Set against sweeping views of the western plains, CU South Denver’s campus is an idyllic and expansive hub catering to south Denver and suburban families. “There’s a lot going on under our roof,” says Kyla White, lead marketing manager for CU South Denver. In addition to college courses, the building houses a café, two museums, and a 3D movie theater.
CU South Denver’s main attraction is its natural history museum, featuring Globeology, a permanent display where visitors can stroll through the world’s seven significant biomes. The adventure begins with an astronaut’s eye view of the world at the Science on a Sphere exhibit, where computers and video projectors push planetary data onto a giant, hovering globe that teaches kids about science.
A few feet farther, travel from the rainforest down to the Asian Highlands while walking a quarter-mile descending loop bordered by realistic dioramas depicting animals, plants, and humans in their natural habitats. The experience is totally immersive and visually enthralling, thanks to state-of-the-art animatronics—careful, the crocodile moves!—along with multimedia games and a 17-foot waterfall.
Don’t forget to grab a scavenger hunt before embarking on your adventure, and keep an eye out for live clownfish, starfish, and seahorses in the coral reef area, where kids are invited to daily fish feedings at 11:30 a.m.
Animal demonstrations featuring snakes and spiders happen at 1:30 p.m. in the Discovery Den, which is a great place for young kids to work out their wiggles as they can initiate an avalanche, see where water comes from, and play paleontologist. The den is parallel to Search for Essence, a fine art gallery space stocked with more than 100 wildlife paintings and sculptures by internationally acclaimed nature artists. CU South Denver’s permanent installments are supplemented with a rotating lineup of special exhibits. This month, get an up-close look at the lifecycle of butterflies in Becoming Butterflies, a display incorporating specimens from University of Colorado’s entomology collection.
When you’re tired of walking, settle into a chair at the giant screen theater. Forty-minute-long 3D movies run through the reels daily, and August titles include Robots, Journey to the South Pacific, and Wild Africa. They also play feature-length movies for special events, like a Movie and Martinis series for grown-ups and Family Film Night for all ages. End your trip with a 30-minute walk around CU South Denver’s beautiful nature trail and sculpture park.
Check it Out
10035 S. Peoria St., Lone Tree
Need to know
Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
General admission ranges from $8 to $12, and children under 3 are free.
Hungry? Swing by CU South Denver’s first-floor café, featuring plenty of kid-approved sandwiches, salads, and bento-style boxed lunches. If the weather is nice, dine al fresco in the courtyard.