Going to museums and other educational locations has always been one of my favorite things to do. My mother, who is a teacher, would bring us to places like this all the time as a child and now I still love going with my children. There are many more museums in the Denver metro area than even I realized, however, a few years ago put together this list of every one that I could find and now I would like to share it with all of you. I hope it helps you and your family find some fun educational opportunities this summer!
Disclaimer: I have not personally visited every museum on the list so I included information on the ones we visit regularly or that I remember well enough to give feedback on. Not all of them are small child-friendly and many of the ones I have not visited are because I suspect they may not be kids friendly. I wanted to make this as complete of a list as possible however since there are so many hidden gems even I did not know about. On that note, if you find one I missed make sure to let me know so can add it.
For those of you who have lived in the area your whole life, you are probably familiar with this museum. More and more those I see new moms moving here asking if this is a great place for their kids ages xx old to go play. So for those of you who have never been there let me say yes it’s a great place for all ages. My babies always loved looking at the dinosaurs and animals, and there is a children’s room with activities for all ages including a little area for kids under 1 year. Older kids might enjoy the science lab in expedition health for a more hands-on experience as well as some of the more interactive exhibits in the outer space area, and I love to go check out the visiting exhibits that are changed out a few times a year.
Denver Children’s Museum -Denver
The children’s museum in Denver has grown and expanded so much in the past few years if it has been a while it's worth going back for another look. My favorite part is the teaching kitchen, but if you want to experience it arrive early and head upstairs right away to sign up, spaces fill up really fast and normally several hours in advance. My kids' favorites are the art studio, the ball room and the water area outside in Joy park.
Wow Children’s Museum -Lafayette
My kids love this museum, they call it the “pirate ship museum”. It doesn’t look like much from outside but there are a ton of activities packed in, as well as some rotating exhibits so there is always something new when we go. I personally do love the Denver children’s museum however WOW has a much more relaxed environment and usually entertains my kids for just as long as the larger Denver children’s museum.
Firefighters Museum -Denver
Colorado History Museum -Denver
My kids love the first floor exhibits here where you can collect eggs and sell them at the grocery store, “ride” in an old car, slide down the barn slide and more. The last few times we were here we didn’t make it to the upper floors besides a temporary exhibit on the second floor so I honestly couldn’t tell you what it up there (it is on my list to go check out this summer) but I can tell you that there is plenty here to entertain kids for a few hours.
Denver Art Museum _Denver
While an art museum may not sound very kids friendly we always find plenty for the kids here. From crafts and activities scattered throughout the museum to scavenger hunt sheets in most of the exhibits, my kids love to explore this museum.
American Museum of Western Art -Denver
Molly Brown House -Denver
I put this and some of the other on the list because I wanted to try to make this a complete list of museums, however, I don’t recommend this one for young children. It is basically a house full of things they cannot touch. I enjoyed the tour myself, however, and the history of this Colorado legend.
Fort Vasquez -Platville
We went to check this out last year and I would call it a great place to stop if you are in the area. There really isn’t a ton to see besides what is left of the fort and a small one-room exhibit inside. My kids did enjoy it as a pit stop in our day of activities. We spend about 30 minutes there including browsing the gift shop.
Fortney Museum of Transportation -Denver
The Forney Museum is a great place for anyone who loves cars, trains and unique one of a kind vehicles. I personally love wandering around this museum and checking out the cars, plane, trains, and bikes I will say the excitement for my kids is typically short-lived. I do still recommend checking out this museum if you have never been but most kids will probably not be entertained there for more than about an hour unless of course cars are their thing and then they will love to check out the endless rows of them!
Colorado Railroad Museum -Golden
This is a great place for the train lover with tons of trains outside, many of the cars you can climb on and go check out. For an additional cost, you can ride the working train around the property which is always a hit with the kids. There is also a room of activities and a model train in the basement of the building that my kids loved.
Tiny Town -Morrison
Aurora History Museum -Aurora
Lakewood Heritage Center-Lakewood
Another favorite spot of mine for sessions especially themed sessions, this little museum connects with Belmar park. Like clear creek history park, this is mostly a collection of old buildings, my favorite of which in the old Cafe This one also has an indoor section which I have to admit I have never into.
We checked this out as a school assignment when my husband was in college. It’s inside a small old house downtown and I was skeptical based on the location but I loved this little museum. It is a great place to bring older kids if you want them to learn our states history and an appreciation for diversity. There is not much here for little ones..
Clyfford Still Museum -Denver
Morrison Natural History Museum -Morrison
We had the opportunity to visit this museum for the first time last summer and loved it! It is a very small museum but it has a lot packed in there. To really get your money’s worth, make sure you take a tour, this is included in the price of admission and I learned a ton from our very young but very knowledgeable tour guide. I do recommend this for older children, not little ones with a short attention span. While my 3-year-old LOVES dinosaurs it was a little hard to keep her entertained during the tour. I just found out that they have also teamed up with dinosaur ridge to offer a one time pass that gives your tours at both locations!!
Museo de las Americas -Denver
Dinosaur ridge -Morrison
I was surprised to find last time we visited dinosaur ridge that you can no longer just drive along the mountain to see the tracks. Your choices are now walking up the mountain or taking the tour bus. We took the bus. My kids loved the museum exhibit and enjoyed the bus tour although it was a little hard to keep the little ones attention during it. Overall though it was fun and the whole family enjoyed it.
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum -Golden
Golden History Center -Golden
Clear Creek History Park -Golden
A great little all outdoor park, mostly old buildings you can check out but they also have a chick coup on site that kids love. Walk around the grounds and then wander down to the creek. This is also one of my favorite spots for photo sessions!
Foothills Art Museum -Golden
NCAR Visitor Center – Boulder
Littleton history museum -Littleton
This is one of my favorite little museums/farms! If you have never been it is definitely worth checking out. The first perk is it is free. While this museum does have a few indoor galleries the real attraction is the farm animals and old buildings outdoors. We love to wander around, enjoy the outdoors, and check out the animals. The last time we were there however it started to rain and we headed back inside and found the indoor kids play area (its kind of hidden at the back of one of the museum galleries) It has books, a play kitchen and wagon they can climb on and it kept my kids entertained for close to an hour.
Four Mile Historic Park -Denver
Four Mile historic park is very similar to the Littleton history museum in a ton of ways, but there is an admission charge here. A few things that might make it worth the money, my kids' favorite activity here is panning for gold, be prepared with extra clothes, they will get wet and messy! They also offer carriage rides for an extra charge. In addition, the park boasts Denver’s oldest house and offers tours of the house. I did not find the tour to be kids friendly however and only made it through a small portion of it before I had to leave due to my 3 year old trying to touch EVERYTHING (they did not like that!) So if you have little’s who like to touch and climb, save yourself the stress and skip the tour.
I hope this helps you find some fun and adventure this summer with your family. I am working on several more lists of kids locations like this one that I will share throughout the year so keep watching my blog or better yet join my insider's club to be sent information about fun activities in your email!
While you are waiting for more fun in your email from me make sure to check out this previous post with local splash pads you can check out this summer!
Interested in a photo sessions for your family? Learn about my session experience here:
My name is Jennifer Tavera, the photographer behind Truth Photography. I am a Northglenn Colorado family photographer and gallery designer seeking adventurous, free spirited families. I believe that your life is epic and deserves to be captured with photography!
I specializes in creating unique photo sessions that will be an adventure for your child or family and turning the finished portraits into beautiful wall art for your home. I can’t wait to photograph your next adventure!!
~Jennifer Tavera Photographer and Gallery designer