Sure, Colorado’s great for ski weekends, but what do you do during those long wintry days when you’re not on the slopes? Here’s a round-up of 50+ things to do with kids in Denver in winter when you’re both bouncing off the walls.
January leaves everyone a little stir-crazy in our house. No more holiday excitement and we’ve all spent far more time inside than is good for us. So often it’s just much easier to stay cozy at home on a cold, blustery day. To combat this inevitable inertia, I’ve compiled a list of more than 50 things to do with Denver kids during these wintry days. Now whenever the question comes up, “What should we do today?” we have a checklist to reference, which gets the kiddos and I both more excited about getting out.
I’ve included the usual suspects, of course, but I was also excited to discover new places to check out — a good reminder that, if you look a little deeper, there’s always something new to explore and enjoy in our city.
(Please note this list is far from exhaustive. Also, I’ve only included classes that offer a drop-in option or 1-day option.)
Museums and Culture:
- Play on a firetruck, shop in the market, build a fort, or ride a zipline at Denver Children’s Museum (2121 Children’s Museum Drive, Denver). The outdoor Joy Park is a fantastic energy burner on a balmier winter day. (Tip: Free night is March 6 4-8pm.)
- Dig in the sandbox, play banker, or steer a pirate ship at WOW! Children’s Museum (110 N. Harrison Avenue, Lafayette).
- Splash with water, dig for dinosaur bones, or construct buildings at Denver Museum of Nature & Science Discovery Zone (2001 Colorado Boulevard, Denver). (Tip: Free days are January 28 and February 12.)
- Craft and listen to stories at Denver Firefighters Museum’s (1326 Tremont Place, Denver) monthly Tales for Tots. (Tip: This museum is much smaller than the others. We found an hour was about enough time to explore.)
- Loan your kiddo a digital camera to capture the butterflies and other insects at Butterfly Pavilion (6252 W. 104th Avenue, Westminster).
- Check out a Family Backpack or Art Tube to explore art in a kid-friendly manner at the Denver Art Museum (100 W. 14th Avenue, Denver) or hang out in new family space. (Tip: February 3 and March 4 are free days.)
- Create art at Denver Art Museum’s drop-in programs for kids, CelebrARTE, Create Playdates, and Create-N-Takes.
- Explore aerodynamics principles at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum Exploration Station (7711 East Academy Boulevard, Denver).
- Bring your vehicle-obsessed little to the Forney Museum of Transportation (4303 Brighton Blvd., Denver).
- Visit our animal friends at the Denver Zoo (2300 Steele Street, Denver). (Tip: January 19-20 and February 4-5 are free days. No more free days after that until November.)
- Feed the stingrays at the Downtown Aquarium (700 Water Street, Denver).
- Enjoy train stories and crafts at Colorado Railroad Museum (17155 W. 44th Avenue, Golden) for ages 4-6 years every third Tuesday (10-11am). (Tip: March 8 is a free day.)
- Drop in for sensory play and art-making classes at Lalu Art (4317 Tennyson Street, Denver) or sign up for a class or school day off at Art Garage(6100 E. 23rd Avenue).
- Learn to hammer and create wood crafts with Tinker Drop-In ($15) or Preschool Playdates ($12) The Craftsman and Apprentice (1345 East 22nd Avenue, Denver) for kids as young as 18 months.
- Enjoy a puppet show at The Denver Puppet Theater (3156 W. 58th Avenue, Denver).
- Listen up for story time at Tattered Cover Book Store (2526 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver or 1628 16th Street, Denver), BookBar (4280 Tennyson Street, Denver), Second Star to the Right (4353 Tennyson Street, Denver), or the Denver Public Library (various locations).
- Pop into the Central Denver Public Library also has play areas with games, toys and large building blocks.
- Check out a new-to-you toy for free at the Denver Toy Library at the Smiley branch (Berkeley: 4501 W. 46th Avenue, Denver) of the Denver Public Library.
- Take in lunch and a movie at Alamo Drafthouse (Sloan’s Lake: 4255 W. Colfax Avenue, Denver).
- Try out a new game together at Board Game Republic (Golden Triangle: 900 W. 1st Avenue, Denver).
- Ski in the city at Denver’s Ruby Hill Rail Yard (intersection of Platte River Drive and Jewell Avenue near downtown), just opened for the season. (Don’t be thrown by the Winter Park website–it really is located in Denver.)
- On our warmer, sunny winter days, hike the Trading Post Trail at Red Rocks Park.
- Tumble, balance and bounce at open gym drop-in days at Dardano’s School of Gymnastics (2250 Kearney Street, Denver, monthly open gym day), Great Play (760 S. Colorado Boulevard, Glendale), or Tigar Gymnastics (4860 Van Gordon Street, Wheat Ridge, Mon and Fri, 9-10:30am).
- Run and play at one of Denver’s more than 200 city parks. Or, if you’re looking for a fun new park to explore, check out Wheat Ridge’s Discovery Park or Northglenn’s E.B. Rains Jr. Memorial Park. Both offer extensive play areas to tucker out high-energy littles.
- Ski for free all season long if you’re 12 or under at Keystone Resort.
- Ice skate at downtown Denver’s Skyline Park. (16th and Arapahoe streets, Denver)
- Bounce high at Big Time Trampoline Fun Center (7330 W. 52nd Avenue, Arvada), Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park (Greenwood Village, Lakewood and Littleton), or Jumpoline Family Fun Center (15380 E. Hampden Ave., Aurora) or Sky Zone Trampoline Park (7330 W 52nd Avenue, Arvada).
- Drop in for open swim at one of 14 indoor Denver Parks and Recreation swimming pools.
- Take a plunge at the indoor pools at your local rec center.
- Enjoy the tiny indoor amusement at Lollipop Park (6901 S. Peoria, Centennial) complete with Ferris wheel, indoor train, teacup, bumper car and other rides all for the under-10 set.
- Climb, run and jump when it’s too cold outside at the indoor Clubhouse Adventure Playground at Apex Park and Recreation District (131500 W. 72nd, Arvada).
- Bang a drum, shake a tail feather or sing a song at a drop-in music class at Altitunes (5134 W. 29th Avenue, Denver).
- Zipline and climb at Jungle Quest‘s indoor climbing center (8000 S. Lincoln Street, Littleton).
- Stretch and bend at kids’ drop-in yoga at Second Star to the Right (Saturday mornings/4353 Tennyson Street, Denver), Kindness Yoga (Aurora: The Stanley Marketplace), Mudra Yoga (1550 S. Pearl Street, Denver or 560 S. Holly, Denver) or The River Yoga (Baker: 1212 Delaware Street, Denver).
- Bowl old-school style at Crown Lanes Bowling Center & Sports Bar (2325 S Federal Blvd, Denver), Wheat Ridge Lanes (6595 W 38th Avenue, Wheat Ridge)
- Take your kids for a little local adventure with a ride on Denver’s light rail. (Tip: Park at one of the stations outside downtown, like Lakewood or Central Park, and ride the light rail to Union Station where you can grab some lunch, people watch, and hang out downtown for a bit.)
Looking for more kid-friendly Denver ideas? Check out 11 Favorite Denver Kid-Friendly Restaurants That Parents Love Too and 10 Denver Fitness Solutions for Keeping Resolutions (Even with Kids in Tow).
Note: This post has been adapted from a post originally published on January 25, 2016 and updated with new content and links.