Denver was recently ranked as one of the top 10 places in the world to travel this spring (, and it’s easy to see why. From Komodo dragons to acrobatic gibbons, to millions upon millions of LEGO bricks and free music festivals, Denver’s spring schedule is packed with events that will appeal to the whole family. Plan early and take advantage of special hotel deals.

Here are 10 upcoming events worthy of a family vacation in Denver this Spring:

NCAA 2012 Women’s Final Four Tourney Town

March 30-April 2, Colorado Convention Center
Cost: Free!
The NCAA Women’s Final Four will bring 30,000 fans to the Mile High City, and while the games require tickets, Tourney Town refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero™ at the Colorado Convention Center does not. This free event will be the “host city” and epicenter for fans with fun community activities, including autograph sessions, a free concert by music sensation Jewel (March 31), the NCAA Pep Rally (April 1) and the AT&T Mascot Challenge (April 2). Special hotel deals and game tickets are also available.

LEGO KidsFest
April 27-29, Colorado Convention Center
Cost: $20/adults, $18/kids
Dozens of large scale LEGO structures and life-sized models will fill the Colorado Convention Center at the LEGO KidsFest, a creative hands-on, minds-on fun experience and entertainment-packed family event for children of all ages -- and builders of all skills and interests. Get creative in the construction zones, meet LEGO Master Builders, help build Creation Nation, experience LEGO Games, and see dozens of life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricks. Special hotel rates are available!

New History Colorado Center opens
Opening on April 28
Cost: $10/adult, $8/students, $6/children (ages 6-12), children under five are free
The new $110 million, interactive Colorado History Center will bring to life the colorful stories of Colorado’s explorers, cowboys, Native American’s, railroaders, soldiers and athletes when it opens in downtown Denver on April 28. Traverse an interactive, 80-foot map of the state using a Jules Verne “time machine.” Virtually travel the plains in a Model T Ford. Don a headlamp and descend into the hard rock mine of Silverton. Soar off the world’s first ski jump in Steamboat Springs.

Mile Into The Wild Walkway at the Wild Animal Sanctuary
Opening in April
Cost: $10/adult, $8/children
With more than 300 lions and tigers and bears, the Wild Animal Sanctuary is the largest carnivore sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere. Opening in April is the new Mile Into The Wild Walkway – a mile long, 30-foot high walkway that curls over the plains, letting visitors get up close and personal with all of the Sanctuary’s incredible animals. Visitors will stroll over a field filled with tigers on one side, grizzly bears on the other, as they make their way to the new Bolivian Lion Complex – home to 35 lions that were recently rescued from Bolivian circuses.

Cinco de Mayo Festival and Parade
May 5-6, Civic Center Park
Cost: Free!
The largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in America attracts 400,000 attendees to beautiful Civic Center Park for a weekend of Latino music, food and fun. A low rider parade, food booths, beer and some of Mexico’s top recording stars highlight this family-friendly festival of Hispanic culture.

New Thrills at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park
Opening May 5
Cost: $42.99/adults, $29.99/children (under 48”)
New offerings at Denver’s beloved downtown theme and amusement park include: Tube Top, a twisting, twirling, totally-enclosed tube; and a fresh new look for the theme parks, KiddieLand, with the addition of Rockin’ Tug and Tike Bikes, two new children’s rides.

Denver Day of Rock
May 26, 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver
Cost: Free!
Downtown Denver becomes a mini-Woodstock with five stages, 20 bands and a full day of free music from the likes of Toto, Fishbone, Toad the Wet Sprocket and many more. Presented by Concerts for Kids, Day of Rock features two dozen food trucks, outdoor beer gardens (I.D. required) and family-friendly activities, from noon to 9 p.m. A block-party art show featuring Colorado artists completes the Memorial Day fun in downtown Denver. Special hotel deals are available for Memorial Day weekend.

Lizards & Snakes exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Open through July 8
Cost: $12/adults, $6/children (ages 3-18), $6/students
Creepy, crawly fun, with such reptilian superstars as the Burmese python, Gila monster, Komodo dragon and the Green basilisk! Discover the evolution, movement and feeding habits of more than 60 live snakes and lizards from five continents.

Mordecai Children’s Garden at the Denver Botanic Gardens
Now open!
Cost: $12.50/adults, $9/children (ages 3-15), $9/students
The newly re-opened Children’s Garden at the Denver Botanic Gardens offers a place to play, explore and discover. Because the natural environment constantly changes, no two visits in this magical 3-acre oasis will be alike. Learn unique characteristics of plants living in the Rooftop Alpine Garden, race pinecones down Springmelt Stream and hunt for bugs in the Glorious Grasslands.

Toyota Elephant Passage at the Denver Zoo
Opening June 1
Cost: $15/adults (ages 12-64), $10/children (ages 3-11)
The world’s largest bull elephant habitat opens on 10-acres in the Denver Zoo on June 1. Called Toyota Elephant Passage, this landmark $50 million exhibit offers an ingenious series of bridges and tunnels between islands that will be filled with elephants and rhinos. Stop at an elephant crossing, or walk under a bridge while they cross above. Marvel at Indian one-horned rhinos cooling off in a shallow stream, acrobatic gibbons swinging overhead from tree to tree, fishing cats diving for their next meal and the piercing stare of a black leopard, all from the center of an Asian village.