Denver's Best Summer Activities 2021

Dated: May 26 2021

Views: 193

It's almost here! The official start of summer! And Denver has some pretty fun things planned to kick off my favorite season! I can't wait for these upcoming events:

Family Indoor Activities in Denver

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.
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  • 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 – 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. 
  • 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.
  • Boondocks Fun Center (Draper, Northglenn, Parker)– Boondocks Fun Center 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 (Downtown Denver)– 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 (Westminster) – 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! (Adventure Forest)

  • 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. Adventure Forest is a brilliant, BOLD, 500 ft. long aerial adventure course (check website for reopening details). The museum is free to the public on the first Tuesday evening of the month.
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  • 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 (Greeley)–Examine Colorado’s 5,500-square-foot model railroad, 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 (downtown Denver)– 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 (downtown Denver)– Housed in Empower 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 Wars)

  • Dart Wars (Colorado Springs)–Want an ultra-cool alternative to paintball or airsoft? Look no further than Dart Wars.
  • Denver Art Museum (Downtown Denver)– Visit the Denver Art Museum this summer where kids under 18 receive FREE general admission every day! They offer games and activities for kids and families to have fun together at the museum, sparking curiosity and conversation during your visit. Denver Art Museum from Home offers At-home Artmaking and downloadable activities. 
  • Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys (Lakewood)– 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 (Denver)–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. DMNS@Home provides ways to love science and avoid boredom at home.
  • Downtown Aquarium (Denver)– 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 or their new Shark Cage Experience. 
  • Earth Treks Climbing Centers (Boulder, Golden, Englewood) – Earth Treks offers indoor climbing, yoga, and fitness gym with a footprint of 53,000 square feet.
  • 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 (Westminster)– 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 (Thornton) –This 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. 
     

  • 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.
  • The Denver Puppet Theater – Sad news: permanently closed.
  • 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)–Permanently closed.
  • 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 (Denver)–This $110 million experiential museum makes Colorado history fun and has exciting new workshops and exhibits.  Artifacts, stories, and art intermingle to tell the tale of Colorado and the American West. Designed for multi-generational audiences.
  • 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 (Lakewood, Greenwood Village) – Wall-to-wall trampolines provide fun, indoor exercise and a perfect outlet for inclement weather days.
  • Jungle Quest (Littleton). Permanently closed.
  • 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 1860s and one from the 1890s), a small lake, a collections center, and a main exhibition and administration building.
  • Lollipop Park (Centennial)–Permanently closed. 
  • 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.
  • 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 (Parker, Westminster, Colorado Springs) -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. (Urban Air Adventure Park)

  • 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.
  • Smiley Library. (Temporarily closed). 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. 
  • Urban Air Adventure Park (Near I-70 and Havana Street)–This 37,000 square foot full-service adventure park features next-level award-winning attractions, including the Spin Zone Bumper Cars, the fan-favorite high-tech Virtual Reality, and their signature Sky Rider, which gives you a birds-eye view of the theme park.
  • VoiceBox (Denver Rin)–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 (Evergreen) – Get competitive and interactive with over 50 video and prize games, bowling, live bands, sporting events and more. Longmont location permanently closed. 

 

  • 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.
  • WOW (World of Wonder) Children’s Museum (Lafeyette)–This interactive museum educates children in the areas of arts, sciences and life. 

Family Outdoor Activities in Denver 

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. As the summer progresses, circle back to see if  “A Paris Street Market” will be running 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 an 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 playhouse, 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 (footpath 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 paddleboats shaped like ducks! Circle back to see the status of City Park Jazz this summer.
  • 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 storytimes and kids’ activities.
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    Crystal Hart

    My name is Crystal Hart, I am a Colorado Native! I grew up in the San Luis Valley, located in south central Colorado, and have lived in the Denver Metro Area since 2000. I have over 20 years of experi....

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