Garden of the Gods is a great spot. In fact, TripAdvisor ranked it the No. 1 park in the U.S. (No. 2? New York’s Central Park.) It’s also a quick drive from the Denver metro area, and if you’re traveling with kids — or not — it’s got a lot to offer. Here’s what it looks like. (Also don’t miss our Cave of the Winds trip.)
The front desk looks like a visitor center front desk.
But you quickly get the sense that it’s kind of special. There’s a lot to look at, especially straight up.
Here’s probably the most impressive single room at the visitor center.
Yes, you can try to identify animals by their poop here.
They also have quirky bathroom signs, for whatever that’s worth. Here’s Zebulon Pike.
I always love these scale models.
There are buttons kids can push that light things up. The kids I saw using this definitely didn’t care what the lights meant, but the mere presence of the lights increased engagement time by at least 5 minutes.
There’s no shortage of dinosaur stuff if your kids are dino fans.
There’s also a movie that we didn’t stop back for, but the guides told us kids love it. “Travel through one billion years in less than 15 minutes! Plunge deep into hot magma. See dinosaurs, ancient sea monsters, and more.” Sounds promising.
Great views from the visitor center, if you want to sit right outside with some food.
But probably bring your own snacks. None of this looked great.
Time to drive to a trail.
Even if you never get out of your car, you’ll see some pretty amazing sights, making Garden of the Gods a really accessible gem of a public park.
We picked Palmer Trail.
Literally only because there was parking right in front of it. Any of the Garden of the Gods trails would have worked fine for us, traveling with a child under 5 years old. We just wanted to get out and walk until she didn’t want to anymore.
Again, with the scenery here, it’s hard to go wrong.
Our kid enjoyed walking around just fine, although predictably we were more awed by the sight of giant red rocks than she was.
You’ve probably earned a beer at Trinity by now.
Trinity Brewing, 1466 Garden of the Gods Rd., was on the way back into town, had an astonishingly accommodating menu, and the brews were good, too.