It can be tough to find fun, age appropriate places to take your baby or toddler for outings, but discovering new spots to check out with Olivia is one of my favorite things! There are so many neighborhood parks and hiking trails near where we live, but sometimes it’s nice to change up the routine. While there are a lot of options for kids of preschool age or older, I’m never sure what age is the appropriate time for those. So, I compiled a short list of places in Denver (where we live) that we’ve taken Olivia that she’s really enjoyed. And I’m always looking for new suggestions!
Storytime at the Library: One of the things we have been doing with Olivia since she was three months old is Storytime at the Public Library. It’s only 30 minutes, but it’s full of singing, sensory learning, stories, and it’s a great place to meet other kids of the same age and their parents. It’s very interactive with lots of parent participation, so it keeps them entertained the whole time. It takes place every day, so check online for timing at your local library. Also, if you are participating in the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten challenge don’t forget your Storytime books count towards this!
Children’s Museum of Denver: This is probably my favorite place to take Olivia, and it happened to be the first membership we bought. Olivia loves the three and under area, and I love it because everything in the room is child safe and I can let her roam freely (though still supervised). It’s been so fun watching her discover new things every time she goes. They also have several other exhibits like bubbles, the art studio, ready, vet, go!, fire station no.1, teaching kitchen (can’t wait till she old enough to try this one!) and many others! I’ve also heard that they have a great outdoor area in the summer months, so we’re looking forward to that. If you plan on going more than three times a year I would absolutely recommend a membership since it will pay for itself. The membership is $140 for two adults and their children, whereas a single visit is $11 for a one year old or $13 for guests ages 2-59. My favorite time to go is when it first opens at 9am, though on their website they also recommend Monday (no school groups) and Wednesday afternoons.
Denver Aquarium: We first took Olivia here when she was four months old, and I was surprised by how much she loved it. Even though she was still really little she loved looking at the movement of all the fish, especially the bright tropical ones! I will say though that we have yet to find the perfect time to go when it’s not packed with visitors.
The Denver Zoo: This one is a given, but I will say that we first took Olivia here when she was 6 months old, and she fell asleep at the giraffe exhibit and slept the entire rest of our visit. Now that she is more mobile and excited by all the animals it’s a lot more fun for both of us. The Tropical Discovery is still a big hit for us, and I like how you can bring your own food and drink into the park.
The Butterfly Pavilion: This is probably the farthest drive from where we live, but it was another place we took Olivia when she was pretty young and she seemed to have a lot of fun. We skipped the part where you hold the tarantula (which always seems to be pretty popular) and headed straight for the butterflies. She was only four months old at the time so we knew we limited on time before we she started getting cranky and needing a nap. This was another place where I was surprised by how engaged she was at such a young age. She loved watching all the colorful butterflies, especially the ones that landed on us. I was also thankful that she never really tried to reach out and touch any of them since that is prohibited.
Westlands Park in Greenwood Village: We go to a lot of different parks – thankfully, Colorado is full of them – but I have to say that Westlands Park in Greenwood Village is by far the most impressive public park I’ve seen. I mean, you can actually slide right into the park. What kid wouldn’t love that?! What I love about this park is that it’s huge and there is a separate playground that is geared towards the younger kids. This park has something for kids of all ages. If you haven’t checked out this park with your kids yet, I would highly recommend that you do!
City Park Jazz: Even though this event isn’t tailored to young children, it’s something that the whole family can do. In the summertime there are free Jazz concerts down at City Park. You can bring a picnic blanket, folding chairs and a picnic dinner (there are food trucks there too!) and enjoy a couple hours of Jazz on a Sunday night. Olivia loves all types of music, food and just general running around, so she had a great time just playing around and watching the boats pass by. These events get crowded, so make sure you get there early to grab a parking spot!
Sweet Cooie’s Ice Cream: Okay, so I know that this isn’t a play zone or amusement park for kids, but it was such a fun experience when we took Olivia to have her first ice cream. If you love Little Man Ice Cream, than you are going to love this place because it is Little Man Ice Cream. It’s owned by the same man, but what’s fun and unique about this place is that it’s set up like an old time ice cram parlor! The atmosphere is really fun and of course the ice cream is amazing! We bought Olivia a “little dip” which is the smallest ice cream they have, and while it was still a little too big for her she loved what she was able to eat. I’ve even heard they have cotton candy waffle cones in the summertime.
Seasonal Events at Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms: So of course I had to stick in something about the holidays, but we really have had a great time this last year at the seasonal events at Chatfield Farms. This last fall we attended the Pumpkin Festival and while it was crowded we had a great time taking family photos, eating from food trucks and listening to love music. We didn’t end up getting any pumpkins (I had already bought ours), but they also have a giant pumpkin patch, corn maze and rides for kids. If you like the Pumpkin Festival, you can also go back in the winter time for Santa’s Village. This event is over several weekends and it’s not so crowded (though it can be really cold!). The gardens are covered in Christmas lights, you can visit with Santa and Mrs. Clause (if your child isn’t deathly afraid of Santa that is), meet live reindeer, say hello to Frosty, and go on a wagon ride to see the lights. The night we went as a family was pretty cold, but to see how excited Olivia was to see her first reindeer was completely worth it!
I know there are a lot of other great options in Denver for babies and toddlers like The Little Gym, Soccer Buddies, tumbling classes and so on, this is just a short list of our favorites. If you have any other great suggestions, please share them in the comments below! I’m always looking for new places to take Olivia!