Colorado Vacations 
Family Travel Colorado 
Your Guide to Visiting Colorado with the Kids
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, with its colossal walls of rust-colored sandstone, is one spectacular place to bring the kids.

On summer nights it turns into a famous rock concert venue that has hosted the likes of U-2 and the Beatles.

By day it offers visiting families science lessons in geology and acoustics and a great place to run around and get exercise.

Don't miss the Red Rocks Trading Post and the great view of Denver.





Did You  Know?

The City of Denver has its own
bison herd. In fact, it has two of them.

One herd lives in Genesee Park, along I-70, and the other lives in Daniels Park, in Douglas County.


Bison (Buffalo)
Photo: Denver, Colorado has its own bison herds. (Some folks call them buffalo.) The bison (buffalo) live in two different Denver Mountain Parks.








Photo: Red Rocks Amphitheater, west of Denver, Colorado, makes a fantastic outing for families traveling in the Denver area.


View from Above

From where we were sitting on the top, back row of Red Rocks Amphitheater, Susan, her son David, and baby Peter, looked like brightly colored ants down on the stage. Just behind them loomed an orange rock the size of a small house. Beyond that, to the east, the land drops away to a panorama of the Denver basin, downtown’s tiny skyscrapers poking up from its middle.


Inspired by the spectacle of nearly 10,000 seats rising before her, Susan broke into song. “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” sailed up to us at the top of the amphitheater, the words amplified and funneled by giant rocks on either side of the seating area. We heard her clearly from hundreds of rows above her.



On the Stage

We clambered down to the stage, and turned to ogle up at gigantic Creation Rock and Ship Rock, flanking terraces of concert seating. We imagined how much fun musicians would have playing in such a rugged setting, before such huge crowds.


Red Rocks, part of the Denver Mountain Parks system, attracts visitors from around the world.  Although the park itself covers almost 640 acres, the main attraction is the amphitheater. During the off season, and in the mornings of event days, it is a terrific romping ground for high-energy preschoolers.


However, it’s a long hike back up the stairs from the stage to the parking lot. It’s easy for little kids to get tired. But by taking their time and resting occasionally as they climbed, our 3-year-olds made it all the way on their own. It was great exercise and tired them out for nap!



Visitor Center

A
t the top of the amphitheater, a 30,000- square-foot visitor center, built partly underground , has exhibits and murals that teach about the history of the park and amphitheater. Signs also tell about the plants and animals in the park as well as the paleontology of the area. Restrooms, drinking fountains, and a restaurant are available at the visitor center.


Photo: A mural in the Visitor Center at Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver, depicts one of the earliest musical performances at the venue.



Lunch Spots

The park is full of lunch spots, including a group picnic shelter near a geological marker just off Tunnel Road. The marker is on an overlook at the end of a short, wheelchair and stroller accessible gravel trail. If you eat there, be sure to bring lots of wipes -- no running water is available. Nearby is a modern, well-built outhouse.

The snack bar in the trading post serves basic lunch fare at very reasonable prices. Its back deck overlooks colossal flame-colored boulders emerging from the greenery and a panoramic view of the Dakota Ridge valley. Even on a concert day we had the place to ourselves, and the kids loved looking through the rustic log railing at the beautifully landscaped yard below.



Trading Post

The park’s trading post has a history room with pictures and artifacts about Red Rocks. Kids can see photos of the amphitheater filled with concertgoers and a display about its construction.



Tunnel Vision

Enrich your visit by pulling out near the tunnel on Tunnel Road. Get out and touch the rock at the entrance of the bore and hoot into it to hear your echoes. Then, in the history room of the trading post, look for a photo of workers digging the tunnel. It shows how crews from the Civilian Conservation Corps drilled out tons of rock to make the hole. The picture is more meaningful after visiting the tunnel, and it helps kids understand its construction.



All in all, Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater is one of the most scenic field trips for preschoolers in Denver. It is also the perfect spot for kids to develop observation skills and curiosity about the geological forces within our earth.



When You Go:


Phone Number: 303/ 640-2637 or 303/ 640-7334 or 303/697-8935

Website: www.denvergov.org/mountain_parks. or www.redrocksonline.com

Address: 16351 County Road 93, Morrison.

Directions: Take I-70 west of C-470 to the Morrison exit (#259).  Go southeast on Morrison Road (Colorado State Road 26) just over a mile and look for the entrance on the right.

Season: Open all year.

Hours: 5am to 11pm, except on concert days when the park closes at 1:30pm.

Cost: There is no fee to use the park except on concert days, and then your fee will be refunded if you leave the park before the event.

Facilities: The park has a trading post with restrooms and a snack bar. You can get a map of the park and its hiking trails there.  There is also a Port-o-let at the top of the amphitheater and an outhouse and group picnic area at the geological marker.



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Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Museum of Nature and Science