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Explore the permanent exhibit, Prehistoric Journey, in addition to many rotating exhibits, at Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Photo courtesy Visit Denver and Evan Sermon Photography evansermon.com

2019 Family Favorites: Classics

Businesses and organizations come and go over the years, some gain new followers and some fade in popularity. And then there are the classics. These spots have created an experience that families love, giving parents and kids great memories not just year after year, but decade after decade. Here is our list of the classics that Denver area families adore and that never fail to deliver.

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Denver Museum of Nature & Science

On any given day at this playground of science, hundreds of kids of all ages explore everything from gems and minerals to the human body in interactive, hands-on exhibitions. The nearly 120-year-old museum started with a collection of fauna assembled by an early settler in the Rocky Mountains who was passionate about science. That love of science and exploration of the workings of the natural world still inspires visitors today, making it a perennial favorite of local families. With a number of rotating, fascinating exhibits, a DMNS membership card is often a staple of a local parent’s wallet. 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver

Children’s Hospital Colorado

This renowned pediatric facility sees and treats more kids than any hospital in its seven-state region. Maybe that’s because the folks at Children’s Hospital Colorado are always pioneering new ways of curing and treating childhood diseases, which means juvenile patients receive the most effective and potentially least invasive care available. Generations of families also appreciate the family-centered experience created by pediatric experts who recognize that families are partners in health. 13123 E. 16th Ave., Aurora

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Immerse yourself in nature with your family at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park

It’s not hard to see that Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is a classic family favorite, just look at the more than 4.5 million people who visited in 2018. Luckily, Colorado families can visit this natural beauty when the summer crowds have subsided. With trails for every age and ability, there is a way for the whole family to experience the breathtaking views together. A collection of guided walks, activities, and ranger-led programs help visitors learn more about the animals and plants that call RMNP home. The engaging Junior Ranger program empowers kids to become stewards of RMNP, and learn about protecting all natural spaces. Estes Park

Denver Zoo

Just when you think you’ve seen all that a zoo can offer, the more than 100-year-old Denver Zoo surprises and delights with exciting new views of Amur tigers, opportunities to feed and interact with gentle giraffes, and a daily lineup of keeper talks. The newest addition, Harmony Hill, offers an innovative way for guests to learn about appropriate behavior when they head into an animal’s habitat, and how to deter animals from entering human areas. No matter what your favorite animals are, a visit to Denver Zoo is a lovely way to spend any day of the year. Generations of families return decade after decade. 2300 Steele St., Denver

Take a road trip to Glenwood Springs for a variety of outdoor adventures.

Glenwood Springs

Something magical happens when you add water to your Rocky Mountain road trip, and that’s easy to do in Glenwood Springs, home to not only the world’s largest hot spring pool, but also Iron Mountain Hot Springs and Hanging Lake—one of the state’s most popular hikes to gentle Colorado waterfalls. Bike along the Colorado River, raft or kayak, explore vapor caves, and take in the thrill rides at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Don’t forget to venture into the village, too, for dinner on historic Seventh Street.

Washington Park

Whether you want to take the family for a picnic, a bike ride, or free time to just breathe-in nature, Washington “Wash” Park is a family classic. This 158-acre grand beauty packs in the activities with lakes, grassy lawn areas, playgrounds, and trails. It can also pack in the people, especially on weekends when the trails and playground are buzzing. No matter where you live in the city, at one time or another you’ve likely spread out a picnic blanket and planted your family near one of the blossoming flower beds or pushed your stroller under the canopy of old trees along the trails. And if not, it’s a visit worth making. Covers area from S. Downing St. to S. Franklin St., and E. Virginia Ave. to E. Louisiana Ave., Denver

Casa Bonita

Long before this local icon was immortalized by the show South Park, the 85-foot pink tower and indoor cliff divers drew local families for a celebration or family dinner with a basket of nearly endless sopapillas—just raise the flag! It’s all still there: Black Bart’s secret hideout, the arcade and Mercado, the fountain, and the 30-foot waterfall. Families—and many visitors—still stop in to experience the legendary 52,000-square-foot location. Sure, the menu has its critics, but most go for the experience. And this 45-year-old favorite rarely disappoints. 6715 W. Colfax Ave. Lakewood

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