Fall. Autumn. Leaves are about to change, kids are back in the swing of school, and everything that can possibly come in pumpkin spice, now is (at least in the northern hemisphere). It’s like a beautiful little respite between the kinetic summer and the craziness of the holidays and winter. There are a lot of reasons it’s many people’s favorite time of year: the cool, crisp weather, the gorgeous leaves, and the fun of Halloween. And around the Denver metro area, there are a ton of family-friendly activities that are fun for kids and adults of all ages. Colorado is a beautiful place in the fall, and we’re fortunate that so many of those things to do also promote wellness and health in addition to being fun (we’re pediatricians, so we have to say doctor stuff like that). But if you’re looking for awesome things to do with your kids this September, October and November in the Mile High City, look no further than this blog, Partners In Pediatrics’ 2019 Autumn Kid-Friendly Activities Guide!
Outdoorsy Stuff (Bring a Jacket)
- Check out Rocky Mountain National Park. Obviously it’s beautiful year-round, but autumn is an excellent time to take a day trip to good ole’ RMNP and hike around. Be sure to bring a picnic! Head to a Visitors Center if you have any questions.
- Go to the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster. A surprising number of natives haven’t even been to the Pavilion, but we highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful spot in a part of town you may or may not be familiar with.
- Head on down to Cherry Creek State Park. It’s easy to forget that this little gem is within Denver itself. This is a fun area to boat, walk around and do all sorts of fun stuff with your kiddos.
- Check out a show at Red Rocks Amphiteatre – or just hike around there! Red Rocks really is a world-class venue, and it provides some beautiful, easy hiking for kids just a short drive away from Denver.
- Wander around the awesome Botanic Gardens’ Corn Maze out at Chatfield Farms. This is a really fun activity for folks of all ages. If you love a good maize maze, this is the spot for you.
- See Botanic Gardens’ homage to America’s favorite gourd (hint: it’s orange and makes a great pie) at Glow At The Gardens. From October 21-25, the Botanic Gardens on York Street will host a beautiful, luminaria-lit Halloween spectacular. There will even be trick or treating! Be sure to check it out!
- The Botanic Gardens is also doing a Pumpkin Festival out at Chatfield Farms on October 11-13. This is another fun activity out in Southwest Metro Denver.
- If your kid loves dinosaurs, be sure to take them to Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison! Did you know that the Hogback used to be the beach, millions of years ago? It’s true! And because of that, there are tons of amazing dinosaur fossils to be found here. It’s pretty amazing what you’ll learn – as a kid or a parent!
- Run (or walk, or toddle, as the case may be) in the Wash Park Turkey Trot! Proceeds go to support Mile High United Way.
- Check out any number of Denver’s great parks! Maybe you’re into City Park, Wash Park, or Alamo Placita Park – no matter your preference, there are tons of amazing parks for everyone! Taking a nice stroll around a park is good for anyone’s mental health, for sure.
- Head on down to Boo At The Zoo, a kid-centric Halloween celebration that features, of course, tons of amazing animals. The Zoo’s special events like this are consistently a great time, and this is no exception. On October 19, 20, 26 and 27, get ready for tons of trick-or-treating, family-friendly entertainment, creepy-crawly animal demos and character meet-and-greets. This should be a blast!
- Celebrate Día de los Muertos at the Botanic Gardens on November 3! Craft a shrine or altar at the Altars of Remembrance, see lots of amazing artwork or even watch Disney’s Coco inside! This should be great, like all of the other Botanic Gardens special events.
- Get your fill of candy at the Children’s Museum’s Trick Or Treat Street! This 3-day event runs from October 25-27 and is free for members. Get ready for a sugar high!
- Hit the slopes as a family! A-Basin and Loveland open in October, and tons of other ski resorts open in November. Check this webpage for a list of Colorado ski resort opening dates.
- If you’re a big fan of Tennyson Street in the Berkeley neighborhood (it’s amazing if you haven’t been over there yet), they offer an annual Trick Or Treat Street & Fall Festival. With carnival games and tons of awesome businesses that cater to fun-lovers of all ages, this is a really nice fall activity. It’s the last Saturday in October (October 26).
Less-Outdoorsy Stuff (Jacket Not Required…Probably)
- The Rockies most certainly aren’t making the postseason this year, so I guess a trip to Coors Field probably isn’t happening (unless you want to walk around it outside). So why not check out the Broncos (although that 0-3 start isn’t exactly inspiring) at Mile High Stadium (or Empower Field, or whatever it’s called now)? Or the Avs or Nuggets at Pepsi Center? If you and your kids enjoy sports, fall is a great time to be in Denver!
- See some amazing artwork at the Denver Art Museum. Did you know that kids under 18 get free admission to the DAM all day, every day? It’s true! Be sure to take advantage!
- Check out the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. This is one of the best museums in Metro Denver, and has been delighting PIPsters for generations. The DMNS is definitely one of the best kid-friendly activities around Denver.
- Head on down to a First Friday – or just explore the Santa Fe Arts District. There’s plenty of good food down there, and tons of cool spaces to look at. In addition to art galleries, there are lots of really interesting shops.
- Explore Union Station and any number of surrounding places downtown. There’s a lot to do down there, and it’s a great place to tire your kiddos out! Try some of the good restaurants in there – many are kid-friendly. And they offer a special kids Halloween party on October 25, cutely called Boonion Station! The event is completely free and open to the public.
- Take a tour of the U.S. Mint in Denver. Did you know that one of the U.S. Mints is right here in Denver? It’s a pretty cool place to take a tour. Note that kids under the age of 7 are not allowed – picky, picky!
- Either continue an old tradition or finally see what all the hype is about by driving out to Lakewood and hanging out at the infamous Casa Bonita. There’s a reason that South Park made an entire episode about this place: it rocks. The food isn’t exactly good (insider tip: the sopapillas aren’t bad), and you’re required to order some of it, but kids and adults alike are consistently delighted by the cliff divers, Black Bart’s Cave and even the Mercado (gift shop).
- See Tim Burton’s classic The Nightmare Before Christmas – with a full symphony orchestra playing the score live! Unfortunately, the performances immediately follow Halloween itself (November 1 and 2), but this should be a heck of a lot of fun. What a cool idea!
- See some fish and eat some good grub at the Downtown Aquarium. Denver’s aquarium (formerly known as Ocean Journey) houses over 500 different species, features a nifty stingray touch tank (it’s kind of weird, but super cool and kids love it), and is owned by Landry’s Restaurants, Inc. Did you know that? We didn’t either. The food should be good, though!
- Does your kid love candy? (Duh.) Then check out the Hammond’s Candy Factory tour! Located near the Denver Mart, Hammond’s offers a pretty sweet experience for kids and their parents alike.
- Elitch Gardens’ annual Fright Fest occurs every weekend in October! It touts itself as Colorado’s largest Halloween fest, and we think they may be right! They have a more family-oriented approach during the daytime, and a scarier take at night. Be sure to read up to figure out what’s appropriate for your family.
- Check out some great art at the annual Denver Arts Week. Running from November 1-9, it’s loaded with cool art activities and events. Fun for the whole family!
- If you’re really a curmudgeon, you could go to the southern hemisphere where it isn’t fall at all. Denver International Airport isn’t far away.
Enjoy fall, fellow Denverites!