Exploring Denver & Cities of the Rockies

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Get ready to take the kiddos' learning to new heights with Colo-Road Trips Educational Itineraries, trips crafted with plenty of hands-on learning, educational adventures and, of course, stops for ice cream. Each was designed with kids from kindergarten to 5th grade in mind, but the activities, outings and accommodations will be enjoyed by children of all ages — yes, that’s you, moms and dads. Supplement your trip with trivia, educational videos and games — or just hop in the car and go!
 
During this trip through Denver & Cities of the Rockies, kids will experience the Front Range region like never before. From airplanes and first responders to dinos and modern-day farms, there's plenty of educational fun to be had!
 
Grab Your Supplies
Things To Bring

While all that is truly needed is your kids' sense of adventure, a notebook, a writing utensil and plenty of colored pencils will come in handy.

Day
1
Activity
Come Fly with Me: Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Located in the former grounds of Lowry Air Force Base, Wings over Rockies is housed in a historical hangar built in 1939 and features dozens of historic airplanes, space vehicles and interactive exhibits. The collection includes a rare B-18A Bolo — one of only five remaining WWII-era bombers — five Century-Series fighters, an RF-84K Thunderflash and one of only two B-1A Lancers.

Lunch
Lowry Beer Garden

Just a few steps from the museum is Lowry Beer Garden, one of the area’s hidden gems. Situated on an old U.S. Air Force base, the kiddos will have plenty of room to roam on the expansive patio, which overlooks an old B-52 bomber. Relax while you enjoy a craft brew from the restaurant’s extensive beer selection and munch on delicious comfort foods.

Activity
Safety First: Denver Firefighters Museum

Housed in a 1909 firehouse, the Denver Firefighters Museum shares the rich history of the Denver Fire Department and firefighting in Colorado through exhibits, interactive programs and collections.

Dinner
Officers Club Dinner

Celebrate the history of the Lowry Air Force base at Officers Club, which serves up classic American fare. The family can sit back and relax in one of the restaurant's many booths and enjoy a casual environment and excellent meals.

Activity
Explore the History Colorado Center

Kids and parents alike will enjoy the engaging and hands-on exhibits that connect visitors to Colorado’s history and heritage.

Lodging
Snooze at The Curtis

Waking up is more fun when you get a call from a celebrity impersonator at The Curtis, a unique hotel where the experience is anything but ordinary. From your first step into the cartoon-chic lobby to the eye-catching art and themes throughout the hotel, your kids will have lots to marvel over at this fun property.

Educational Activity
Come Fly with Me

Learn about flight, airplane design and the principles of aerodynamics while making paper airplanes at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. Get activity.

Itinerary Tip
Take Flight

Across from Lowry Beer Garden is Rocket Ice Cream, a small ice-cream stand with a large rocket perched atop the building — you can’t miss it! The location offers homemade vegan and traditional dairy ice creams, along with a vast selection of flavors that’s guaranteed to suit the pickiest of eaters.

Educational Activity
Safety First

Test your home fire-safety knowledge after a trip to the Denver Firefighters Museum. Get activity.

Extra Credit
Curator for a Day

What type of art would you choose to have in your home? Spend some time at the Denver Art Museum choosing. (Admission is free for everyone 18 and under!) Get extra credit activity.

Day
2
Breakfast
Chow Down at The Cow an Eatery

Loved by local hikers and cyclists, The Cow is the perfect place to stop and fuel up before the day’s adventure. Kids will love the Cinnamonster, a warm cinnamon bun dipped in the eatery’s special cream-cheese frosting. Adults — we recommend anything smothered in some of the state's best green chili (traditional and vegetarian available). The restaurant also has an outdoor patio next to Bear Creek.

Activity
Dinosaur Tracker: Dinosaur Ridge

Tread upon the stomping grounds of some of the world’s most notorious dinosaurs. Dinosaur Ridge has more than 300 preserved dinosaur footprints. Informational signs placed along the path allow visitors to take self-guided tours of the exposed fossils and footprints, and kids will love the dedicated kid dig areas.

Lunch
Dine on Local Delights at Bridgewater Grill

After a dinosaur-filled afternoon, dine creekside with the family at Bridgewater Grill. The restaurant focuses on Colorado Proud ingredients and sources its produce from local
farmers. The menu is flush with kid-approved favorites and provides pretty generous portions, but save some room — the dessert selection is spectacular!

Activity
The Wild, Wild West: The Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave

The museum illustrates the life, times and legend of William F. Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill. It includes exhibits about Buffalo Bill's life and Wild West shows, along with Native American artifacts and old-fashioned firearms. See Sitting Bull's bow and arrows, Buffalo Bill's show outfits and many other objects from the Old West.

Dinner
Rustle Up Some Grub at Woody's Wood Fired Pizza & Watering Hole

Locally owned and operated for nearly three decades, Woody’s knows a thing or two about pizza. This spot is the perfect place to please all members of the family in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

Activity
Golden History Museum and Park

Photographs, memorabilia and artifacts rely on the unique stories of Golden and the city’s inhabitants at the museum. Kids will enjoy exploring the old buildings and feeding the flock of chickens at the history park.

Lodging
Dino Dreams at Origin Hotel Red Rocks

Stay at the Official Hotel of Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre. This modern hotel has several amenities that you and your kids can enjoy — including a free shuttle to the venue to catch a concert. Take advantage of the hotel’s fat bikes, which can be used to explore the area’s unique geology. Bunkbed suites are available and, for extra fun for the kiddos, request to have a tent and sleeping bag set up in your room.

Itinerary Tip
Head to Morrison

From Denver, drive west towards the mountains and the charming town of Morrison.

Educational Activity
Dinosaur Tracker

Pretend you're a paleontologist and compare dinosaur footprints during your tour of Dinosaur Ridge. Observe and record what paleontologists have discovered at this world-class site. Get activity.

Itinerary Tip
Mosey on Over to Golden

Your next stop is the welcoming city of Golden.

Itinerary Tip
It's Electric!

If you roll in with an electric vehicle, the grill offers a complimentary charging station to power up for the next leg of your adventure.

Educational Activity
The Wild, Wild West

Explore the life of William Cody and compare it to your own during a trip to the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. Get activity.

Trivia
Trivia Activity

How much do your the kiddos remember about the day's explorations? Test their memories with a couple of questions. Get trivia.

Day
3
Breakfast
Breakfast in The Buff

Dubbed by many as one of the best breakfast spots in Boulder, The Buff's menu has something to please everyone in your fam. The restaurant has an excellent patio that's roomy enough for kids to stretch their legs in, and a few comfy booths if your family prefers to sit indoors. Local tip: The blueberry pancakes are a must!

Activity
Creative Learning: Museum of Boulder

Explore Boulder’s unique history while discovering its connections to the present and inspirations for the future. Kids will love spending time in the Google Garage and Playzeum, creative spaces filled with hands-on learning.

Lunch
Sup at The Sink

After spending an afternoon getting to know Boulder’s unique history, head over to The Sink to get a taste of the city’s culture. The restaurant has been in business since 1923 and has been featured on popular network shows for its crowd-pleasing favorites. Art created by patrons grace the walls — and even the ceiling — and kids can search for a signature from our nation’s 44th president somewhere between it all.

Activity
Nature Walk: Chautauqua Park

Chautauqua Park, established in 1898, provides families with easy access to trails, open spaces for kids to interact with nature, a playground and a wide variety of trees. Before you head out on the trails, be sure to stop in at the Ranger Cottage for maps and hiking suggestions.

Dinner
Pull Up a Plate at The Post Brewing Co.

Dig into delicious comfort food that’s as good as grandma’s cookin’ at the Post Brewing Co. This Longmont staple is sure to please your entire crew, and its menu includes family-sized packages that can feed three to eight hungry mouths. The patio is a paradise for kids and includes a cornhole area.

Activity
Explore Sunflower Farm

Kids will delight in feeding farm animals, brushing the llamas and playing in the corn house. If you want the deluxe experience, you can even participate in farm chores or ongoing work projects.

Lodging
Home2 Suites by Hilton Longmont

After a fun-filled day, relax by the hotel’s pool while the kids make a splash. When you’re ready to retreat back to your room, the kiddos can have the living room area to themselves — it has plenty of room for play and a TV to keep them entertained. The hotel also offers a complimentary breakfast, in addition to having an en-suite kitchenette.

Itinerary Tip
Book it to Boulder

Drive to Boulder for your next adventure-filled day.

Educational Activity
Scavenger Hunt

Get ready to see the Boulder Museum through new eyes while on a hunt to discover artifacts that you may normally overlook. Get activity.

Educational Activity
Barking up the Right Tree

Get up close and personal with the trees at Chautauqua Park. Get activity.

Extra Credit
Remembering Boulder

As you make your way to Longmont, have your kids create an acrostic poem to remember your trip. Get activity.

Day
4
Breakfast
Have a Buttery Breakfast at Bella La Crema

What "butter" way to start your day than at Bella La Crema? This butter bar has a broad selection of homemade and uniquely flavored butters to try with your morning baguette. The eatery also offers a delicious breakfast menu and plenty of booths to share with your buttercups.

Activity
Artifact Exploration: Lyons Redstone Museum

Lyons Redstone Museum, located in the old schoolhouse built in 1881, preserves the history of the town of Lyons. Historically a sandstone quarrying town, today Lyons is known for its art, music, culture and natural beauty.

Lunch
Lunch at Latitude 105 Alehouse

This alehouse serves up regionally sourced, Colorado-themed fare with generous portions for all. Upon arrival, your kids will be greeted with a coloring sheet and a shuffleboard is nearby if they need to get some energy out. Be sure to order one of their famous poutines — they’re a crowd-pleasing favorite.

Activity
Care for Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is a living showcase of the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. This protected, 415-square-mile park provides visitors with amazing vistas and numerous opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy the outdoors.

Dinner
Elevated & Kid-Friendly Fare at Rock Inn's Mountain Tavern

The Rock Inn’s Mountain Tavern is a staple in Estes Park. With several options for the kids to choose from on the menu, the restaurant offers dishes ranging from filet mignons to greens-and-grains bowls and everything in between.

Activity
Shopping Along Main Street in Estes Park

Kids will enjoy a stop at the taffy shop, ice cream parlour and candy stores that dot the streets along with looking at all the cool souvenirs.

Lodging
Rest Your Heads at The Ridgeline Hotel

There’s no shortage of things to do at the Ridgeline Hotel. From the heated indoor pool to a fully stocked game room, where you can even play giant Jenga and Connect Four, this hotel is one of the best places to stay in the Rockies. Be sure to book a one-bedroom suite with an extra playroom for the kiddos.

Itinerary Tip
Head Toward Estes Park

Make your way to Estes Park with a stop for some scholarly shenanigans in Lyons.

Educational Activity
ArtiFACTs

Dive into the history of Lyons by carefully examining artifacts at the Lyons Redstone Museum. Get activity.

Itinerary Tip
Playground Time!

Kids will enjoy the playground at LaVern Johnson Park and access to the nearby creek.

Educational Activity
Care for Colorado

Explore the Care for Colorado Principles by completing an age-appropriate word search. Get activity.

Day
5
Breakfast
Start the Day at Taste Local

Supercharge your morning with gourmet breakfast selections, along with some downhome favorites at Taste Local. Make sure to grab a table (or a couch) and place your family’s order by the counter.

Activity
I Spy: Benson Sculpture Garden

The Benson Sculpture Garden showcases more than 170 sculptures in a beautiful and unique outdoor setting where kids will feel like they're in a magical wonderland as they roam the artwork.

Lunch
Extra! Extra! Read All About Lunch at The Pizza Press

Located in one of Fort Collins’ liveliest open-air markets, The Pizza Press makes eating pizza fun for the whole family. Inspired by the Roaring '20s and the era’s newspaper history, this build-your-own pizza parlor has it all. Here, you can order a pie named after a famous paper or publish your own creation and top it off with craft ingredients. The Junior Editor is a kids' special that includes a 6-inch pizza with two toppings, a fresh-baked cookie and a small fountain drink.

Activity
Farm Favorites: The Farm at Lee Martinez Park

The Farm at Lee Martinez Park provides interactive, hands-on farm fun and is an adventure for all ages. Activities and attractions include a museum and farm store, hayrides, pony rides, birthday celebrations, special events and interactions with farm animals.

Dinner
Diner-Style Dinner

What better way to wrap up a day than on one of Fort Collins’ best patios? Here you’ll find mouthwatering comfort foods served against some of the best views in the city. Inspired by old-school diners, Union Bar and Soda Fountain’s specialty is their milkshakes — which are both kid and adult friendly. A fruit cup and sundae are included with all kids' menu items.

Activity
Fun Times at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery blends science, history and culture into an interactive and engaging museum that literally offers the best of all worlds!

Lodging
Catch Some Z's at The Armstrong Hotel

This boutique hotel is perfect for its location right in the heart of Fort Collins. You’ll be able to take a quick stroll to and from most places with the family to get that energy out! When the day’s over and it’s time to rest your heads, book a two-bedroom corner suite — one room for you and one for the kiddos. Also, be sure to say "hi" to Oreo, the hotel’s resident cat, who frequents the lobby area.

Itinerary Tip
Head to Fort Collins

Cruise to Fort Collins, with a stop in Loveland along the way.

Educational Activity
I Spy

Hone your sleuthing skills by playing a game of I Spy at the Benson Sculpture Garden. Get activity.

Itinerary Tip
Lock in Your Love

Purchase an engraved lock at the Loveland Visitor Center and head over to the largest love-lock sculpture of its kind in the country! Here, you and your family will be able to choose a special place for your one-of-a-kind lock.

Educational Activity
Farm Favorites

From farming equipment to farm animals, kids and adults will experience farm life at the Farm at Lee Martinez Park. Farm favorites will provide an opportunity to discover what each person likes the best. Get activity.

Extra Credit
Word Jumble

Try to unscramble vocabulary from the day's adventures. Get extra credit activity.

Day
6
Breakfast
Breakfast at Butters Greeley

Time to get your breakfast on! This locals' favorite serves up all of the breakfast classics, and kids' menu items are just under six bucks. The restaurant also boasts a ton of booth seating, so the kids can let off some steam ... before learning about steam engines.

Activity
It’s All in the Details: Colorado Model Railroad Museum

The Colorado Railroad Museum houses America's most scenic model railroad and the only one in the world that operates like a real railroad for the public. Find historical fun for the whole family when you play I-spy games and explore the caboose.

Lunch
Belly Up to the Burger Bar Sam's No. 3

With more than 100 food items to choose from, there’s something on the menu for everyone including members of the fam whose tastes may lean toward french fries and chicken fingers. Sam's No. 3 was featured on the Food Network’s "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" — so you know the food’s good! Head over to the Aurora location, snag a booth and enjoy the hype.

Activity
Discovering Your Senses: Morrison Nature Center

Morrison Nature Center is a hidden treasure with many trails that are filled with plants and animals.

Dinner
Taco Time at Taqueria Corona

With recipes that go back generations, Taqueria Corona is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Aurora with a menu full of authentic classics. The best part? The prices are super affordable with tacos coming in at just under $2. This makes trying new dishes an easy feat.

Activity
Expand your Cooking Skills With a Class at Create Cooking School

Budding chefs will love the Create Kids cooking classes at Create Cooking School located in the Stanley Marketplace.

Lodging
A Final Fun-Filled Night at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center

With indoor and outdoor pools, a lazy river and a variety of lawn games and screened movies, staying at the Gaylord Rockies is a vacation in itself. The resort has plenty of options to choose from so that your family can soak up their last night on the town. Be sure to ask for a scavenger hunt booklet upon check-in, so kids can search the property for clues and fun facts.

Educational Activity
It’s All in the Details

The Colorado Model Railroad Museum is a magical place that transports the visitor to a world of model trains and their landscapes. Which details will you be amazed by? Get activity.

Itinerary Tip
One Bushel for the Road

As you head toward Aurora, stop by one of the many farms in Brighton to pick up fresh fruits for the ride.

Educational Activity
Discovering Your Senses

Explore the Morrison Nature Center using your five senses during a short hike. Get activity.

Extra Credit
Compare and Contrast

Want to spend more time at the Morrison Nature Center and keep exploring? Check out the extra credit activity.

Itinerary Tip
Continue the Culinary Exploration With Taiyaki Ice Cream

Head over to Snowl for an insta-worthy nutella-filled, fish-shaped cone topped with ice cream. It sounds like a mouthful but we promise it tastes as good as it looks.