Fun for Kids in Colorado

Colorado attractions that cater to your little one’s biggest obsessions.

By: Colorado.com Staff Writer
Updated: April 8, 2024

These trip ideas will feed your kiddo’s obsessions and score serious “best parent ever” points with your little one.

Jump to: TrainsDinosaursCastlesWildlifeFairies or Old West

Train Rides & Museums

Colorado’s history is rich with locomotive lore and is full of memory-making spots for little engineers. Read on for a sampling, and for more, view our full list of Colorado train attractions.

  • Forney Museum of TransportationDenver: Families love the just-right size of this attraction, yet there is no shortage of antique vehicles — motorcycles, cars, fire engines and trains. 
  • Colorado Railroad MuseumGolden: A hit with families, this museum is full of unique, historical train cars, models and a working turntable. Train rides are offered on most Saturdays January through mid-May and in the month of October. In the summer — mid-May through mid-August — rides take place Thursdays through Sundays.
  • Colorado Model Railroad MuseumGreeley: Kids and adults alike are fascinated by the miniature world on display. An eye-spy game will have you hunting for hidden figures among the model trains and landscapes, and you'll also find a play area with Thomas the Tank Engine and simulators.
  • Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum: The ultimate interactive experience for train lovers is an actual train ride. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad travels between Durango and Silverton along the Animas River through scenic wilderness unaccessible by any road and has museums at the end of each line for little conductors to explore.
  • Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RailroadAntonito: The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad travels through beautiful southwestern terrain and offers a themed rides throughout the year — ranging from Fourth of July celebrations to geology trains — to keep the youngins enthralled.

There are nine more historic and scenic railroads in Colorado offering family thrills that range from zooming across a canyon floor to climbing up a steep mountainside. Find more Colorado train rides for kids

Dinosaurs in Colorado

Your kid clearly rocks (pun intended) and, luckily, there are tons of dinosaur attractions in Colorado, many of which are home to some of science’s landmark dino discoveries.

  • Denver Museum of Nature and Science: Explore the Prehistoric Journey exhibit, films, special dino-themed events and rotating exhibits.
  • Dinosaur Journey MuseumFruita: Hands-on experiences and robotic displays bring to life the ancient beasts that once called this area home.
  • Dinosaur RidgeMorrison: Some of today’s best-known dinosaurs were first discovered here. Take daily self-guided and guided tours of excavation sites and exposed fossils, including dinosaur footprints. 
  • Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource CenterWoodland Park: Life-sized replicas, fossils and a souvenir shop where you can buy locally excavated fossils make this small-town attraction a fun stop.
  • Dinosaur National Monument, near Dinosaur: Inside the main visitor center, Dinosaur Quarry, guests can see fossils from the world-famous Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry, where approximately 1,500 dinosaur bones are left in place in a cliff wall. There’s lots more to explore, and the National Park Service even offers a Junior Paleontologist program.

Find more places to see the dinosaurs of Colorado

Castles for Royal Capers

Your kiddos can act out all their favorite Disney scenes at these cool and quirky Colorado castles. 

  • Glen EyrieColorado Springs, and Cherokee Castle & RanchSedalia: Both locales offer a fancy teatime service to delight little princesses. 
  • Miramont Castle MuseumManitou Springs: An air of mystery surrounds this mansion, with period recreations on display and a scavenger hunt to guide kids through the building.
  • Denver Art Museum; The north wing is a modern architect’s take on a castle, which might intrigue your little one. In the Martin Building's Family Central, there are costumes to try on, as well as wooden blocks and the Design Studio, perfect for building one’s own castle.
  • Bishop Castle, near Colorado City: A lifelong project of a local Coloradoan who lives on site, this weird and wacky castle is worth a roadside stop. Be warned that climbing the steep spiral staircases is not recommended for small children.

Wildlife Experiences

Wee ones with a wild side (don’t they all have one?) will be tickled by the furry friends at these animal attractions in Colorado. Check out this fun infographic about Colorado's Wildlife from A to Z

  • Wild Animal Sanctuary, Keenesburg: Rescued lions, tigers, bears and wolves roam the sanctuary’s 1,214 acres, their dignity restored through the efforts of this incredible nonprofit, as visitors gaze unobtrusively from above.
  • Downtown Denver Aquarium: Walk through an impressive loop of underwater wonder with face-to-face views of sharks, rays, otters, reptiles and even Sumatran tigers. 
  • Colorado Zoos: The Denver Zoo has a loyal family following, with impressive elephant and endangered African penguin habitats; the giraffes steal the show at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs and the Pueblo Zoo is home to critters ranging from bush babies and cotton-top tamarins to kangaroos and meerkats.

Find more aquariums, animal sanctuaries and zoos in Colorado

Fun for Fairies

Colorado’s carefree spirit and love for nature mean pint-sized fairies are right at home here.

  • Denver Botanic Gardens: A fairyland-like escape from its urban surroundings, the gardens offer places to frolic and learn about plantlife.
  • Butterfly Pavilion, Westminster: Bring your gossamer wings and flit around this great indoor science adventure. The rainforest area is filled with 1,600 fluttering butterflies, plus lush greenery, koi ponds and meandering pathways. 
  • Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, Grand Junction: Also frolic-friendly, the natural haven has a butterfly house and a full bouquet of themed gardens. 
  • Carousel of Happiness, Nederland: Pure joy alights on little faces who ride this one-of-a-kind carousel, which has 56 hand-carved and painted animals to ride. Spot the hidden fairies perched in nooks and crannies around the enclosure.
  • Tulip Fairy and Elf Festival, Boulder: Each spring, Pearl Street blossoms with thousands of tulips, which are “woken” annually by the tulip fairy and hundreds of little fairy and elf helpers.

Old West Attractions

Get along, little dogies, and try one of these Old West adventures.

  • Dude Ranches: Build the ultimate out-West vacation around a family-friendly dude ranch, complete with horseback rides, cattle drives, singing around the campfire and chuckwagon dinners. View listings for dude-ranches in Colorado
  • Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, La Junta: Be transported back to the Old West while touring this adobe fort that served as a trading post for trappers, travelers and Native Americans. Tip: Check the fort's official website for when it's open while you're planning; its hours can change during different seasons. 
  • Kit Carson County Carousel, Burlington: Grab the reins on this nostalgic carousel. Built in 1905, the wooden horses and other animals are all original and hand painted.
  • Berry Patch Farms, Brighton: Experience farm life with activities such as picking strawberries, tart cherries, raspberries, cucumbers and more.
  • Agricultural Heritage Center, Longmont: Tour working outbuildings and meet farm animals up close April through October. During special events, you'll also find a working blacksmith shop.

Want More?

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Colorado Family Attractions for Kids 10 & Under

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7-Day Colorado Family Road Trip

See complete listings for family attractions