator as inspiration. Each day, choose one of these activities to do with a child: 

  1. Color with your child
  2. Give a hug just because
  3. Build a blanket fort together and hang out inside
  4. Say “I love you” at breakfast, lunch and dinner
  5. Take a walk together
  6. Let your child choose a game and play it with them
  7. Catch your child doing something right and celebrate them with verbal praise
  8. Plan a meal and cook it together
  9. Read a book together
  10. Tell your child a happy story from your childhood
  11. Do a craft together, and don’t worry about cleaning up the mess until the end
  12. Pack a picnic and go to the park together
  13. Take your child on a nature walk and play “I spy”
  14. Put your phone and electronic devices in “time out” for one hour
  15. Send your child a special card to open in the mail
  16. Let your child pick out a picture of him or herself to put in a frame in your house
  17. Ask your child where they would like to go and take them there
  18. Pack a love note in your child’s lunch
  19. Stop everything for 20 minutes and do only what your child wants to do
  20. Do a household chore together
  21. Create a scavenger hunt for your child and a friend around your neighborhood
  22. Do something kind for a neighbor together – like rake a lawn or bring them cookies
  23. Go to the museum together
  24. Take your child to the grocery store and work together to pick out the ingredients for a healthy meal
  25. Color the driveway with chalk together
  26. Play dress up together
  27. Tell your child specifically what is unique or special about them
  28. Offer a word of encouragement when your child tries something difficult
  29. Finger paint together
  30. Make funny faces together and laugh

 Discover more ways to show children you care about them at

Outdoor Pop-up ‘The Bed Cinema’ is coming to Denver

When was the last time you went to Denver’s drive-in theaters, The Denver Mart Drive-In and The 88 Drive-In Theatre?  The drive-in is a fun novelty for families but sitting in your car can get cramped. 

We all love movies in bed. Now here’s another reason to stay in bed with the world’s most comfortable outdoor cinema entitled The Bed Cinema which is coming to cities across the U.S. this summer. Starting in August 2019, the outdoor cinema will screen a number of blockbusters from the comfort of 150 double beds with pillows, blankets and an LED-lit bedside table at your side to hold your goodies while you watch a film. 

The experience is traveling across the U.S., hitting cities such as Los Angeles, Venice Beach and of course – Denver. Prices of tickets and locations are yet to be announced. You can sign up for and on the list for pre-release tickets here.