A family day in Denver

For Ryder’s Birthday we chose to have a quick family getaway instead of a birthday party. We decided on Denver, it’s driving distance and worked out that my parents were in town and flying out of Denver so could join in on the fun.  We drove in Friday night and stayed in a hotel in Broomfield, which is just outside of Denver, it was significantly cheaper than staying in downtown.

We wanted to keep the weekend all about Ryder and do things he would enjoy.  I recommend looking into a City Pass where you can save a little money by prepaying for 3 or 5 places to visit. However, if your child is under two they get into most places free so don’t buy them one.  We decided to go to the zoo first thing Saturday morning, then go to the Children’s museum before having to drop off the grandparents at the airport. It was a packed, but so much fun.

Denver Zoo


We took Ryder to the Dallas Zoo last year for his birthday so going to the Denver zoo this year made the zoo sort of a tradition. We arrived around 10am which was nice because it was still cool outside and not too crowded. I am bound to always forget something when we travel, this time it was the stroller, whoops. So we rented a Red Wagon for $7 which was nice because it also helped hold all our other bags.

I decided to go left from the entrance to ensure Ryder would see all his favorite animals before he got to hungry and sleepy. He especially loved the Giraffes, who you can see very clearly and up close. They were my favorite too, such beautiful creatures.

Unexpectedly the sea lions stole the show. They were wound up, chasing each other, doing tricks and barking. Ryder and all the other kids loved it and watched in amazement.

IMG_6587

After awhile, we stopped and ate lunch. We bought some pizza slices and enjoyed the snacky foods I brought. There is a park in the center of the zoo where you can picnic but you can easily find tables around too. Either way, plan to have a duck or bird stare you down and try to convince you he’s starving and needs some of your food. I recommend bringing your own water bottles, there is a water refill station by every bathroom.


After lunch we went to see the tigers and even stopped for dipin’ dots ice cream while we peacefully watched the elephants graze. Ryder decided, per usual, my dipin dots were better than his so we traded, #momlife.

We continued on to see the lions and well he fell asleep before the bears so, mama saw bears! He passed out shortly after the elephants. We laid him down in the wagon and finished seeing the bears, monkeys and primates.

Ryder would have enjoyed seeing the baby Gorilla but you don’t wake a sleeping toddler! We carried him back to the car and headed to the Children’s Museum a few blocks away.

Denver Children’s Museum

This place was pretty cool! Ryder was just old enough to enjoy it, he may enjoy it even more when he’s a little older to understand it all. Definitely recommend to stop in if you have preschool through 2nd graders. It says it takes 2-4 hours to go through, we got through it all in just 2 hours since he couldn’t do everything.

When you first walk in, they have lockers, bathrooms, a gift shop and a cafe. They also offer a quiet area and baby section for your littler ones that may need a break from the chaos or if you wanted a quiet place to nurse.

We went straight for the first station where the kids can dress up and play on the fire truck, fire pole, and other fire house amenities.  For the first time ever, I saw Ryder overwhelmed by his atmosphere, usually he’s pretty adaptable. I put the fire jacket and hat on him but he clung to me, wide eyed looking at the kids playing. I knew not to push it and said we’ll come back later, no problem.

We moved on to the vet center where they dress up and play veterinarian. He enjoyed getting the animals out of the cages and giving them shots.  After warming up to that, dad took him back through the fire house and he eased in and enjoyed it.

Next was upstairs, where they have a play market and kitchen. Not good for a Type A who notices all the veggies in the wrong bins, or bananas in the oven. My brain was desperately wanting to tidy up but Ryder loved pretending to cook us up something.

Next was my favorite,  BUBBLES! All things bubbles. Ryder really enjoyed this one too. Creating bubbles with all kinds of tools and making large bubble tunnels. so much fun!

They had an energy station which was cool. You create a paper rocket and see how high you can shoot it in the air and there was a wind force which kids can put on capes and pretend to fly in.

Downstairs they had water station. Ryder, as expected, enjoyed this one. Watching balls spin into the water funnel and moving a wood boat to different parts of the water and watching it float.

We ended at the baby section which was pretty empty at this point and he played with dad, laughing and playing in a quieter area to wind down.

Overall, it was a very busy but fun filled day. We stayed the night at a friends cabin in Dumont. After such a stimulating day the calm of being in nature was perfect. We didn’t make it to the aquarium Sunday as we planned, maybe next time. Hope you had an amazing birthday trip Row!


3 thoughts on “A family day in Denver

  1. I love the idea of birthday trips over parties! For my son’s first two birthdays, we’re made a tradition out of spending the day at a nearby lake. We also buy annual passes as one of his birthday gifts each year, that way we have a whole year of family fun to look forward to. I know my son loves those traditions, and it seems like yours does too! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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