Childhood adventure is about testing limits, meeting challenges, stretching the imagination, and learning how to be brave and independent. Adventure Forest, the newest feature at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, provides kids with a collection of thrilling physical challenges that will feed their need for adventurous free play.
“In a world where children spend so much time looking at screens, free-range play is more important than ever,” says Mike Yankovich, museum president and CEO. “We wanted to create something bold and breathtaking; to challenge children and grown-ups alike, get them outside and their hearts pumping, and to inspire them to be brave and to believe in themselves.”
The art is more than decoration—it brings the experience to life. No longer just a play structure of wood, rope, and metal, the art encourages kids to pause and create their own story about the course as they go through.
Suitable for ages five and up, the structure easily accommodates grown-ups and older children accompanying younger kids.
The Children’s Museum team created the different areas to support various elements of development and learning. As adventurers navigate, they will be developing spatial reasoning, problem-solving, perseverance, and confidence. As visitors explore together, kids will have opportunities to improve cooperative play skills by sharing space, taking turns, and learning tolerance and appreciation for others’ skills and abilities.
Adventure Forest is scheduled to open June 3, and we had a chance to explore and test it for ourselves. Here’s a peek at what you’ll find.
The Spider’s Web
Climb up the chimney to this double layered rope web. Walking onto the web tests balance and gives kids a chance to bounce and jump with a clear view of open space below them.
Like swinging through the trees in a forest, adventurers grab a rope and coast over netting. Kids can use either the rope rigged to a pulley or test their body strength to hurl themselves across on the stationary rope.
Navigate the Log Bridge to reach the Willow Nest and enter a fantastical hideout. An imaginative story starts to unfold through the art, created by Wes Sam-Bruce, that covers the walls inside.
You’ve likely seen the giant metal globes along I-25 already and wondered what’s inside. Adventurers can climb in and explore the insides of these globes, finding new physical twists and turns, and elements to the artistic story. The Slinky Climb invites kids to navigate a path around the outside of one of the globes. A climb, twist, and scramble to the Tippy, Tippy, Top Lookout, gives you a stunning view of the Denver skyline, Elitch Gardens, the Rocky Mountains, Broncos Stadium at Mile High, and a bird’s eye view of the Platte River.
A visual theme is carried throughout the course through art created by Wes Sam-Bruce, a former artist-in-residence at the Museum. The art, inspired by the interconnectedness of the natural world and humankind, are both imaginative and realistic, and give kids a base for creating their own story as they go through.
Slide down one of the two 70-foot slides, peppered with rainbow prisms, and emerge at ground level. Each slide has a slightly different pitch to show kids the difference in speed based on the angle. Kids and adults who are unsure of the slides have the option to climb down a set of stairs.