The Children’s Museum of Denver: A Win for Kids and Parents
January 6, 2019
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When this Florida family visited Denver in the cold of winter, and were staying in a house with 15 family members, I knew we needed to schedule some fun indoor adventures! As a homeschooling family, we love to incorporate learning into our travels so when we are visiting a new place, we try to check out the local children’s museum, as these are often well run, have lots of space to get the wiggles out, and educational. The Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus certainly fit this description, and was the perfect spot to learn, play, and explore!
This amazing children’s museum is located in downtown Denver, in an area that is home to many different amusements and attractions. This is very convenient, because once you make it to this area, you can easily fill a day with kid-friendly activities, all located very close together. The house we had rented was within walking distance to this area, so we enjoyed a brisk walk one morning in order to arrive at the Children’s Museum of Denver.
As soon as you approach the Children’s Museum of Denver, you get a sense of the unique personality of the museum. There are ski lift chairs outside the entrance, a small playground near the parking lot, and a beautiful and unique building ready to greet you! When you enter or exit, there is a fun photo booth where you can snap a picture and then see it displayed on the screens hanging from the ceiling. We really enjoyed fitting all 7 of us into that picture and then watching it get displayed overhead. This is just an example of the many small touches that make the Children’s Museum of Denver one of the best spaces for children that I have ever visited.
Before I get to the many amazing exhibits, it’s also worth mentioning how truly child friendly this museum is in both design and staff attitude. At many children’s museums or science centers, even some that I used to frequent regularly, there are so many regulations and guidelines, that basically a staff member is constantly correcting children. In fact, I canceled my family’s membership to a local science center for this very reason. Of course, as a mother, I certainly understand the need for rules for safety, but this can be taken to an unnecessary extreme, particularly when the area is intended for use by children. When we were at the Children’s Museum of Denver for about 6 hours, no staff member ever corrected any of my 5 children nor my sister’s 3 children who were with us. There were times when staff helped us figure out how an exhibit worked, or helped make it more fun by showing a better way to do something, but never scolded or belittled children for playing in a “wrong” way. There were ample staff at all times and in all areas, and no one’s safety was in danger, so they just let children “be.” What a gift! The Children’s Museum of Denver should be a model of how to run a space designed for children in a respectful way of those intended young guests.
Now, on to the fun! I already mentioned that we spent about 6 hours at the Children’s Museum of Denver, and honestly, we could have spent every minute that they were open for the day. There are 18 different interactive exhibits, which are subject to change on any given day, but were all open during our visit. One of the most exciting was “Altitude,” which is a 3 1/2 story climber that features amazing views of Colorado, as well as an incredible amount of pride and feelings of self-accomplishment for young climbers who put on their gear, and make the journey to the top! This was definitely one of our favorites, and was incredibly unique in the world of children’s museums.
We also thoroughly enjoyed Joy Park, which is the outdoor space of the museum. On the day of our visit, it was slightly warmer than it had been, and with temperatures in the 40’s, we were able to enjoy Joy Park in all it’s glory. The zip line was probably the favorite here, and guests of all ages and sizes could ride, including adults! All of my children spent a lot of time in this area, and it was such a fun and freeing way to get out some energy. There were also toys abundantly available, an antique truck to explore, stepping stones, and a sand pit. It also had some picturesque photo opportunities of Denver!
Of all of the many amazing indoor exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Denver, we probably spent the most time in either the Art Studio or the Bubbles room. In the art studio, you could paint all over the walls, on a huge car that had stacks and stacks of paint, and use an easel to make your own creation. Paint and paper was free and readily available! On the other side of the art studio, you could work in clay, which was something we haven’t had the chance to experience much, so we enjoyed making tiny snowmen and funny creatures.
In the Bubbles exhibit, there were such fun ways to explore bubbles, and so many that we had never seen before. As a homeschooling mom, my mind spun with all of the science they were absorbing in this space, and how I could try to recreate some of this on a smaller scale at home.
Another favorite area was The Big Backyard. In this area, your children find themselves shrunk to the size of a critter, and can dress up as a fox, an ant, and more! They can explore and climb on an ant hill, make a nest for a bird, and can assemble everything needed for a specific habitat. This area was incredibly fun and also educational, because the readers in our group actually stopped to read the signs, and find all of the items needed to create the habitat correctly. They also chased each other in correct food chain order, while dressed as their parts! Be still this Mama’s heart with all of the cuteness!
For the younger members of your group, the Center for the Young Child at the Children’s Museum of Denver is specially designed for those 3 and under. In this area, shoes are not allowed, and there are perfectly sized role playing spaces like a dentist, a vegetable garden, and even a kayak! Is there anything cuter than watching a tiny litter person pretend to kayak through open waters?!
There were so many other incredible exhibits, like Energy, where you could build and test your own paper rockets, as well as explore wind energy in really cool ways! There were water play areas, a beautiful play kitchen space, a book nook, an assembly plant where you can use real tools to make little creations, and many more! Including my sister and her family, we had 8 children, ages 2-13, and they all had a wonderful time and some cried when it was time to leave. The parents enjoyed the abundant comfortable places to sit and watch your children play, as well as the many water bottle refilling stations, restrooms, and hand sanitizing stations. The Children’s Museum of Denver was designed with not only children in mind, but also the parents and caregivers that bring them.
This is an absolute must-do for parents in Denver. Whether you are a local, or just visiting for a few days like we were, put this on your list and thank me later! The Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus was clean, well run, educational, fun, and incredibly respectful of little learners, as well as their parents. You really couldn’t ask for more in a children’s museum. After you visit, be sure to tag me in your pictures on Instagram so I can see all the fun your little ones have as well!
*We received discounted admission in exchange for my fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.