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 2014 Guide to Fun in Denver. If you’re looking to venture outside of Denver, don’t miss Colorado’s Top 20 Family Vacation Ideas for 2014.
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 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 – Play on the dragon outside of the Arvada Center or go inside to see a children’s play. Tarzan ® the stage musical will be playing July 11-August 3, 2014.
- Baby Boogie at the D-Note – Baby Boogie at the D-Note in Olde Town Arvada runs every Sunday from 2-6 pm. They clear their stage and put up kids’ instruments. The kids rule the restaurant and mom and dad can relax while the kiddos boogie.
- Black American West Museum & Heritage Center – This museum is focused on researching and teaching about African-Americans in the Old West. There are cowboy, military and homestead exhibits, and more.
- Big Time Trampoline (Arvada)–With 27,000-square feet of interactive fun, kids of all ages love the 50 feet of floor-level trampolines lined to a giant foam pit with rope swings and climbing structures, dodgeball trampoline court, wipe-out wrecking ball, maze, rope swings, little kid’s area, boot camp obstacle course and more.
- 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 a 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 Looney Tunes – Great fun on indoor days, and/or super hot days, and/or when you need time to get some shopping done while the kids hangout with Bugs Bunny as he takes a “carrot break” from his hike, ride in a river raft with Sylvester and Tweety, whiz down a slide with Porky Pig and Martin the Martian, fish with the Tazmanian Devil, camp with Elmer Fudd, plus much, much more.
- Children’s Museum of Denver – 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. The museum offers interactive exhibits, year-round special events and daily educational programming. The Children’s Museum of Denver 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 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.
- Denver Art Museum – The whole gang will love to make art in the galleries, work alongside artists, and check out Family Backpacks from the Family Activity Cart. Drop in on the second Wednesday of the month, 10 a.m.–1 p.m., with your little ones, ages 3-5 for Create Playdate.
- 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–The big news at Denver’s favorite natural history and science museum is the brand new addition on the Museum’s south side has added 126,000 square feet and five levels of discovery to the Museum, providing even more space to engage, delight, and spark your imagination. Be sure to also check-out the new exhibit Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed (Feb. 14-Aug. 24, 2014).
- 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.
- Fun City – This massive (144,000 square feet) family activity complex features just about every indoor activity imaginable: a hip, decorated 40-lane bowling alley, complete with a three-story foam-ball arena for those under 5 feet tall; a massive laser tag room; 18-hole putt-putt course and rock wall.
- 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
- Greeley Freight Station 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.
- Great Play (Highlands Ranch)–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.
- Heritage Square – Heritage Square in Golden is a replica of a Western village. Check out the shops, alpine slide, dinner theater, and more. Water Walkerz (think: hamster balls) add a fresh splash to the newish Miner’s Maze Adventureland.
- History Colorado Center–This entirely new $110 million experiential museum makes Colorado history fun and has exciting new workshops and exhibits. Don’t miss their newest exhibit FOOD: Our Global Kitchen, which takes visitors on a feast for the senses as they embark on a journey that brings what we eat from farm to fork.
- Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park (Littleton, Lakewood, Greenwood Village) – Wall-to-wall trampolines provide fun, indoor exercise and a perfect outlet for inclement weather days.
- Jumpin’ Jordy’s – If you’re looking for “a fun, clean, safe environment to let your kids burn off some steam, Jumpin’ Jordy’s is the answer-featuring an exciting collection of giant inflatable slides, bounce-castles, and obstacle courses.” Jumpin’ Jordy’s inflatables are best suited for kids ages 2 to 9.
- 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 is inviting families to “Build It! Drive It! Race It! Fly It!” in a new exhibit May 24 through Sept. 14. “Plains, Trains, and Automobiles” takes over the main gallery with interactive stations such as a flight simulator, assembling model cars, train track design and paper airplanes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Plastic Chapel – A designer toy store and art gallery? Double the reason why you should pay this hip store a visit.
- 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!
- Puppet Theater – The 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.
- StoryTime – Get in out of the heat and enjoy a StoryTime at your local library! Here are some links to the libraries in your area: 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.
- The Wildlife Experience in Parker. Travel around the globe in a 3-D exhibit that features animal animatronics, special visual and sound effects, and eight different habitats. This wildlife conservation museum features natural history, fine art and film with an extensive collection of natural history exhibits, paintings and sculpture, photography and large-format films in the Extreme Theater.
- 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 am 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.
- WOW (World of Wonder) Children’s Museum (Lafeyette)–This interactive museum educates children in the areas of arts, sciences and life.
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 1st 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 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 Toyota Elephant Passage), 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.
- 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 Rapids Soccer – See the pros in action!
- 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 toConfluence 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 a toddler) 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 Botanic Gardens Summer Concert Series – Food, flora and music keep kids and their parents happy! Tickets are still available to most shows – no membership required – and little kids are free.
- 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. Stay tuned for the opening of the new Discovery Center.
- 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 – Elitch Gardens is Denver’s own 70-acre amusement and water park located downtown! Check out the rides, shows and attractions including the opening of their new thrill ride the Brain Drain.
- 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 Friday’s 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.
- Harlow Park and Pool -This outdoor park and pool at Belleview and Federal has a fun baby pool and slides and is never very busy.
Heritage Square – Heritage Square in Golden is a replica of a Western Victorian village. Check out the shops, alpine slide, arcade, Miner’s Maze, Water Walkerz and more.
- 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 is 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.
- Lookout Mountain Nature Center & Preserve – Connect with nature, go on a naturalist-guided tour and revel in gorgeous views.
- 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 kids over age 4, and it’s close to Red Rocks.
- 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! It’s off the beaten path, so the traffic is light. 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, 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.
- 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 bus!
- 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!
- Star K Ranch – Morrison Nature Center – This nature center is in northern Aurora, just south of I-70. Hands-on science, trails from 3/4 mile to 13 miles, program for up to age 5, and other programs for age 6 and up.
- 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 on the way to Boulder. It’s near Denver and has a great view of the city.
- The Wild Animal Sanctuary – This Wild Animal Sanctuary is America’s premier sanctuary for large carnivores. They have been rescuing exotic wildlife and endangered species since 1980, and are currently home to more than 200 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Jaguars, Leopards, Mountain Lions, Lynx, Bobcats, Servals, Wolves, and other wildlife.
Water Fun: Whether they’re indoor or outdoor, these fun water parks and spraygrounds are sure to help you beat the heat!
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!
- The Bay in Broomfield – This is a fun water park designed for children under 12 years old!
- 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!
- 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 never very busy!
- Highlands Ranch Recreation Centers – There are four different pools, and each one has different features like water slides, a loch ness, lazy river, and more!
- 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.
Sunset 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!)
So, which activity on the list are you going to check out first?
-Compiled by JoAnn Rasmussen and Amber Johnson