Summer is gone, and Autumn is here in full force! The kiddos may be back in school, but that doesn’t mean the family fun has to end. As your integrative pediatrician and long-time medical home in Denver, we are well aware that providing quality pediatric care isn’t just about focusing on your child’s physical health. Under a holistic approach, there is no denying the mind-body connection and its potential impact on your child’s well-being. A stressed or bored child is rarely a happy child so we would like to “prescribe” some fun activities for your whole family to enjoy this fall. There are so many fun things to do in and around the wonderful city of Denver that no list can be comprehensive. Please consider the following list of activities as a jumping off point and let your, and your children’s, imagination and curiosity run wild. These are also outdoor, low COVID risk activities. Let the fun begin!
1) Denver Botanic Gardens and Chatfield Farms, Denver and Littleton
The Denver Botanic Gardens and Chatfield Farms are a wonderful resource for family entertainment in the fall, hosting events sure to please both the kids and the adults in your family!
As every child (and anyone who’s ever been a child) knows, autumn is largely about Halloween! In that “spirit,” for a few nights in October, the Gardens are transformed into a spooky, illuminated landscape, complete with larger-than-life sculptures, dense displays of carved jack-o’-lanterns, and performing artists bringing spirits and specters to life! The event is appropriate for all age groups and costumes are encouraged for all guests–just be sure to leave any weapons (fake or real) at home and no masks covering the entire face for guests over age 17. Timed tickets are $17-21 for Gardens members, $19-23 for non-members and free for children 2 and under (no ticket required). The member pre-sale begins September 30 at 10 a.m., and tickets go on sale to the general public on October 4 at 10 a.m. Don’t miss out on this enchanted event!
- Pumpkin Festival, October 8-10, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton:
What would Halloween be without a pumpkin?! Get ready for the spooky holiday at the Pumpkin Festival, where you and your kiddos can roam Chatfield Farms’ 10 acre pumpkin patch and find the perfect pumpkin (or two)! Pumpkin prices vary by size, with the average price being $8, payable only by credit card–and don’t forget to bring a wagon to carry your pumpkin once you find it! Free “pumpkin daycare” is provided at the festival, near the exit of the pumpkin patch, where volunteers will take good care of your pumpkins while you enjoy the rest of the festival. In addition to pumpkins, there will be family and children’s activities (including an antique tractor exhibit, hayrides, photo booths, face painting, games, inflatable bouncers, slides, an obstacle course, and a mini-maze for kids 10 and younger), local craft and artisan booths, entertainment and live music, food trucks and vendors, and a beer vendor. Tickets MUST be purchased online and will NOT be available for purchase at the festival. Tickets are $12 for non-member adults, $10 for adult members, students, seniors 65+, military and children ages 3-15, and $7 for a child member.
- Corn Maze, September 17 – October 31, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., 8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton:
For more “a–maze–ing” fun at Chatfield Farms, visit the Corn Maze! You can wind your way through the seven acres of corn, which will take approximately an hour and is full of twists, turns and dead ends, or you can view the maze from a 15-foot tall bridge. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 6 p.m., children under the age of 10 can also explore the corn mini-maze. Barrel train rides are included with the purchase of a child Corn Maze ticket, and pirate-themed escape rooms are available for an additional fee (payable only by credit/debit card at the door). A few things to note: children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, Halloween masks and costumes are not allowed on the premises, and on October 8-10, you will need to purchase a ticket to the Pumpkin Festival to gain entry to the Corn Maze (on those nights, discounted Corn Maze tickets can be added for an additional $8 per adult or child). Tickets for the Corn Maze are $15 for non-member adults; $13 for children ages 3-15, adult members, students, seniors (65+) and military, and $10 for member children. Children 2 and under are free–no ticket required!
2) Denver Zoo, City Park, Denver
For the entire month of October, your kids can go wild at Wild Fall at the Denver Zoo! According to the Zoo’s website, CRYPTIDS are animals that are believed, but which haven’t exactly been proven, to exist, such as Bigfoot, El Chupacabra, Mothman and other critters of their kind. During Wild Fall, the Zoo will provide “convincing evidence that these mythical beasts walk among us—with costumes and characters, creature-carved pumpkins, festive food and drink, and special animal demonstrations that connect these supernatural beings to the real-life natural world.” There will be no trick-or-treating or candy offered during Wild Fall, but your family is welcome to bring their own to make the experience even sweeter! Costumes are very welcome, especially animal costumes (please no masks that cover your eyes or scary or gory outfits)! Wild Fall is included with your Zoo admission. The Zoo is currently limiting the number of visitors per day. Tickets MUST be purchased online.
3) Downtown Aquarium, Downtown Denver
For more Halloween fun in the Denver metro area, bring your kids to the Halloween Kids Fest, at the Downtown Aquarium, on October 29, 30 and 31! For a spook-tacular time, join the Aquarium’s mascot, Sharkey, and his friends for “not-so-haunted train rides, pumpkin painting, monster mural coloring, science experiments, shows and so much more!” Kids’ costumes are encouraged!
4) Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Denver
Although not Halloween -related, we think this next item sounds really cool! At the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, you and your kids can experience flying through a prehistoric landscape on the Jurassic Flight at the Birdly Virtual Reality Experience exhibit! Through a head-mounted VR display, “fliers are enveloped in a high-resolution virtual landscape charged with interactive zones and entertaining surprises,” including headwind simulation, 3D audio, and visual impact. There are certain restrictions so, as always, please check an event’s website before going. Tickets to the Birdly exhibit MUST be purchased onsite, and a General Admission museum ticket is required.
5) Healthy Kids Running, Denver
Partners In Pediatrics is very proud to be a sponsor of this fall’s Healthy Kids Running series! Every Sunday during October, kids can gather to run in fun races, including the 50- and 75-yard dash, the 1/4 mile, the 1/2 mile and the 1-mile run. Kids can see it as competitive (the best finishers receive points each week and can earn a trophy at the end of the series!) or just have fun (all participants receive a medal on Week 5!). This is a really fun series that encourages kids to exercise and socialize. Registration is available on the Healthy Kids Running website for $40.
There are a lot of serious things happening in the world right now, but that only highlights the need for fun in our lives as well! We hope you find the above suggestions helpful, and that they lead to some entertaining and exciting adventures for your family in the Mile High City. Remember, as a holistic pediatrician, we combine both conventional medicine and complementary and alternative treatments (including “prescriptions” for fun) in our efforts to provide the highest quality health care for your child. Thanks for letting us partner with you in this all important endeavor–we appreciate you all!