Exploring Denver & Cities of the Rockies
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Test your home fire-safety knowledge after a trip to the Denver Firefighters Museum. Get activity.
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.
Kids and parents alike will enjoy the engaging and hands-on exhibits that connect visitors to Colorado’s history and heritage.
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.
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.
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.
From Denver, drive west towards the mountains and the charming town of Morrison.
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.
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.
Your next stop is the welcoming city of Golden.
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!
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.
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.
Explore the life of William Cody and compare it to your own during a trip to the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. Get activity.
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.
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.
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.
How much do your the kiddos remember about the day's explorations? Test their memories with a couple of questions. Get trivia.
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!
Drive to Boulder for your next adventure-filled day.
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.
Get ready to see the Boulder Museum through new eyes while on a hunt to discover artifacts that you may normally overlook. Get activity.
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.
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.
Get up close and personal with the trees at Chautauqua Park. Get activity.
As you make your way to Longmont, have your kids create an acrostic poem to remember your trip. Get activity.
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.
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.
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.
Make your way to Estes Park with a stop for some scholarly shenanigans in Lyons.
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.
Dive into the history of Lyons by carefully examining artifacts at the Lyons Redstone Museum. Get activity.
Kids will enjoy the playground at LaVern Johnson Park and access to the nearby creek.
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.
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.
Explore the Care for Colorado Principles by completing an age-appropriate word search. Get activity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cruise to Fort Collins, with a stop in Loveland along the way.
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.
Hone your sleuthing skills by playing a game of I Spy at the Benson Sculpture Garden. Get activity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fort Collins Museum of Discovery blends science, history and culture into an interactive and engaging museum that literally offers the best of all worlds!
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.
Try to unscramble vocabulary from the day's adventures. Get extra credit activity.
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.
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.
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.
As you head toward Aurora, stop by one of the many farms in Brighton to pick up fresh fruits for the ride.
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.
Morrison Nature Center is a hidden treasure with many trails that are filled with plants and animals.
Explore the Morrison Nature Center using your five senses during a short hike. Get activity.
Want to spend more time at the Morrison Nature Center and keep exploring? Check out the extra credit activity.
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.
Budding chefs will love the Create Kids cooking classes at Create Cooking School located in the Stanley Marketplace.
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.
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.