With lots to see and plenty or opportunities to interact with exhibits, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science museum appeals to a wide range of visitors from toddlers to seniors. DMNS also offers programming exclusively for teens and evening events, like its monthly Science Lounge, that are geared toward Young Professionals. Visiting exhibits like the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes and the upcoming Chocolate exhibit mean you’ll want to visit the museum regularly over the course of the year to see what’s new.
Fast FactsLocation: 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO 80205 (Enter from Colorado Blvd. at Montview or from 22nd)
Hours: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. The Museum is open seven days a week year-round, with the exception of December 25.
Tickets: Adult ticket prices range from $15-$25 depending on options like special exhibits, IMAX tickets and planetarium shows.
Permanent Exhibits of Note:
Expedition Health: This hands-on exhibit about health and the human body is a top draw for the museum. In order to interact with the various exhibits, visitors use a plastic magnetic stripe card that temporarily stores their information and their choice of virtual tour guide for the exhibit. The appeal of Expedition health is how personalized the experience is; visitors get to learn about their own bodies through a series of interactive stations. Inside of Expedition is a mini exhibit called Tykes Peak that is geared toward preschoolers and toddlers. It’s a great place to let little ones touch, climb and slide. Finn (age 8): “I love riding the exercise bike that tells you about your heart rate. Sometimes I ride slowly and my heart rate is lower and then I ride as fast as I can and I can really feel my heart working. It’s fun. I also like seeing the movie about how I walk and seeing if I can run really fast.” Older children and adults enjoy performing scientific experiments while wearing lab glasses, white lab coats and purple gloves at Expedition Health’s Biology Basecamp.
Space Odyssey: One of the busiest exhibits at the DMNS, and for good reason, space science is captivating! We love how many engaging volunteers there are in this area, just waiting to answer questions and introduce visitors to various interactive areas. For preschoolers, there is a space station dress-up area where children can imagine a mission to Mars. Visitors of all ages enjoy the sand and water table where one can explore how water shapes a landscape. Was there water on Mars? Older kids always seem to enjoy an interactive digital map that is manipulated by tilting and spinning a large table as well as the meteorite impact experiment station. Finn (age 8): “If you’re interested in space, or want to become an astronaut one day, you should definitely go here!”
IMAX and Planetarium Shows: IMAX and planetarium tickets are purchased separately from museum admission, but the shows are usually excellent and well worth the extra money as they captivate the imagination and spark a bevy of “I want to know more” questions. IMAX shows can be a bit overwhelming for younger views and some kids don’t like the 3D sensation. It’s important to know that if you have to leave an IMAX show with a child, you won’t be allowed to re-enter. The planetarium seems to be a bit more forgiving in this area and there is an area at the top of the seating area where parents can stand to bounce a fussy infant. In addition, the planetarium offers (at the time of writing) an excellent kids show called “One World, One Sky” that is a coproduction of Sesame Street and the Beijing Planetarium. This film features Elmo and a friend from China who teaches some basic Mandarin as the two friends discuss how we all share the same sky even if we live on opposite sides of the world. Pascal (age 3) after our 5th viewing of “One World, One Sky”: “Can we see the ‘Elmo Show’ again?”
Discovery Zone: The Discovery Zone is a special space in the museum dedicated to hands on exploration. It is open from 10-4 daily and features puzzles, experiments, an extensive water play area, crafts, musical instruments and plenty of things for kids of all ages to discover. Staff members lead shows at various times of the day in this space and assist children in completing various projects. The Discovery Zone can get quite busy as there’s a lot of messy, noisy, wild science fun to be had here!
Prehistoric Journey: Take me to the dinosaurs! Another one of our favorite exhibits, Prehistoric Journey has more than just dinosaurs, this exhibit tracks the evolution of life on the planet from lifeless rock in space to early bacteria, prehistoric seas, dinosaurs, early mammals and ancient humans.
Gems & Minerals: As a Denver resident, I remember seeing many of these beautiful stones on my trips to the museum as a kid. There’s something that is perennially intriguing about gems and minerals so it’s always fun to stroll through this exhibit. There’s lots to see including gold nuggets, Colorado rhodochrosite, Brazilian topaz, Australian opals, and hundreds of other dazzling specimens from around the world.
Leprino Family Atrium: For one of the best views in Denver, the gorgeous Leprino Family atrium on the Museum’s 2nd floor is not to be missed. The floor-to-ceiling windows showcase a magnificent view of City Park, the Denver skyline and the Rocky Mountains. With comfortable couches, this is the perfect place to take a rest and soak up the beauty of Denver.
City Park: Playgrounds, paths, tennis courts, paddle boats (in summer), water feature (in summer), rose garden and plenty of room to run around.
Denver Zoo: Visit two great SCFD locations in one day; the zoo is about a 10 minute walk from the museum along 22nd!
Park Hill Library: Want to learn more about something you saw at the museum? The Park Hill branch of the Denver Public Library is located at Montview and Dexter (about a 17 minute walk from the museum).