Places to Go - Denver Museum of Nature & Science AND The Children's Museum of Denver (Denver, CO)

(All pictures were taken at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science)

Since we live right outside of DC, one may assume that we spend tons of time at the Smithsonian museums, they are free after all. And we often visit the Hirshhorn and the National Museum of the American Indian, but we've only been to the Natural History Museum a handful of times. Don't get me wrong, the museum itself is wonderful, but the crowds keep us away. I'm talking MAJOR crowds, as in "stay close or we'll lose each other" crowds; and by the dinosaurs, the crowds double, as in "mom, this man keeps pushing me, where are you? where are you?" crowds. Back when I lived a law firm life, our firm rented out the Natural History Museum for a night and the exhibits awed my husband, he kept saying "wow, without tons of people this is the best place ever." Anyways, my basic point being that while kids love dinosaurs, kids and crowds don't mix, which (for me) makes the Smithsonian Natural History somewhat of a bust.

So where to find dinosaurs (besides Baltimore)? Denver of course. Seriously, if you want to visit a LARGE, kid-friendly, minimally crowded museum (with lots and lots of dinosaurs) then go to Denver. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has it all - a great outer space exhibit, a huge kids' space with live demonstrations of things ranging from African music to tornados, various smaller play spaces throughout the museum, a planetarium, and lots of wildlife exhibits. For adults and older kids, the museum hosts Exhibition Health, where visitors receive a plastic card (like a credit card) which they can insert into computerized stations in order to measure various aspects of their health. So fun. The girls LOVE this museum (I also visited Denver with them this summer, so they've been twice in the last year) they keep asking to go again (despite the day of commuting required). And parking is free and AVAILABLE (which continues to amaze me). Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children. The museum includes a cafe, so you can make a day out of it.

If you're looking for other Denver options with children, during our trip we also spent a morning at the Children's Museum of Denver (which also had FREE PARKING). Though somewhat smaller than children's museums we've visited in the past, the well-maintained, beautifully-designed exhibits made it a great place to spend a few hours. F especially loved the bubble room, as did I (so much better than water play) and P couldn't stop playing in the nature room. T, as always, gravitated towards the grocery store and the train table room (yes, they have a WHOLE ROOM full of train tables). And my friends' daughter, R, played dress up for hours. Older kids will love the assembly plant, where they can create with real tools. Admission is $8 per person ($6 for kids 1-2, under 1 is free).

What about everyone else? Any other great places to go with kids in Denver?

(All pictures were taken at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science)


  1. Sophia keeps saying that she can't wait to get on a plane and go to Washington DS. I keep correcting her, but she then says that's what I said, Washington DCS. Anyway, we obviously need to plan a trip there soon. I love seeing your posts about your trip to Colorado.

  2. Denver places, hmmm, we love the art museum backpacks, the zoo, Washington Park, 16th Street pedestrian mall, . . . and all the hiking options!

  3. Thanks Melissa - I love Wash park and CO hiking, though maybe not in winter. Would love to get my kids there one summer!



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