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2022 Family Favorites: Family Fun

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Colorado Family Getaway

Top Three

Winner

YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center

The more than 860 acres at this location of YMCA of the Rockies gives parents and kids a chance to truly unplug in a breathtaking mountain setting. A daily schedule offers a wide range of activities, including archery, miniature golf, horseback riding, crafts, and an escape room. Sign up for one of the center’s popular guided tours of the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, then in the evening, unwind around a campfire.

Spring or Summer Family Festival

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Top Three

Winner

Boulder Creek Festival

Boulder
Held each Memorial Day weekend, festivalgoers can enjoy unstructured play with their kids along the Boulder Creek, as well as scheduled Creekside for Kids events such as concerts, dance parties, and face painting. Have fun on the climbing wall or in the bounce house, shop the artisan marketplace, and chow down on quality local eats.

Fall Family Event

Top Three

Winner

Pumpkin Harvest Festival at Four Mile Historic Park

Glendale
Each year, families celebrate the harvest of glowing orange pumpkins with old-fashioned family activities at this autumn festival favorite. The October event gives city families a chance to ride a tractor, build a scarecrow, and play prairie games. Best of all, the chill atmosphere filled with live music and the scents of fall treats is the perfect refresh before the busy holiday season begins.

Winter or Holiday Family Event

Top Three

Winner

Zoo Lights at Denver Zoo

City Park
This classic family event illuminates winter nights at the Denver Zoo with millions of twinkling lights. Families bundle up for a crisp stroll around the Zoo’s 80 acres to visit their favorite cold-weather species after dark and view stunning light displays and glowing animal sculptures.

Museum for Families

Top Three

Winner

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

City Park
On any given day at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, eager kids and parents could wander through a prehistoric dinosaur habitat, step into a fantasy spaceship, or participate in small experiments to learn more about their bodies. This dynamic, all-senses-on experience is what brings families back day after day. Fresh temporary exhibits, immersive IMAX films, and sentimental favorites like the wildlife halls keep families coming back for generations.

Nature Center

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Top Three

Winner

Wild Bear Nature Center

Nederland
In the mountain town of Nederland, this free nature center is just steps away from the historic Carousel of Happiness, as well as local restaurants, shops, and the Tungsten Trail along the creek. Inside, discover interactive animal exhibits, a maker space, sensory gallery, and a gift shop. Find opportunities for kids’ nature camps, workshops, and clubs galore.

Indoor Activity Space

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Winner

Kids Wonder

Centennial
Offering colorful surroundings and adult life shrunk to kid size, this play space caters to a child’s physical, intellectual, social, and emotional development. Kids enjoy becoming restaurateurs, firefighters, vets, and actors in Lil’ Town, while toddlers clamber over soft structures.

Small Local Museum

Top Three

Winner

Littleton Museum

Littleton
This free museum is the ultimate excursion for curious, active kids. Spend a day on two 19th century farms, with a selection of homestead animals, a schoolhouse, blacksmith shop, orchard, and growing gardens, to feel what life was like in the early days of Littleton. Indoor exhibits, including a kids area, make great learning spots on a hot summer or cold winter afternoon.

Water Park or Swim Center

Top Three

Winner

Pirates Cove Family Aquatics Center

Englewood
It’s easy to test the waters in each attraction at this cool Englewood hotspot. There’s a leisure pool with a large play structure and zero-depth entry, a 35-foot slide tower with three slides snaking out from the top of it, and a relaxing lazy river for a break from all the thrills. Kids flock to the leisure pool play area just as an elevated bucket fills up, tips forward, and dumps 750 gallons of water on their sun-baked skin.

Most Unique Playground

photos by Evan Semón Photography
evan.semon@gmail.com
720-620-6767

Top 3

Winner

Paco Sanchez Park

Denver
Named after former state representative and radio station owner Paco Sanchez, this 30-acre park filled with multigenerational activities will entertain for hours. The many unique play opportunities include a 30-foot covered climbing tower, rubber hills, and a super-fast concrete slide. Don’t miss the hanging seesaw swing—it can catapult its occupants sky high if you get the timing right. There are also plenty of swings, spring toys, and spinners.

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Family Day Trip

Top Three

Winner

Estes Park

Whether you just need to get the kids out of the city or you have guests in from out of town, Estes Park, at the eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, provides a satisfying one-day glimpse of Rocky Mountain life. Get some active outdoor time or head into town for shopping and dining, and maybe glimpse an elk wandering down the street.

Animal Encounter

Top Three

Winner

Denver Zoo

City Park
With more than 4,000 animals, this historic Denver favorite offers nonstop excitement. Kids learn about the species inhabiting the world’s biomes thanks to interactive activities, summer camps, education in conservation efforts, after-hours events, and top-notch exhibits. Daily demonstrations and live feedings give families insight and knowledge about animal residents from African penguins to Western lowlands gorillas.

Spot for a Date Night

Top Three

Winner

Ace Eat Serve

North Capitol Hill
When you get a night out without the kids, this 9,000-square-foot repurposed garage at 17th Avenue and Pennsylvania Street serves up a creative combo for a casual date night. Modern Asian cuisine from executive chef Thach Tran pairs well with craft cocktails and table tennis. Even without its 11 ping-pong tables and stellar patio, the space would still wow guests with the live music on Saturday nights and recycled industrial decor.

Ski Resort for Families

Top Three

Winner TIE

Keystone Resort

Just 90 minutes from Denver, this resort aims to bring out the playful nature of everyone in the family. In addition to the popular ski slopes and ski and ride school, Keystone is filled with winter activities like snow tubing, sleigh rides, and mountaintop tours in a snowcat.

Winter Park Resort

At this kid-friendly resort, families have their pick of seven territories spanning four mountains with award-winning terrain. There’s also tubing, snowshoeing, ice-skating, and scenic snowcat tours. After a day on the slopes, nosh on premium food in the village.

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