PSST… What to Do With Your Kids in Denver Before School Starts

Things to Do with Kids Before School Starts

We almost can’t believe it—summer is almost over. The Fourth of July has come and gone and your family will be shopping for back-to-school bargains before you know it.

But don’t worry! We still have a few weeks before the season is officially finished, which gives us plenty of time to squeeze in a little more summer fun. From enjoying some sweet ice cream to meandering through local museums, here are some of our must-do end-of-summer activities in Denver for you and your kids.


Explore the Downtown Aquarium

Downtown Aquarium

Photo courtesy of the Downtown Aquarium

Both an entertainment complex and a dining destination, Denver’s Downtown Aquarium is not your average aquarium. You can wind through oceanic tunnels, watch swimming Bengal tigers, come face to face with sharks, and pet stingrays. Before the kids head back to school, spend a day exploring the facility. If you get hungry while you’re visiting, make sure to stop by the aquarium restaurant where you and your family can dine beside a 50,000-gallon centerpiece aquarium, offering floor-to-ceiling views of marine life from every table!


Cheer on the Rockies at Coors Field

The Rockies’ season is still in full swing! Visit Coors Field to cheer on our favorite baseball team as you take in some of the gorgeous late-summer weather. Plus, there are plenty of fantastic restaurants in the area for you to grab a post-game meal like Ian’s Pizza, Cherry Cricket (their Ballpark location!) and Milk Market.


Hop Aboard the Denver Trolley

Denver Trolley

Photo courtesy of the Denver Trolley

Platte Valley Denver Trolley used to be part of Denver’s extensive 250-mile electric trail system that connected Denver to the cities of Golden and Boulder. Today, you can ride through popular Denver sites like Confluence Park, Elitch Gardens, the Downtown Aquarium, the Children’s Museum of DenverSports Authority Field at Mile High and downtown Denver. The trolley runs Thursday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m and fares are just $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 4–13, and free for children 3 and under. You can find out where to board the trolley on their website.


Get a Thrill at Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park

If you haven’t already visited Denver’s most popular summer attraction a million times this season, stop by Elitch Gardens and spend the day getting an adrenaline rush! The park features thrilling roller coasters, pint-sized adventures for little ones, special events and splashin’ water attractions—so the entire family will have a great time!


See Wild Animals at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Photo courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Located just northeast of Denver, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is a 15,000-acre expanse of prairie, wetland and woodland habitats. While it was originally established, in part, to protect the bald eagle, today the Arsenal is home to more than 330 species of animals, including bison, black-footed ferrets, deer, coyotes and burrowing owls. Spend an afternoon hiking one of the many easy trails or take the self-guided Wildlife Drive Auto Tour—all completely free! Afterward, stop in and explore the Visitor Center to learn more about all the animals you had a chance to see.


Investigate the 16th Street Mall

The 16th Street Mall is a mile-long, pedestrian-friendly mall packed with shopping, restaurants and attractions that you and your kids will have a blast traversing! If you get tired of walking—don’t worry! Just hop on the MallRide which will take you to the other end of the mall for free or, if it’s after dark, you can settle into a horse-drawn carriage or pedicab.


Go Skiing at Shredder Urban Ski & Snowboard Park

Urban Ski Denver

Photo courtesy of Shredder Urban Ski & Snowboard Park

Skiing? In the summer? You bet! At Shredder Urban Ski & Snowboard Park, you can develop your winter sports skills in a safe, indoor environment. In their state-of-the-art facility, your kids can ski off carpeted slopes and snowboard around plushy obstacles. They offer a wide variety of classes for children of all ages and some open gym times, so check out their website to see what their monthly schedule looks like before you go!


Take Flight at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

If your kiddos dream of space exploration, the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is the perfect spot to explore. With exhibits on everything to do with space—including military operations, black holes, astronauts and veterans—there’s a little something inside for everyone.


Scream for Ice Cream at Bonnie Brae

Bonnie Brae

Photo courtesy of Bonnie Brae Ice Cream

While we definitely love to enjoy ice cream year-round, for some reason, it just tastes better in the summer. Good thing the Denver area is bursting with delicious ice cream spots where you can say a sweet goodbye to the season. Bonnie Brae Ice Cream has been a Denver staple for over 20 years. They have over 100 flavors that are in constant rotation—which are all made in-house!


Learn Something New at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

If you’ve got a kiddo who loves learning new things, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a solid summer activity choice. Travel back in time in the Egyptian Mummy exhibit, pretend to be astronauts in the Space Odyssey exhibit, or have some hands-on fun in the Discovery Zone—the possibilities are endless!


Go For a Family Bike Ride Along the Cherry Creek Trail


One of the most popular jogging, walking, riding and biking paths in the city, the Cherry Creek Bike Path offers a whopping 40 miles of paved trail from Denver’s Confluence Park all the way to the small town of Franktown, just a few miles from Castlewood Canyon State Park. One of our favorite ways to spend a summer day with the family is to hit the trails and explore some sites along the way. In fact, we even have a complete guide to our favorite spots on the Cherry Creek Trail!


Catch a Flick at Elvis Cinemas

Going to the movie theater can be pretty pricey, especially when you have a whole family to buy tickets and snacks for. Elvis Cinemas, however, is an extremely affordable choice! They offer movie tickets for $3 before 6 p.m. and $4 in the late evening along with reasonably priced concessions. While they don’t have swanky recliner chairs or current movie offerings—it’s still an incredibly fun (and affordable) outing for you and the family!


Stop and Smell the Flowers at Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens

Photo courtesy of the Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens is an inviting oasis in the heart of the city. In addition to the plentiful plants and flowers all around, the 24-acre garden offers world-class education, art exhibitions, special events, and plant conservation research programs. Green inside and out, Denver Botanic Gardens is one of the top botanical gardens in the United States and a pioneer in water conservation. They offer plenty of fun classes and events for kids throughout the year so check out their calendar to see what they have in store for this month!


We Hope You Had a Great Summer!

The end of summer is always bittersweet. While we’ll miss spending warm days by the water and exploring the city with our little ones—we can’t wait to make even more memories this fall. Let us know how you’re planning on spending the last days of summer in the comments!