Denver Museum of Nature and Science
2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver
HOURS: Daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
COST: $8–20 adult, $6–14 child and senior
With so many attractions, it is difficult to imagine the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s humble beginnings as an oversized collection of treasured fauna specimens in the log cabin home of naturalist Edwin Carter. Features such as the Gates Planetarium, the Phipps IMAX Theater, and 215,000 square feet of exhibits all lend to the museum’s current image.
The original stately Colorado Museum of Natural History opened on a hilltop on the eastern side of City Park in 1908. The building has been added on to considerably since then, and the variety and type of exhibits has increased.
Some of the museum’s oldest displays are of animals prepared by taxidermists and staged in large naturalistic settings behind glass windows—it’s like a really quiet, clean zoo. Kids enjoy running through these wide halls and pushing the buttons to hear the sounds of cougars, buffalo, and other wildlife.
To learn about Colorado’s variety of ecosystems (and the plants and animals that thrive in them), head up to the 3rd level to Explore Colorado.
The Prehistoric Journey exhibit offers plenty of huge dinosaur skeletons, and it’s the only place in the museum where visitors can watch what is typically behind-the-scenes work—preparing fossils for display.
While the museum is one hands-on activity after another, particularly for children, a variety of educational programs are also offered off-site.
With its perch on the hill over City Park, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science offers two places to catch the best view of the city—the Leprino Family Atrium and the Anschutz Family Sky Terrace, both on the building’s west side.
Note that admission to the museum does not include tickets to special traveling exhibits or IMAX or Gates Planetarium shows (several daily). The museum can be especially crowded during morning school field trips, and often lines at the ticket windows are much shorter in the afternoon.
© Mindy Sink from Moon Denver, 1st Edition