Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Exploration and Discovery for All Ages
We are lucky to live near the Denver Museum of Nature and Science! This museum has a lot to offer families within Colorado, or those simply passing through. With over a million artifacts, lots of hands-on experiences, and exciting rotating exhibits, this museum will keep everyone engaged throughout the visit.
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has a total of three levels of exhibits, including: Space Odyssey, Gates Planetarium, Gems and Minerals, Discovery Zone, Mummies, Wildlife Hall, and Prehistoric Journey. Even though we visit the museum a few times per year, it never gets old.
Tips for a Day at the Museum
Before you plan a day at the museum, be sure to read our tips to help you get the most out of your visit.
- Plan your visit! Be sure to review the museum’s website prior to visiting for the day. Figure out what activities and shows (both IMAX and planetarium) are scheduled for the day.
- Print out your museum scavenger hunt and keep in mind that the gift shop has some fun and cost-effective prizes to help keep kids engaged to complete the scavenger hunt.
- Bring snacks! While the museum has food for purchase, feel free to bring your own snacks. You shouldn’t eat or drink in the exhibit halls, but there is a dining hall and several sitting areas for families to take a break. The sitting areas are excellent places for the kids to spread their wings a little.
- Don’t try to see it all! While the museum is interactive, small kids will still become overwhelmed and restless after a few hours. We always save the hands-on kids area for the last stop, see more about this area below.
Our Top 3 Favorite Exhibits
You can spend a full day at the museum – from open to close and probably still not experience everything the venue has to offer! However, for us, a visit to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is not complete without a visit to these three exhibits.
Being a space nerd, I love this exhibit. It has several hands-on experience such as, docking the space shuttle, playing in Martian sand, and testing out the various texture and weights of meteors. We haven’t experienced it yet, but they recently added a new virtual reality experience!
The Space Odyssey is also home to the Gates Planetarium and it should not be missed! They have a great show featuring Big Bird from Sesame Street, which is perfect for preschool children. This time around we watched Passport to the Universe; a 20 minute film narrated by Tom Hanks. This film perfectly depicts exactly how tiny we are in the universe. This would be great for anyone who is struggling to understand the vastness of the universe. Here are a few pictures of the space exhibit.
This exhibit is easily my favorite at the museum. It walks you though the beginning of time all the way through the evolution of man. The BEST part of this exhibit (and, in my opinion, the entire museum) is the collection of dinosaurs. Many of the dinosaurs on display were found within Colorado or other western states, which makes the experience very relevant. At the end of the exhibit, you can peek into the paleontology lab. Many times, volunteers are working diligently and delicately on recently discovered fossils. Here are a few pictures of our journey through the prehistoric exhibit:
This is a fairly new area of the museum and it is fantastic! It is like a mini children’s museum within the larger museum. It offers several hands-on experiences for the kids, including a dinosaur dig and water play. My daughter, even at 7 years old, would love to spend all her time playing in the water. They also have an enclosed area for kids two years or younger. My tip is to save the Discovery Zone for the last stop because it works as a great incentive. Here are a few pictures of the Discovery Zone:
Even if you can’t visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, you should visit their website and leverage their resource documents. Each exhibit has their own set of resources. These would be great for homeschooling or supplemental education. Here are a few I found interesting:
Do you have a local museum you love to visit? Have you checked out their website to see what resources they have available? Let me know in the comments!
The Denver Zoo is right next door to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Click here to read more about the Denver Zoo.
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