Free things to do in Denver with kids include touring the Colorado State Capitol, visiting the Governor's Mansion, and checking out the Money Museum. Other ideas include seeing local wildlife, hiking local trails, and taking a tour of Hammond's Candy Factory.
Read on for my 12 family friendly ideas for your stay!
One of the most popular free things to do in Denver with kids is to head to the Colorado State Capitol. You can either explore on your own or join one of their guided tours.
The guided tours are best as you get access to areas you can't on your own. The capitol is open during the week.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the Governor's Residence at the beautiful and historic Boettcher Mansion. Built in 1908, this three-story landmark house on Logan Hill features a Roman Ionic colonnade. The governor and first family reside in private living space on the second and third floors.
This is another one of the free things to do in Denver with kids. Guided tours are on Tuesdays between mid-June to mid-August. They begin every quarter hour and last approximately 45 minutes.
The Hall of Fame commemorates the achievements of Colorado sports figures. Special programs and exhibits are designed for children including the interactive kids' zone where kids can dress in sports gear. Other exhibits include a tribute to the Denver Broncos and girls and women in Colorado sports.
If you're interested in a tour, stops include the stadium's executive suite, locker room, and end zone. The Hall of Fame museum is free, but there's a fee for group tours. Meet at Gate 1 on the west side of Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
If your kids love activities involving wheels, they'll have fun exploring the Denver Skatepark near Commons Park by the South Platte River. At this 60,000-square foot park, skateboarders, rollerbladers, and cyclists can take on the concrete terrain.
The park is free and open everyday. Bring your own equipment.
Union Station is a great place for the family to rest and recharge while exploring Denver. It used to be where passengers waited for their train, but this remodeled and repurposed beauty is one of my favorite places in the city.
With open seating in the middle, you can grab a drink, sandwich, or ice cream and relax anywhere you want. Kids can also enjoy the free shuffleboard table or cool off on a warm summer day in the fountains just outside.
The Money Museum, officially the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City-Denver Branch, is a free museum on the 16th Street Mall. It's the perfect place to teach kids about money and how the banking system works.
You can watch a short video about what the Federal Reserve Banks do, see what $30,000 looks like, and view historic money that is no longer in circulation. It's a quick stop and a good place to learn more about U.S. money.
One of my favorite free things to do in Denver with kids is to take a tour of Hammond's Candy. They have been hand making candy for decades and this tour shows you how they do it.
You will get to see inside this working factory, learn all about it, and sample their tasty treats.
If you love the outdoors, then you will love all of the hiking trails around Denver. You will find many paved trails in town, but some of my favorites are just a few miles from downtown in the foothills.
You can head out for a short hike or spend the entire day exploring our wonderful trails.
Located about 15 minutes from downtown Denver, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge features more than 15,000 acres of wildlife. More than 330 species call it home including bison, white tailed deer, and bald eagles.
You can visit by car or on foot. There is a self-guided auto tour that takes around 30 to 45 minutes. You can also enjoy their more than 10 miles of hiking trails. It's open every day except federal holidays.
Another one of the more popular free things to do in Denver with kids is a visit to Red Rocks. This amphitheater is located about 30 minutes from downtown.
During the day, you can explore the amphitheater area, visit their small museum, or head west on one of their trails. It's one of my favorite ways to enjoy the beauty of the foothills without having to drive too far.
If you want to see where the buffalo still roam, grab your camera and head 20 miles west of Denver to Genesee Park. You'll see two herds of bison along I-70, but pull off into the park for the best views. In 1914, seven bison from America's last wild herd were resettled here from Yellowstone National Park. The herd's descendants now consist of about 24 adult bison.
The Genesee Experiential Center offers youth programs. Camping and hiking are other activities to enjoy at Colorado's largest mountain park.
The Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve is a 134-acre park near Golden. At the park, you can do some hiking in the summer or snowshoeing in the winter.
The preserve is home to animals such as black bears, deer, and elk. You will also see dozens of species of birds and colorful flowers. In addition, you can stop into their Nature Center to learn more about the park, the local wildlife, and the flora and fauna throughout the preserve.