Winter is here again in Denver, and although it’s easy to just stay home and be warm and cozy, there are lots of amazing things to do that you and the family will love to take part in.
Winter is full of fun events and activities that are fun for the whole family here in Denver. We’ve compiled a list of the best things to do that are family-friendly and fun!
Explore and learn at the Denver Children’s Museum: from a bubbles lab to a forest, cooking classes at a real professional kitchen and an art studio with colors, clay and glazing. This is a hands-on museum for the kiddies and the adults. There is also a toddler room for younger kids that is great with lots of things to stimulate the little ones.This is definitely one of the best Children’s Museums in the country. You can easily spend 2-3 hours in here and not even seen it all.
They even have a real full size fire truck. How cool is that! Fun for every age. If you plan to go more than one time, they have annual memberships, that are worth considering.Does you kid love puppets? Check out Denver Puppet Theater to see an amazing marionette show, play with over one hundred puppets and even decorate your very own souvenir puppet ticket. They also have a lovely outdoor courtyard and free parking.
For art lovers in the family don’t miss The Art Garage: High-quality art classes taught by local artists. The Art Garage provides a community art education program and gathering space that gives access to the rich world of creative expression while supporting cultural, social, and educational diversity.
Check out The Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum Exploration Station, to explore and learn aerodynamics principles in more than 182,000 square feet of hangar space full of iconic aircraft, space vehicles, artifacts and even experience thrilling flight simulators.
Ocean lover in your house? Stop by the Downtown Aquarium where you can feed the stingrays, enjoy a mermaid show, learn about sharks and more oceanic life with their Family Programs you can SCUBA & Snorkel, have a Shark Cage Experience, be a marine biologist or zoologist for a day and more animal encounters.
Experience wonderful music classes at Altitunes, with musical space travel themes, animals and music of the world. They have awesome music teachers inspiring kids with songs, dance and while playing live musical instruments. They provide the opportunity to learn about circle time and waiting for your turn and even clean up. Parachute travel, spaceballs, animal balls, bouncing on bulls and bubbles are some of the kids favorites.
If your kids are missing playing out in the sandbox Kids Dig could save the day. They will enjoy an indoor 825 sq. ft. sandbox that has over 40 tons of sand, which is themed on a quarry environment with pictures and large photo murals of earth moving equipment that gives kids a feeling of being inside their own quarry. Kids Dig also has a designated sand area (with over 5 tons of sand) for kids that are not potty-trained; and offers a Sand-Free carpeted area for infants/babies not wanting to get sandy. Adults, at no charge, may be permitted to join in their kid’s Sand Play activity, depending on the availability of space. Check out their special here.
From November 26th to February 16th, Downtown Denver’s Skyline Park turns into an ice rink. And the best part? It’s free to enter, and completely free if you bring your own skates. Otherwise it’s $7 to rent skates for kids 12 and under, and $9 for adults (13 and over). This space is fun for all ages, provides special special events throughout it’s run, and is even bookable for private events! An extra bonus, skates are free to any Colorado 4th grader all season long. This works on the honor system, no extra verification is needed, just tell the cashier that your kid is in the 4th grade.
Opening on November 14t, the 2019-2020 season will be the 15th operating season for this ice rink set in the center of the Belmar shopping district. Hours and pricing can be found on their website. There, you can also find their schedule of events. All together, this rink is sure to be a good time for families with kids of all ages.
You’ll definitely want to dress everyone warmly for this one. With locations in only six cities around the country, the ice castle in Dillon is a unique opportunity for families in Colorado. Dillon is a bit of a drive from Denver, for sure, but this beautiful castle is the perfect finale to a day trip to the mountains this winter. Make sure to stop by after the sun sets, to get the full effect of the lights embedded in the ice. It has plenty of tunnels and slides for the kids. Just make sure to wear warm socks and boots. Walking on ice will make for some cold feet if your not careful. But this magical place will be worth it, if only just for the wonder in your children’s face.
Experience the magic of The Polar Express in this immersive performance of the children’s classic tale. They are offering multiple showtimes on weekend nights in November and December. Tickets run from $60-120, and include cookies and hot chocolate at all price levels, with added bonuses at the higher levels. After the story concludes, guests get a train ride to the “North Pole” to meet Santa.
The Denver Christkindl Market is is put on by the Colorado Chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce at Skyline park in downtown Denver. This festival is a celebration of German culture, and more specifically of German holiday traditions. With food, drink, handmade jewelry, toys, clothing, gifts, and more, this market has something for everyone. It also has live music and entertainment, and with plenty of things for the kids to do as well, this is a great place for the whole family.
Santa and his friends will be all set up at Chatfield Farms this winter. Hayrides, storytimes and sing-alongs, holiday lights, Santa’s Cinema featuring the movie Elf, reindeer meet and greets, and even a life-sized snow globe that you can actually enter make this a must see destination this winter.
Entering into its 28th year running, Denver Zoo’s Zoo lights is a long standing family tradition in Denver. With more that 2 million LEDs, this event is brighter than ever, and is maybe the best way to experience the Zoo. See the Zoo in a new light, as not only are there the lights, but you might just see the animals more active than usual around dusk.
Denver Botanical Gardens has been running this event even longer that Zoo Lights. A dazzling array of ever-changing lights transforms the already beautiful gardens into a winter wonderland, fit for the whole family. If one of your children has a holiday adjacent birthday, you can make it even more special hosting their party at the gardens during Blossoms of Light.
Since 1975, the Parade of Lights has been an important holiday tradition in Colorado. Head on down to Civic Center Park on December 6th or 7th to enjoy the 40+ unit parade set to the backdrop of the vibrantly lit Denver City and County Building. An even better part is if you can’t or don’t want to stand out in the cold, the whole thing is televised on 9News, so you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home.
Despite its problems around 15 years ago, the Georgetown Loop Railroad is back and running well. This year they are offering two different holiday train rides. First is Santa’s North Pole Adventure. Join Santa and his helpers aboard decorated, enclosed, and heated coaches as they pass out presents, treats, and goodies to the little ones. Next is Santa’s Lighted Forest. This one is set in the evenings and offers a beautiful light show set to synchronized music as you pass through the forest above Georgetown. Santa and his helpers will be aboard as well inside the heated and enclosed coaches.
Perhaps one of the stranger of Colorado’s Christmas locations, North Pole Colorado is at the base of Pikes Peak, and is open from May to December. That’s right. You can visit the North Pole in the middle of summer. Well into its 60th year, this park is not only home to Santa’s Workshop, but is also an amusement park in its own right. With plenty of rides for kids of all ages, live shows, gift shops, and more, this is a family destination everyone should make it to at least once.
When it comes to fun winter activities, it’s hard to beat grabbing your sleds and hitting your favorite local sledding hill with your family. Although Denver is a relatively-flat city, you might be surprised to find that we have plenty of awesome sledding hills! Check out our guide on the best sledding near you.
For the entire month of December, you can visit Downtown Golden for their Olde Golden Christmas festival. During this season the town transforms into a holiday wonderland, complete with plenty of lights and sights to get you in the holiday spirit. Parades, Santa Visits, and much more can be found at this month of celebration.
The Butterfly Pavilion is a non-profit, Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited invertebrate zoo. Here you can explore the wonders of butterflies and other insects in a safe, controlled environment. With over 1,600 butterflies fluttering around, this is certainly a wonderful place to escape the cold and bring your kids this winter.
How could we not include Skiing & Snowboarding in our list of winter activities? Check out our guide on Adventurous Kid Activities to see our feature on the best skiing and riding near Denver.
One of the most inspiring and extensive museums in Colorado, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the perfect place to bring the family for an educational day. Here you will find world-class exhibits, an IMAX theatre, planetarium and so much more. They also have a discovery zone for kids!
This children’s museum aims to educate, entertain, and inspire young kids through play and hands-on learning. Specifically geared towards babies, toddlers and young children, Wow! Is a great place to bring your little one on a quiet winter day.
At the School of Mines Geology Museum, kids and adults alike will love exploring the impressive collection of rocks, minerals, fossils and other fascinating geological objects. You can explore their indoor cave and find minerals that glow in the dark, go on a scavenger hunt on the trail outside of the museum, and see a moon rock from the Apollo 17 moon mission!
Seaquest is a unique aquarium where you can interact with much of the wildlife from all over the world! Feed and hold unique and exotic creatures while learning about sustainability and wildlife conservation. Kids will love spending a whole day at Seaquest in Littleton.
A great way to shake up being indoors to escape the winter cold is taking a road trip with the family (just check the weather and your tires first!). This blog post highlights some of our favorite day trips from Denver that we know you and the family will love.
Winter is a great time to treat yourself and your family, so why not do so with delicious candy, chocolate and ice cream? It’s never too cold to have a delicious, freshly-made scoop or two of Colorado ice cream. Check out our guide on the top Treats & Sweets near you so you can discover your next favorite local spot to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Kids who are already in love with trains will adore a visit to the Colorado Railroad Museum, and kids who aren’t will likely leave with a new-found adoration for the railroad. This museum offers over 100 locomotives, passenger cars, cabooses and more on display at their 15-acres railway yard.
Who says swimming is just for summer? Denver & Colorado are home to some awesome indoor water-parks and pools that are just as fun for kids as they are for parents. Check out our blog post to find the nearest indoor water-park or pool to you.
Visit the historic Larimer Square in Denver this holiday season for their annual Santa on the Square, a month long event where you can visit with Santa Clause himself for free on Saturdays & Sundays in December. You can also find various entertainment such as live music, festive lights and great holiday shopping.
Fans of the classic Disney film Frozen will be in awe as they see their favorite characters come to life live on stage in this play that expands on the Frozen universe. This play expands upon the relationship between Princesses Elsa & Anna and is loaded with magic, friendship, adventure, humor and fun.
Adam’s Mystery Playhouse is the only mystery company that offers shows that are appropriate for all-ages, and was voted the best mystery dinner theater in Colorado. Bring the whole family and participate in thrilling mysteries by finding clues and using teamwork, logic and critical thinking.
With kids staying inside to keep warm this winter, it can be hard for them to get the exercise they need. Thankfully, Denver is home to a wide variety of indoor bounce & tumble houses that will entertain the kids for house (and tire them out too!). Check out our blog post on 10 Great Bounce, Tumble and Indoor Gyms in Denver!
Why break the bank when teaching your kids (or yourself) how to ski or snowboard? Denver is home to two innovate indoor-ski schools, SNÖBAHN Indoor Ski + Snowboard Center and Shredder Ski. At these locations, you can learn how to be a proficient skier or rider without having to pay for lessons or risk injury on a mountain. SNÖBAHN offers classes for kids and adults, while Shredder is geared towards kids (even as young as 10 months!).
Light up the Holidays are a series of events taking place in Boulder this winter, including Switch on the Holidays, St. Nick on the Bricks, Lights of December Parade, and Freezie Fest. These fun fests throughout the months of November and December feature a variety of winter activities, including Santa visits, a parade, holiday lighting, and much more.
Consider a trip up to beautiful Breckenridge for the Lighting of Breckenridge & Race of the Santas, an annual event that features a multitude of holiday festivities. Here you can see a race of people dressed up in Santa outfits and other holiday attire, as well as dog parades, kid races, snowman building contests, and of course the lighting of the town itself.
Celebrate the holiday season with this classic Christmas tale coming to life live on stage. This musical is hosted at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and will be taking place in early December with multiple showings. This play is recommended for kids aged 5 and up, and runs for about 1.5 hours.
Hosted by CU Theatre & Dance students, this performance of A Christmas Carol will be running from November 15th until December 15th. Come see the classic Christmas story come alive on stage with a twist, as performers sprinkle classic Broadway performances into this musical event.
Denver is home to some amazing restaurants, and we made a list of our favorites that are fun & kid-friendly. From great kids menus to fun games and entertainment to enjoy along with your meal, we’re sure you’ll find a great new spot near you through this guide.
Visit the Bandimere Speedway in Morrison and load up your vehicle with your family to experience the holidays like never before. Drive through an array of lights that number of 1.5 million total. The lights will synchronize perfectly to holiday music that you can tune into on your radio. Christmas in Color begins on November 15th and continues until January 4th.
Visit the beautiful town of Breckenridge for their famous International Snow Sculpture Championships this January! The competitions themselves will take place from January 20-24th, while completed sculpture viewing days will be January 24th-29th. Come see teams from around the world make stunning sculptures completely out of snow!
Visit the Arvada Center for an adventurous musical that follows the magical world of Ella and her quest to find herself in a world of ogres, giants, elves, a wicked stepsister, and true friendships. This play runs regularly until December 29th and is a captivating tale for kids and adults of all ages.
If you’re looking for a new activity for you and your kids this winter, consider getting into rock climbing! You and your kids may find a new lifelong passion once you step into one of Colorado’s many climbing gyms, many of which offer great child-friendly classes and after-school programs. Indoor rock climbing is a great way for kids to stay active, meet friends, and build confidence.
iFly is a truly unique experience in which you can experience the thrills of skydiving completely indoors! Anyone aged 3 and up can get into their wind tunnel and become weightless as the fans suspend you in air just like you would be skydiving. iFly offers the same feeling of jumping out of a plane in a more safe, convenient & affordable environment.
Spend a chilly winter day indoors at one of the many fun & family-friendly arcades in Denver! Check out our blog post on some of the best that our city has to offer.
The whole family will love spending a day at Top Golf, a unique and fun game where anyone can win! At Top Golf you can score points by driving a golf ball at giant targets on an outfield. The closer you get to the target, the more points you score! You don’t need to be a good golfer to have a blast here.
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