8 Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids in Denver
So summer days have wound down and it’s back to school! But that doesn’t mean the outdoor fun’s over! At Kids Mile High, we’re big on enjoying the outdoors year-round, and luckily, there are many outdoor fall activities in the Denver area for kids to choose from!
To help you decide which things to do with your kids in Denver, we’ve put together a round up of our favorite 8 family-friendly outdoor activities you can enjoy right now.
- Denver Zoo
Did you know that the Denver Zoo has welcomed kids (and adults) for 125 years? At the Denver Zoo, generations of kids have gotten “up close and personal” with a Siberian tiger, learned what a clownfish was long before Finding Nemo, and hand-fed hungry stingrays their afternoon snack.
Today, the Denver Zoo has over 10 different Exhibits that span 80 acres, plus daily demonstrations, small-group animal meet-and-greets, and special events. From elephants to orangutans, sloths to snakes, the Zoo is home to 3,000 creatures from all over the world, so it’s no surprise that it’s an experience that sparks a love of animals in many who visit.
To help visitors find their way around, The Denver Zoo offers an app with a real-time map and info about the animals you’ll see. You can also use the app to buy your timed-entry tickets in advance or schedule your visit if you have a membership.
2. Hudson Gardens & Event Center
This 30-acre destination outside of Littleton boasts exhibits, trails, open spaces, and event venues. Pack a lunch for an afternoon of free-form exploration along nature trails, race against each other — adults vs. kids? — in a game of Pokémon Go, or practice your navigation skills with some geocaching.
Or get in the Halloween mood with a visit to Magic of the Jack O’Lanterns. For all of October, Hudson Gardens is hosting this family-friendly event featuring 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins and extraordinary pumpkin displays. Kids will also love the magical carnival, a glowing seascape, dinosaurs, and dragons. No doubt you’ll find inspiration for your own jack o’lanterns with this fall activity.
- Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre
It’s safe to say that Red Rocks is a world-renowned destination. After all, how many amphitheatres boast amazing natural acoustics with the help of such spectacular rock formations?
Concert venue aside, we think exploring Red Rocks’ other-worldly landscape is one of the best outdoor activities for kids and families in Denver. The park has five main trails for hiking and biking: we suggest reading up on them beforehand to figure out which would work best for your family. Some are short, some are longer, and some have rougher terrain or steep drop offs that require extra caution with kids. But you can bet that all the trails have beautiful landscapes and views that will keep everyone “ooo-ing” and “aahh-ing.” You can also bring the family dog! (On leash, of course.)
- Dinosaur Ridge
The must-do activity for dinosaur lovers young and old? Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison. If your kids haven’t visited yet on a school field trip, take a family trip out to see real dino footprints, fossils, and bones… oh my! Cool fact? Dinosaur Ridge was the first place in the world where a stegosaurus was discovered!
The main visitor’s center is open year round while the Discovery Center is closed from November 1st to May 1st. Local’s tip: Visit Red Rocks and Dinosaur Ridge together since they’re in the same area!
5. Washington Park
Many Denver, Thornton, and Englewood residents consider Washington Park their go-to spot for a relaxing escape right in the city. With 155 acres of paths, trails, greenspace and gardens, plus a couple of lakes, Washington Park has many options for a slow weekend outing. Pack a picnic, a frisbee, or go for a walk or bike ride!
For a unique experience, rent a colorful surrey, deuce coupe, or chopper bike from Wheel Fun Rentals for travelling along the park’s 2.75 mile paved loop. They also have rentals on paddle boats, kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and paddle boats for on-the-water excursions.
6. Confluence Park
Yes, another park on our Kids Mile High list of outdoor activities in Denver, but this one’s different. Bring the kids to Confluence Park to watch kayakers brave rapids — yes rapids in downtown Denver! There’s also some great Instagram-worthy spots for chronicling your outing.
Confluence Park is close to other top activities for kids in Denver like the Downtown Aquarium and the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. So, if your outdoor adventure day starts to get rained out, you have somewhere fun nearby for plan B.
- Carousel of Happiness
This unique kid activity is a bit farther out than the others we’ve mentioned but well worth a visit. About an hour’s drive northwest from Denver, you’ll arrive at the tiny town of Nederlander, home of the Carousel of Happiness.
Little kiddos will love the magic of the carousel’s hand-carved animals, finding just the right one to sit on to enjoy their ride. Adults will appreciate the story and craftsmanship of the carousel’s animals, and the history behind the 1910 Looff carousel frame and 1913 Wurlitzer band organ. You and your kids might even like to “adopt an animal” to support the Carousel.
- Denver Urban Scavenger Hunt
With older kids, try this Denver outdoor activity that’ll get you moving, thinking, and working together. Plus, you might just find out more about the city you live in! Using your phones, teams make their way to different points of interest in the city, both well-known landmarks and lesser known ones. It’s like the Amazing Race but in only 2-3 hours and in one city. Sign up your family team at Urban Adventure West.
That wraps up our top 8 kid-friendly outdoor activities in Denver to try in the Fall! Your Kids Mile High dentists Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger, and Dr. Meredith would love to hear all about your children’s Denver adventures when we see them next. Book their upcoming appointment with the Kids Mile High team today!