21 Fun Things to Do in Colorado with Kids

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Things to do in Colorado with kids include taking in the view at Rocky Mountain National Park.
View of Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo credit: Liana Moore

Colorado’s geographic features and bustling metropolitan areas make it an ideal place for a wide variety of really fun things to do. The majestic Rocky Mountains provide an unending supply of outdoor adventures, while the cities of Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs, nestled at the base of the mountains offer a surplus of art and culture. With its breathtaking natural beauty, thrilling outdoor activities and cultural attractions, there’s never a shortage of fun things to do with kids in Colorado.

From hiking and camping to skiing and snowboarding, Colorado offers something for everyone. Take a family hike in the Rocky Mountains and marvel at the stunning natural beauty, or go camping and experience the great outdoors up close.

Go white water river rafting on the Colorado River or try your hand at fishing in one of Colorado’s many lakes or rivers. During the winter, hit the slopes at one of Colorado’s many ski resorts or go snowshoeing in the mountains.

But don’t worry, if your kids aren’t into the outdoors, there are still plenty of family activities that will capture their interest. From history and science to art and culture, the interactive museums of the cities could keep your family busy for weeks.

Whether you live in the state or are visiting on family vacation, be sure to incorporate some of these fun activities into your plans.

1. Ride an Alpine Coaster

In 2005, Colorado saw its first alpine coaster installed at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Now almost every self-respecting mountain resort is home to one of these fun rides. Similar to a roller coaster, this thrill ride is set atop a mountain where riders can take in spectacular natural views as they speed down the mountain, making hairpin turns along the way.

2. Visit a Zoo

Colorado is home to a couple of very different zoos. The best known is the Denver Zoo, home to over 3,500 animals from around the world, as well as a train and carousel. There’s also the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs which is a local’s favorite. It is a unique mountain zoo that houses over 750 animals and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Things to do in Colorado with kids include checking out Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Photo credit: Liana Moore

3. Explore Garden of the Gods

Visit this breathtaking natural park located in Colorado Springs, known for its towering red sandstone formations that are millions of years old. It’s a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts and families alike, offering plenty of hiking and biking trails and scenic overlooks. For a different perspective, go horseback riding at Garden of the Gods.

4. Head to the Top of Pikes Peak

The historic Pikes Peak Cog Railway takes visitors to the summit of the mountain, providing spectacular views of the surrounding area. Kids will enjoy the thrill of riding on a train that climbs to an elevation of over 14,000 feet. At the summit, they can explore the gift shop and take in the stunning views of the Rockies. The mountain is also home to plenty of hiking trails, including the popular Barr Trail, which offers a challenging but rewarding hike to the top.

5. Learn About Dinosaurs

There are plenty of opportunities to learn about dinosaurs. Kids will enjoy exploring Dinosaur Ridge outside of Denver in the Morrison area, to see dinosaur fossils and dinosaur tracks that are over 100 million years old or exploring or visiting the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience offering fun exhibits and activities related to dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.

6. Go Skiing or Sledding in the Winter

Colorado is home to some of the best skiing in North America. And, many of these ski resorts are very family-friendly. But, skiing isn’t the only fun snow activity. The mountains of Colorado are home to plenty of hills excellent for sliding down on a sled in the snow. Or, for a very unique experience take a Colorado dog sledding adventure.

7. Visit Rocky Mountain National Park

One of the most popular national parks in the United States, Rocky Mountain National Park offers a variety of fun outdoor activities for kids, including hiking, wildlife watching, fishing and stargazing. The park is also home to one of the most scenic drives in the state.

8. Go Boating or Paddle Boarding

For a landlocked state, Colorado still offers plenty of fun on the water. Whether your family likes to fish, stand up paddle board, river raft or even water ski, you can find it in one of Colorado’s many alpine lakes or rivers. Both the Colorado and Arkansas Rivers offer really fun white water river rafting.

Things to do in Colorado with kids include visiting Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon.
Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon. Photo credit: Liana Moore

9. Hike to a Waterfall

Colorado is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country. Most require some kind of hike to reach them. But that is an excellent payoff. From iconic waterfalls such as Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon to more developed falls such as Seven Falls in Colorado Springs, you are sure to find one that’s the right pace for your entire family.

10. Splash at a WaterPark

Denver is home to several water parks, including one attached to Elitch Gardens. Kids love cooling down on water slides on a hot summer day. But should you have the urge for some family fun in the water on a winter day, Colorado Springs is home to a Great Wolf Lodge that will deliver.

11. Visit a Mountain Town

Whether taking a day trip or staying for a weekend or week, be sure to spend some time in one of Colorado’s many mountain towns. From historic towns like Leadville to resort towns like Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge and Telluride, there’s plenty of fun to be had for the whole family.

12. Soak in the Hot Springs

Soaking in the many hot springs throughout Colorado can be fun for the entire family. Natural mineral waters abound in the mountains of Colorado. Some families may enjoy relaxing hot springs like Strawberry Park in Steamboat Springs. While others may enjoy the water rides at the Glenwood Springs Resort Pool.

Things to do in Colorado with kids include the holiday lights at Denver Botanic Gardens.
Holiday lights at Denver Botanic Gardens. Photo credit: Liana Moore

13. Explore the Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens is a 24-acre oasis in the heart of Denver, Colorado, that features a diverse collection of plants from around the world. The gardens are known for their stunning displays, educational programs and special events that celebrate nature and inspire visitors of all ages. Our favorite time to visit is actually during the holidays when a magical light show takes the stage.

14. Visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park is located in southern Colorado and is home to the tallest sand dunes in North America, reaching heights of over 700 feet. The park offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore a diverse landscape of sand dunes, forests, wetlands and alpine tundra, as well as opportunities for hiking, camping and sandboarding. If you can visit during June, you might get the opportunity to see Medano Creek.

15. Take a Train Ride

One of our favorite places to ride a train in Colorado is on the historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which travels through the beautiful San Juan Mountains. The scenic Royal Gorge Route Railroad offers a unique experience through the Royal Gorge Canyon. And, the Colorado Railroad Museum offers lots of fun for kids including a Polar Express ride during the winter.

Things to do in Colorado with kids include the Meow Wolf Convergence Station in Denver.
Meow Wolf Convergence Station in Denver, Colorado. Photo credit: Liana Moore

16. Visit Meow Wolf Convergence Station

Meow Wolf Convergence Station is an immersive art installation and interactive museum that is almost a theme park located in a triangle cubby of Denver, that features a mind-bending blend of art, technology and storytelling. Visitors can explore a vibrant and surreal world filled with secret passages, fantastical landscapes and otherworldly creatures, as well as participate in a wide range of interactive experiences that push the boundaries of traditional art and entertainment.

17. Play at the Children’s Museum of Denver

The Children’s Museum of Denver is an interactive museum that provides educational and entertaining experiences for children and families. This is an ideal museum for younger children, though older kids may still enjoy the outdoor zipline at Joy Park and climbing the Adventure Forest.

18. Visit the Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum features a diverse collection of more than 70,000 works of art from around the world, ranging from ancient to contemporary art. Perhaps one of my favorite mother-daughter excursions was to see the Dior Exhibit in 2019.

19. Interact at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science features a vast collection of artifacts, exhibits and interactive displays that explore the natural world and the history of human culture. Visitors can explore everything from fossils and dinosaur bones to ancient artifacts and space science exhibits. An overnight field trip here may have been the highlight of 4th grade for one of our children.

20. Play at the Gaylord Rockies

The Gaylord Rockies is a family-friendly resort that offers a wide range of activities and entertainment for children. Their special events are really unmatched. From holiday ice sculptures and ice bumper cars to special spring or summer events including scavenger hunts and escape rooms, there’s plenty to do for kids of all ages. The pool, water slides and lazy river are always popular.

21. See Sea Life at the Downtown Aquarium

The Denver Downtown Aquarium is a unique and immersive aquarium that features a diverse collection of marine life from around the world. With interactive exhibits, animal encounters and a restaurant located inside a 150,000-gallon aquarium, the aquarium provides a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages, particularly younger kids.

Whether your kids love the outdoors, or would rather imagine themselves back in history or creating art, you are sure to find things to do in Colorado that will create meaningful family memories.

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