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Photo: YMCA of the Rockies.

2021 Family Favorites: Family Fun

The Centennial State is the place for families to take advantage of nature’s offerings, quality museums, play spaces, and resorts that draw visitors from all over the world. Find your next adventure in this list of our readers’ favorite places to play.

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Table of Contents:

Summer Mountain Getaway

Top Three

Winner

YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center

This top-rated haven is tucked in the mountains within a few miles of Rocky Mountain National Park. Outdoorsy families looking to unplug will love all the usual nature-related sports, plus something new like axe throwing (age eight and up) or an escape room experience in a historic cabin. A breathtaking view serves as a backdrop for all family activities.


Colorado Resort or Hotel for Families

Top Three

Winner

YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center

Make home away from home at one of the YMCA’s cabins in a picturesque setting, several of which include fully-equipped kitchens. The program department keeps a full schedule of events and activities for visitors to participate in. The all-season getaway features mini golf, tons of sports, a roller rink, and even massage therapy.

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Colorado Renaissance Festival
Photo: Jordon Longley

Family Fair or Festival

Top Three

Winner

Colorado Renaissance Festival

Entertainment, music, and tasty eats are to be had at the Renaissance Festival. Take in a comedy or jousting show, try your hand at medieval games, and browse many booths for the perfect souvenirs. Check the website to keep an eye on themed weekends that might fit the interests of your family.


Museum for Families

Top Three

Winner

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

This destination is known for both its detailed and whimsical, and often hands-on, exhibits. Find everything from ancient artifacts to virtual reality experiences. DMNS is also working on co-creating a new exhibit with input from people like you; look forward to the opening in a few years.


Indoor Activity Space

Top Three

Winner

Kids Wonder

Drop in for imaginative play, celebrate a child’s birthday, or come for an educational class. Kids Wonder’s mission is to develop body and mind for kids and parents. The bounce castle, theater stage, and Lil’ Town are equipped to keep young ones entertained. Socks are required, but also available for purchase just in case.


Parent-Tot Activity

Top Three

Winner

Kids Wonder

Enjoy soft play structures with climbers and slides in the toddler area, plus playhouses and a mini bounce house. Big & Lil’ Play Classes offer instruction in physical, intellectual, and social/emotional skill building through singing and games.


Photo: Water World

Water Park or Swim Center

Top Three

Winner

Apex Center

Make it a water play day, any day of the year at Apex’s indoor park. All ages will find something they love in the 23,000 square feet of aquatic opportunities including a lap pool, spas, and playground. Young ones love splashing in the water features and zero-entry area, while older kids line up at the ropes and lily-pad challenge course.

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Winter Resort for Families

Top Three

Winner

YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch

Gear up for favorite and familiar winter activities including skiing, snowshoeing, and ice skating, plus a few unique ones like dog sledding and sleigh rides. Fill out your stay with ongoing arts and crafts, game room play, archery, and more, until it’s time to settle in for the night in a yurt, cabin, or lodge room.


Hike or Bike Trail with Kids

Top Three

Winner

Waterfall Trail at Snow Mountain Ranch

Pack a picnic lunch and take a trip on a well-maintained path through shady trees and wildflowers (in summer) to a waterfall that’s worth the walk. The three-mile round-trip hike is considered easy and accessible for young kids. YMCA day pass fees apply.


Family Day Trip

Top Three

Winner

Denver Zoo

Swing by this expansive multi-habitat land in the city to wave at the monkeys, gawk at the size of the elephants, and waddle past penguins. Pack snacks or enjoy fare from one of many vendors. New features include the interactive Stingray Cove and the animal hospital’s Visitor and Education Center, which opened June 2021.

Summer Fun

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