Travel: Summertime in Denver, Colorado

Colorado is a beautiful state, and Denver a wonderful city.  I may be biased since I grew up there, but there really are so many things to see and do.  It is a bustling city that sits amongst the Rocky Mountains, so winter sports enthusiasts already know the beauty of the state.  But summertime in Denver, Colorado is just as amazing!

Summertime in Denver, Colorado

Denver is known as the Mile High City because it sits 5,280 feet {that’s a mile} above sea level.  With the legalization of recreational pot use, the meaning may have changed over the last couple of years, but you shouldn’t let that deter you from visiting with your family.

Things to do in Denver with Kids

Estes Park

Estes Park is a small mountain town near Rocky Mountain National Park.  You can do a day trip, it’s about an hour and a half drive from Denver, or do a side trip and plan to stay a little longer.

Summertime in Denver, Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Park sits near Rocky Mountain National Park.  You can drive all the way through the park and end up in Grand Lake, Colorado, or you can drive up to the Continental Divide and turn around and head back to Estes Park.  This takes a few hours, so make sure you plan accordingly.  Have a picnic in the park and enjoy the scenery!  If you have a 4th grader, be sure to register them with the National Park Service.  They will get into any national park for free {and so will you!} for the school year.  This initiative is to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the park system.

Estes Park is home to the Stanley Hotel.  This is where Stephen King stopped off with his wife for an overnight visit, which inspired him to write The Shining. FYI the hotel charges a $10 parking fee, but ghost sightings are free.

You may want to walk around and enjoy the mountain air while you pick up a few souvenirs, eat some lunch, and enjoy some sweet treats.  You can get more ideas at Visit Estes Park.  After shopping and eating, go to Fun City and ride one of the giant slides!

Summertime in Denver, Colorado
Saltwater Taffy in Estes Park

Downtown Denver

Downtown Denver is a mecca of fun activities for kids!  There are so many things to do and see. Visit the Aquarium, the Children’s Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the State Capitol, or pull up a chair and read a few books at the Denver Public Library, which has an awesome Children’s Library.

Summertime in Denver, Colorado
Denver Art Museum

You can also visit the Molly Brown House {she survived the Titanic,} or tour the Denver Mint.  Go see the animals at the Denver Zoo or visit the renowned Denver Museum of Nature and Science {we literally spent all day there, and could have used more time.}  The Denver Botanic Gardens is also a great place to spend the day.  Or catch a  Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field.

Summertime in Denver, Colorado
Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Local Finds

The suburbs are also a plethora of fun.  Just a short drive from Denver, head to the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster.  Once you’ve finished there, it’s a quick trip to the Adventure Golf and Raceway for putt putt golfing and go kart races.  If you’re looking for a day of fun in the sun, look no further than Water World, also located in Westminster.  If Water World is too much water fun, you can go to The Bay Aquatic Park in Broomfield which offers the same water fun, however it’s a smaller park, and much cheaper.

Just up the highway about 20 minutes West of Denver sits Golden, home to the Colorado Railroad Museum.  Further up the highway in Georgetown, you can check out the Georgetown Loop Railroad, which is a fun day trip on a train ride through the Rockies!  If you’re hungry, be sure to check out Beau Jo’s Colorado Style Pizza with locations in Idaho Springs, Evergreen, or Arvada.  All are on your way back to Denver.

You can also check out Casa Bonita, a Denver institution.  Known to some as the Disneyland of Mexican Restaurants, but in my family we call it Caca Don’t Eat It.  You definitely do not go for the food.  You visit for the atmosphere, the history, and to say you went to the place where Kyle had his birthday party {if you haven’t seen the Casa Bonita South Park episode, be sure to check it out.}  Before you go, know that you must buy a meal for everyone in your party.  Meals start at $15 and they go through your system faster than Cartman eating a bag of Cheesy Poofs.

Summertime in Denver, Colorado

Whew!  There’s a lot to do in Denver and your kids will take home memories they will cherish forever!

What is your favorite thing to do in Denver?

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