Denver is the capital and largest city in Colorado and it has a lot to offer. Denver is close to a lot of major skiing areas and offers excellent views of the Colorado Rockies.
Denver is also home to one of the United States Mints and you can take a tour of the Denver Mint. It is an interesting tour and worth doing, Before You Go we highly recommend making reservations. Make sure you check the website first as even into 2023 they are still not offering tours due to covid.
Another interesting tour in the Denver area (in Boulder) is the Celestial Seasonings tea factory. This is a tour of their only factory and is worth a visit even if you aren’t a big tea fan. Unbelievably, even as of March 2023 these tours are still closed due to covid.
Elitch Gardens is a good sized amusement park that has a lot of rides from kids rides to big roller coasters. They have 13 thrill rides in addition to a bunch of family rides and carnival type rides.
WaterWorld, the biggest water park in America, is also in Denver. It has a wide variety of rides and really is a great water park. One thing to be prepared for is the weather. Colorado often has afternoon thunderstorms and it is not uncommon for the park to be shut down while lightening passes by.
Zoos and Aquariums
Denver does have a pretty good zoo, although the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs is probably more unique.
Denver also has the Downtown Aquarium, which is a good aquarium with a lot of great exhibits. Although it’s nothing like Sea World, it does provide a great way to spend a few hours. There is a great shark tank, a tiger exhibit (real tigers, not sure how they fit in the aquarium but they are cool), and several hands on exhibts. You can pet and feed stingrays for a few dollars, and for quite a bit of extra money you can even snorkel or dive in one of the large tanks.
Denver also offers the Butterfly Pavilion, which is like an insect zoo. Like the bugs it features, it is not very large and doesn’t take long to go through but there are some highlights that make it worth a trip. You can hold a tarantula and walk through an room with thousands of free flying butterflies that sometimes will land on you.
If you are looking for a really unique experience then on the southern end of Denver, near the Park Meadows Mall, there is a place called Sky Ventures that offers indoor skydiving. They offer an introductory flight that includes about 3 minutes of “flight” time. The setup is basically a big vertical wind tunnel that simulates sky diving and it it a very fun experience. Definitely recommended. You’ll probably need to make reservations before you go.
Denver does not have a great mass transit system and the highlights of the Denver area are spread out, so having a car available is highly recommended.
Denver International Airport is not right in Denver, it is East of the city and not close to anything. Many websites and guides will tell you to use the E-470 toll-road to get to DIA, but that is just a more expensive and less direct route. Unless you have a traffic phobia, in which case the E-470 is the best way to avoid traffic, then you are better off taking the normal roads. From I-25, take the I-225N for about 12 miles, then I-70E for a mile and exit Pena Blvd, where you will drive for around 10 miles before seeing the Airport.