Colorado Vacations 
Family Travel Colorado 
Your Guide to Visiting Colorado with the Kids
Denver Museum of Nature and Science


Families visiting the Denver Museum of Nature and Science can enjoy the famous exhibit of fossilized Dinosaur Bones.

Other treats include the Space Odyssey section and realistic wildlife exhibits.

Check out the planetarium and Imax theater,  too.











Photo: Kids meet a polar bear cub up close and personal at the Denver Zoo.
Photo Credit: Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau
 

From diaper decks in the bathrooms to helpful docents at many of the exhibits, the zoo makes learning about the animals of the world easy and entertaining for kids of all ages

Learn more in our article about visiting the Denver Zoo with kids










Did You Know?

The tallest sand dunes in North America are in Colorado, at Great Sand Dunes
National Park
.
The dune field  covers more than 30 square miles. The dunes themselves stretch over 700 feet high in places.










Photo Credit: Sheri O'Hara; Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
Photo: A fantastic dinosaur bone fossil collection is just the beginning
at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.




When you walk in the front doors of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, you are welcomed by a toothy grin. A giant fossilized skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex rears up and ushers you towards the ticket counter with claws outstretched. A Wal-Mart greeter, this is not. However, he is a perfect introduction to Prehistoric Journey, the Museum’s collection of fossil dinosaur bones.


Excellent Skeletons

This outstanding assortment of skeletons includes stegosaurus, the Colorado State fossil, and diplodocus, whose neck and tail snake over almost the entire length of the room. They are placed in lifelike poses with clues in the exhibits to help visitors understand how they lived and died. In several places, bones are displayed as they were found, jumbled in beds of rock or mud.


Spooky

In other rooms, kids can experience primeval mammals and birds in their natural environments, complete with the sound of  buzzing insects and footsteps crunching towards them through the underbrush. It spooks some of the preschoolers into the arms of moms and teachers, yet they are intrigued enough to linger and see what happens next.


A Real Paleontology Laboratory

Another favorite stop is the lab for Prehistoric Journey. Large windows and brilliant lighting allow kids to watch real paleontologists work to free dinosaur fossils from chunks of rock. They chisel away, surrounded by microscopes, chemicals, and sharp little instruments. If you are lucky, you will be able to catch someone working with his or her window open and answering questions from visitors.



Buried Fairyland

Step into a long, dim mining tunnel and begin your exploration of the Gems and Minerals Hall at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Heavy wooden beams support a low ceiling. Light bulbs hang overhead, strung together by a heavy, yellow extension cord. The tunnel opens to a dark, disheveled cavern, glittering as if newly coated by a blizzard of giant sugar crystals.

Miners in Northern Mexico were searching for silver when they first spied the glints and shimmers of this buried fairyland.  They took care to preserve the cavern, and eventually it was dug up and transported to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Here the grotto has been reconstructed and visitors can see how it appeared when it was first discovered. Nearby signs explain the way such beautiful shapes were formed underground.


Blood Red Crystals

Turn a corner and stroll into the pretend-granite tunnels of the Sweet Home Mine. This replica is complete with moaning, gushing mine noises and authentic looking veins of minerals.

The rocks are looming and dark and may frighten toddlers. But just inside are beautiful secret pockets of actual blood red Rhodochrosite crystals surrounded by sparkling quartz needles, and within a few feet you are back in a well lit area with interactive exhibits for the kids to touch.


Glow in the Dark Rocks

One of our favorite displays is of phosphorescent rocks. Kids can push a button that turns off the regular lights and shines an ultraviolet lamp on the minerals. This makes them glow in the “dark” with eerie, neon shades. Unfortunately, this display is too high for preschoolers, so adults must pick them up to help them see. One preschooler enjoyed the changing colors so much that his mom figured she had completed two full sets of weight-lifting repetitions before they moved on.


Animal Stories

Much of the Gems and Minerals Hall is static. To a preschooler, it is just a bunch of rocks behind glass. The chemical compositions and classifications are way beyond the little ones, and didn’t hold their interest. But the mine replica and the crystal cavern were really exciting. One boy kept running back to see those displays over and over again. I thought the field trip had been only so-so with my kids until that night I heard my son telling his stuffed “aminals” all about the sparkly cave long after I had kissed him goodnight.




A Giant of a Museum

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is rumored to be the fourth largest museum of its kind in the country. Its mission is 
to inspire curiosity and to excite the minds of all ages through the scientific discovery and presentation and preservation of the world's treasures. Because of this, families visiting the Denver Museum of Nature and Science will find several other really worthwhile areas: 

The Space Odyssey area lets kids manipulate several hands-on exhibits or participate in presentations given by space-suit-clad docents.

Upstairs, great halls with life-like dioramas let families learn about distant cultures and landscapes from the other side of the world. There is even a whole sections dedicated to Egyptian Mummies.

The planetarium and Imax Theater show educational and entertaining programs throughout the day.

Many families opt for a membership. That way they can visit the museum several times each year, admission free.



When You Go:

Phone Number:
303/370-6000

Website: www.dmns.org

Address: 2001 Colorado Boulevard, Denver.

Directions: From I-25, take I-70 east to the Colorado Boulevard exit. Go south on Colorado Boulevard to 20th Avenue. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is in City Park.

Season: Year round, but the museum is closed on Christmas Day.

Hours: During the summer schedule (Labor Day through Memorial Day), the museum is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm every day except Tuesday, when it is open until 7:00pm. During the wintertime, the museum is open every day from 9:00am to 5:00pm.

Cost: Admission to the museum is $11.00 for adults, and $6.00 for children ages 3 to 12 years old. The museum offers several free days each year.  Check the website for a list. Members are free.  Parking is free but limited on busy days.

Facilities:  The museum is wheelchair accessible and stroller accessible, and has large restrooms with diaper decks.  There is also a snack bar with a kid-friendly dining area and a big gift shop.