Five things to do before kids start school again

Free candy factory tours, ancient dinosaur tracks and a vet’s office complete with stuffed animals!
3 min. read
Kids leap into the newly renovated Congress Park pool. Aug. 2, 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Denver Public Schools kiddos go back to school on August 21 for the 2023-2024 school year. That means there are only a few days left to enjoy your summer with your tiny humans. Growing up, my dad always made sure to take us to at least one Denver Broncos training camp to see players up close and personal. Or he'd take us on a summer hike or camping trip just outside of the city.

If you're looking for some end of the summer fun, here are five things you can do with your kids to spark some imagination, inspire new interests or simply to see how candy is made:

Children's Museum of Denver

Location: 2121 Children's Museum Dr.

A champion of wonder, childhood joy and kinesthetic learning, the Children's Museum is a great place to explore with your children, newborn to eight years old. The place offers a firetruck and fire safety area to explore, an art studio, vet's office complete with stuffed animals, STEM activities, water features and so much more.

Open seven days a week from 9-4 p.m., the museum is first-come, first-served and costs $18 for those 2-59, and $16 for ages 1 and 60-plus.

On Friday, August 18 from 4:30 to 8 p.m., the Children's Museum will be having a Joy Park Free Night offering over 60,000 square feet of outdoor fun for the kids. There will be climbing, digging, zip-lining and water splashing.

Hammond's Candy Factory Tour

Location: 5735 Washington St.

The Hammond's Candy Factory offers free half hour tours for families where they can watch hundreds of candy be created right in front of them. There's also a good chance your children go home with some samples.

Walk-ins are accepted based on availability, but it's encouraged to book a tour online or via phone.

Online tour bookings must be made 24 hours in advance. Walk-ins are accepted based on availability. Strollers, wheelchairs and walkers are welcome.

Denver Parks & Recreation Swimming Pools

The 2023 outdoor pool season isn't over quite yet. All of Denver's 15 public indoor pools are open, and almost all of its outdoor pools are open until August 19.

Drop-in access is free with a Denver Recreation Center membership and day passes are $1 for children ages 2-18, $3 ages 19-24, $3.50 ages 25-64, $2 for 65-plus and people with disabilities.

Click here for a full list of indoor and outdoor pools.

Four Mile Historic Park

Location: 715 S Forest St.

Featuring Denver's oldest structure, at the Four Mile Historic Park kids can pet farm animals, tour a Wild West museum and get a hands-on experience of life in the 1800s.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for ages 7-17. Children under 6 enter free. Park hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10-4 p.m.

The 12-acre park will also be hosting Bright Nights, a massive illuminated art display created by Tianyu Arts & Culture Inc., the largest Chinese lantern producer in North America. Featuring handmade lanterns and illuminated art sculptures, the display runs every Wednesday through Sunday until October 1.

Tickets to Bright Nights can be purchased here.

Dinosaur Ridge

Location: 16831 W. Alameda Pkwy. Morrison, CO. 80465

Ancient dinosaur tracks?! If you have children that love dinosaurs, this is the perfect place to encourage their curiosity about the ancient beasts. Located about 20 miles west of Denver, Dinosaur Ridge is an area designated as the Morrison Fossil National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. The outdoor museum features over 300 dinosaur footprints, embedded bones, two children's dig sites and a small museum room all about dinos.

Visit their site for special Kid Programs.

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