While the kids might be at home learning online, it doesn't mean you can't get out for a stimulating field trip. Denver takes education to a higher level with endless outdoor adventures, interactive games and world-class cultural attractions. Where else can you track dinosaurs, check out Egyptian mummies, see vivid street art, hike around sandstone monoliths and take a treetop zip-line tour?
Welcome to The Mile High City. You're about to have the best field trip ever! Start planning now with these great hotel deals. And download the official Field Trip Denver form to capture your adventures and share them on social media.
The city also has plenty of sensory-friendly experiences. (Please check with the institutions first as the policies may have changed due to COVID-19.)
Nature & Science
Denver is surrounded by natural wonders and diverse ecosystems, providing the perfect classroom for budding scientists.
Run wild at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and find everything from dinosaurs to Egyptian mummies, now featuring two new exhibitions: The Art of the Brick, famous artworks made out of LEGO® bricks, and Dogs! A Science Tail, an interactive look into what dogs are thinking; go on a safari at Denver Zoo, featuring the latest exhibition, Nature Connects®, Art with LEGO® Bricks with giant plant and animal sculptures; swim with sharks and pet stingrays at the Downtown Aquarium; learn about Colorado’s ecosystems at Denver Botanic Gardens; go on an inspiring aviation tour, including the Wings Over Rockies Air & Space Museum; see rescued lions, tigers, bears and wolves roaming freely at the Wild Animal Sanctuary; look for rare black-footed ferrets at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge; track dinosaurs at Dinosaur Ridge; see if you can spot bison at Buffalo Herd Overlook; explore the vast world of invertebrates in a rain forest setting at Butterfly Pavilion; and don't forget the dog thanks to these pet-friendly hotels and parks.
Denver's year-round outdoor playground needs no introduction. But here's a cheat sheet on how to get some fresh air and pick up valuable skills.
Go for an easy bike ride along the beautiful South Platte River that runs through downtown by renting a bike through Confluence Kayaks or take a tour with Mile High Bike Tours (ages 11 and up and accompanied by an adult); check out the mile-high markers in the city that are exactly 5,280 feet above sea level; hang out in the green spaces like Washington Park with its two lakes, gardens and mountain views; go for a hike among the stunning sandstone monoliths at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre; learn to climb (all ages) on real Rocky Mountain cliffs only minutes from town with Denver Climbing Co.; and take an inspiring day trip to check out fall colors and historical sites. If adrenaline-fueled activities are your thing, Castle Rock Zip Line Tours lets you soar on 1.5 miles of zip line at speeds of up to 50 mph, take a treetop zip-line tour 65 feet above Clear Creek with Colorado Adventure Center, or do it all at Lawson Adventure Park & Resort where you can zip line, traverse granite cliffs (thanks to Colorado's only private via ferrata), roll down the mountain inside a giant ball and finish your adventures by rafting on Clear Creek. You can also spend a night in either cabins or yurts and do it again the following day. Note: The adventure parks have minimum age and weight requirements.
The city has a colorful past. These museums and cultural attractions provide exciting ways to get your hands on history.
See what it’s like to be a firefighter at the Denver Firefighters Museum; go back in time at Denver’s oldest house at Four Mile Historic Park; learn about the life and times of Titanic survivor Margaret Tobin Brown at the Molly Brown House Museum; take an inspiring African American heritage tour; watch history come alive at History Colorado Center with cutting-edge activities like a virtual ski jump; hear the stories behind some of the state’s most prominent women at the Center for Colorado Women’s History at Byers-Evans House Museum; see classic and unique cars, airplanes and trains at the Forney Museum of Transportation; take an unforgettable ghost tour or check out the haunted Cheesman Park; go on a self-guided history adventure via the Denver Story Trek; and take a train ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum.
Fine Art & Street Art
Seeing famous artwork up close and creating your own through workshops is essential for developing the right side of the brain. Here's how to bring out your best.
Get free admission to Denver Art Museum, known for its Indigenous art collection, every day for those under 18 and enjoy various activities and programs for kids; check out the Museo de las Americas, the premier Latin American art museum in the Rocky Mountain region; see large-scale works of one of the most important American artists of the 20th century at the Clyfford Still Museum (free admission for children under 17; the museum is temporarily closed until Sept. 18); see inspiring and challenging contemporary art at MCA Denver — Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (free admission for children under 18) with special programs for teens; take on all kinds of DIY projects from leatherworking to jewelry making at Upstairs Circus (recommended for ages 9 and up; minors must be accompanied by an adult); express yourself through various arts-based classes and workshops for all ages at The Art Garage; and see why Denver is becoming a mecca for street art with mind-blowing murals all over town. For more about the "Love This City" mural above, read the blog post about local artist Pat Milbery of So-Gnar Creative Division.
Music, Film & Literature
Take a break from textbooks by diving into literature from locally owned shops or seeing a movie on the big screen. Here's how to expand your world.
Enjoy a drive-in movie in the great outdoors; buy books at Tattered Cover Book Store or BookBar; take stunning images at these popular photo ops; take a comedy class for kids and teens at Rise Comedy; and get a glimpse of many of the big stars who’ve performed at Red Rocks Amphitheatre via the Colorado Music Hall of Fame (temporarily closed) located not far from the stage.
Fun & Games
Now it's time for recess. You deserve some playtime!
Choose from five themed escape rooms for an unforgettable experience at EscapeWorks Denver; go bowling and play arcade games at Lucky Strike Denver; play various golf games and try the delicious food at Topgolf or play a round of mini-golf at Urban Putt; release some energy (and rage) by breaking various things at SMASH*IT Breakroom (must be at least 13); play board games at the Game Lounge; go on a scavenger hunt with Let’s Roam; spot hidden elves at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science; shoot at each other with foam-tipped arrows at Archery Games Denver (recommended for ages 10 and up; youth hours on weekend for those 7-12); throw axes, yes axes, at DAGAR (recommended for ages 10 and up); assemble a team and choose a mission in live-action escape rooms at Puzzah!; and create, discover and explore with unique exhibits and activities on nine acres at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus (newborns through age 8).
Please check with local businesses and attractions individually before you venture out for the latest COVID-19-related policy updates and hours of operation.
No field trip is complete without stopping for a snack break! Want to get hands-on? Consider booking a family cooking class (ages 6 and up) at Uncorked Kitchen or discovering Mile-High cuisine with Local Table Tours.
The most important meal of the day! Fuel up for your Denver adventures with pineapple upside-down pancakes at local favorite Snooze, or savory waffle sliders at Syrup. If you’re near the 16th Street Mall, check out Modern Market, Corner Bakery Café or The Delectable Egg to start your day right.
For an upscale twist on a school cafeteria, head to Denver Milk Market for lunch. This 16-concept food hall offers everything from poke bowls to fried chicken. The Denver Central Market, located in the trendy RiNo (River North) neighborhood, is another delicious multi-concept destination, featuring a chocolatier, pizzeria, ice cream shop, handcrafted salads and more. For a crowd-pleaser, visit 5280 Burger Bar, which serves mouthwatering and wildly creative burgers in the Denver Pavilions. On the move? Check out Civic Center EATS, a roundup of the city’s best food trucks held in Civic Center Park on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Denver is full of chef-driven eateries, many that are perfect for a family dinner. Keep the history lesson going at Buckhorn Exchange, which has been operating in Denver since 1893, or The Fort, a replica of an 1800’s trading fort and home to Tesoro Cultural Center. Looking for something to please both kids and adults? Farm House at Breckenridge Brewery boasts craft beers in addition to a large green space with a selection of lawn games. Speaking of games, the Game Lounge serves a playful food menu alongside a wide variety of board games that can be checked out while you dine, or you can enjoy bowling, shuffleboard, billiards and arcade games and more at Punch Bowl Social. In the Highland neighborhood, Acova features an eclectic menu that you can enjoy on their large patio, which includes an extensive Montessori-inspired outdoor play area.
Wrap up your day with something sweet. Keep the learning going at The Inventing Room, where you and your kids can play Willy Wonka with demonstrations on liquid nitrogen and sugar crystals. In Uptown, D Bar Denver is run by celebrity chef Keegan Gerhard, who turns out masterpieces like the delightful Cake & Shake combo. Prefer something you can walk with? Little Man Ice Cream serves inventive flavors out of a 28-foot-tall milk can in the Highland neighborhood, while Victory Love + Cookies bakes both playful and classic treats you can take to-go.