One of the top things to do in Denver with older kids, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is a hands-on educational museum that kids love!
This downtown Denver museum has a lot of free days in 2016 and is definitely worth checking out:
2016 Denver Museum of Nature and Science Free Days:
- Monday, January 25
- Sunday, February 7
- Monday, March 7
- Sunday, April 10
- Saturday, April 23
- Monday, May 9
- Sunday, June 5
- Monday, August 29
- Sunday, September 11
- Monday, October 24
- Sunday, November 13
- Monday, December 12
As you can see, this year we have plenty of opportunities to enjoy this great museum.
Location: Denver Downtown
2001 Colorado Blvd near City Park and the Denver Zoo. Map
On our free day at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, we decided to begin on the ground floor and work our way up. Our first stop was to pick up a scavenger hunt sheet, which we would use to find interesting details throughout the museum. We then walked through the eerie hallway that sets the mood for the space odyssey exhibit. I think that driving the space shuttle was possibly the most fun I had at the museum, and my daughter loved it as well. Many of the exhibits in this area are for older kids who are learning about how planets form and such. But in the corner near the large video projection screen there is an area for smaller kids, where they can man the cockpit of their own space ship or try on some mini-sized space gear.
We next moved onto gems and minerals, which is particularly interesting for our family as we live near mining country. Gemstones from around the world are displayed in a setting made to appear like an old mine. Details are explained about how particular stones and minerals are formed and why the form in certain parts of the world.
On our way out, we noticed that the South Atrium had free face painting so we lined up for our turn. The line may appear long but the face painting goes super fast, so we were sporting our own designs in no time.
Heading up the escalators, we found that most of level two was devoted to wildlife, with mock animals displayed in amazing landscapes. The dioramas required lots of close examination to fill out our scavenger hunt sheet, as we slowly explored many different ecosystems and their diverse animal life. Due to the way that the hallways are constructed between exhibits, it's very easy to miss the American Indian exhibit, but I recommend you grab a map or follow the signs through the family atrium to see the fascinating North American Cultures display.
If you have young kids, it's possible that they could become bored with exhibits that they can't actually play with. But don't worry that your day will be a bummer, as that is where the discovery zone comes into play. Located at the far end of the second floor, discovery zone is set up for young kids to have the time of their lives. Fossil digs, water play, and games I don't think we have a name for! There are frequent hands-on shows put on by nature and science museum staff, such as lessons on how to play drums for little hands.
I should also point out that the IMAX theater on the second floor is not free during SCFD Community Free Days. You will have to frequently pass the entrance to the theater with your kids demanding to go inside, but you must resist.
By the time we made it to the third floor, all of us were tired. The attractions on the top floor were more of interest to the adults in the family rather than the children, although the kids did really like the dinosaurs at prehistoric journey. The third floor of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science mainly houses displays about cultures and civilizations of the world. From local Colorado history to the mummies of Egypt, it's all there.
Truth be told, there is far more to see at the Museum of Nature and Science than we could ever experience in one day. So on our way home, we planned out our next visit!