Denver Museum of Nature and Science

You’ll find everything from Ancient Egypt, to dinosaurs, to space travel in a mix of hands-on and informative exhibits. 

In 1868, pioneer and naturalist Edwin Carter moved to Breckenridge, Colorado, and began collecting specimens of local wildlife in his log cabin. Locals were invited to have a look and as the popularity, and population, of the “Carter Museum” grew, so too did the need for a larger building. In 1900, the Colorado Museum of Natural History, now the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, was founded. It’s currently located in City Park, three miles (five kilometers) east of downtown.

The collection expanded over the years and the museum now holds more than 1 million objects and specimens, including model replicas, ancient artifacts, dinosaur bones and interactive multimedia displays. Eight permanent exhibits and a rotating calendar of temporary displays cover a range of topics, including North American Indian cultures, prehistoric times, space exploration and wildlife.

After you explore the collections, take a seat in the IMAX Theater, which plays documentaries several times a day, mostly in 3-D. There’s a rotating schedule of films through which you’ll explore the depths of space, encounter mysterious sea creatures at the bottom of the ocean, or venture into the Arctic. Learn the secrets of the universe at the 125-seat planetarium. This state-of-the-art facility uses projections, video and sound to teach viewers about everything from black holes to super volcanoes.

In the Discovery Zone, families with children will appreciate the hands-on activities, such as puzzles, science experiments and craft.

It’s worth checking the official museum website before visiting for show times and details of traveling exhibits. For those in need of an energy boost, refreshment options include a Grab and Go Snack Bar if you are on the run, or T-Rex Café, which serves more substantial hot meals.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science is conveniently located near the city center, and parking is free. It’s also accessible on city bus lines, and there’s a bike rack.