Thursday, October 2, 2014

Denver with Toddlers

Although we live just an hour away from Denver we decided to get a hotel and really enjoy the city. We knew we would have a lot of fun, but we didn't know we would find a bunch of lovely, eclectic neighborhoods.

Remember we have a 13 month old, so these activities were geared at enjoying the city with our little one. Don't worry though we found plenty of family friendly breweries. 

We armed ourselves with both a stroller and an Ergo Carrier and a bag with sunscreen, hard and plenty of snacks. 

The great part about traveling in Denver is that attractions are grouped together making transitioning between activities easy. 

The Denver Children's Museum is one of our favorite places. Our little guy loves it there and they have great activities for little ones. We can usually expect to spend two hours here (we have a membership so we don't try to do everything every time). Even if your not a member the fees are reasonable, they offer a military discount and they offer free evening admission monthly. 

The museum opens at 9am most days (later on weekends) and arriving as it opens will give you an hour of the museum to yourself. If you have a really little one, like us, head upstairs first to enjoy the older kid exhibits before they get crowded and then seek refuge in the toddler area as older kids arrive. The playground here is also wonderful - so if the weather is nice plan to play outside too. No need to bring your stroller into the museum, there is not much room for them so leave it in your car.

They are in the midst of a huge renovation so check online to see what is open and what is currently being reconstructed. I can't wait to see this place after the expansion! 

Once your done at the museum,grab the stroller or carrier and walk (or drive) toward the aquarium down Water Street. (We have yet to check out the Aquarium so we don't have any recommendations.) 

As you pass under the bridge and come around the corner you will find the REI Denver Flagship Store. It is built into the old powerhouse and is beautiful! (They have a parking lot for customers.) Head inside and enjoy all the outdoor supplies. On the third floor the children's section has a small play area your kids will love. 

Once your done at REI (or in our case, the store closes), continue down water street down the side of the REI. (You will need to move your car to street parking.) The street turns into a cute little area of town with places to eat and drink. 

Walk a few blocks and on the left there is a pedestrian bridge over I-25. If you walk straight up the street you will find a park on your right and Little Man Ice Cream on your left (in the building shaped like a milk can). Delicious. Grab some ice cream and head to the park.

If your looking to grab a sandwich, the Sangra La is right around the corner. This hole in the wall has a few seats inside and a nice patio with a few tables. There sandwiches are made on fresh baguette and are to die for . Seriously, a diamond in the rough.

On the other side of town, you will find the Denver Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the botanical gardens. All of these are wonderful toddler options. 

The Denver Museum of Science just opened a kids "discovery zone" that our little one likes. Honestly though, he just loves exploring all the animal dioramas They are pretty incredible and for our animal loving toddler they hit all the highlights. 

If you head to the Denver Botanical Gardens, don't forget a swimsuit for the little ones. The children's garden has a stream designed for children to play in - and boy do the kiddos love it. Even before he could walk our little one loved sitting in that cold water and then running through the sand. 

If your looking for somewhere to eat in the area there are a ton if good options. Voodoo Doughnuts opened their first store outside of Oregon not to far away. There is no place to eat in the store but grab a few and find a place in the park to enjoy them. Another favorite is this cool building that is home to both a pizza place and the Denver Biscut Company. We have ordered from both menu's and have not been disappointed. 

Another option is just a little farther out of town and is the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. The key here is to stop into the visitors center and check out the "kids backpack" with activities for the little ones to do on hikes. You can drive around and see the wild bison herd or take one of the many level hikes. 

We are always still expiring the area and love to hear more Denver attractions we should try! 

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