Debbie's Deals: 24 free things for kids to do in the Denver metro area this summer

Posted at 4:27 AM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-14 10:21:09-04

School's out, so how do you keep your kids entertained without breaking the bank? Here are 24 free things for kids to do this summer. Note, in some cases kids are free, but adults have to pay an admission fee.

History Colorado Center

The History Colorado Center is offering free admission to children 18 years and younger this summer. The free admission offer started June 4 and runs through Labor Day. Adult admission is $12. Learn more here.

Denver Art Museum

Kids 18 and under get free admission to the Denver Art Museum. The free admission offer is for general admission only, special exhibits cost extra. The Denver Art Museum website has a page explaining some of the fun activities for kids and families. Read more about the deal here.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Mark your calendar -- the Denver Museum of Nature & Science will offer free general admission on August 29.

Denver Botanic Gardens

Enjoy the Denver Botanic Gardens for free on June 23 & July 26. Visit the Denver Botanic Gardens second location at Chatfield Farms for free on July 12 and August 2.

Hudson Gardens

Admission to Hudson Gardens, in Littleton, is free every day. Learn more here.

Clyfford Still Museum

The Clyfford Still Museum offers free admission for youth under 18 every day. The museum is free to everyone on Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. The museum is free all day on the last Friday of every month (June 24, July 29, August 26 this summer).

Children's Museum Tuesday

The Children's Museum of Denver offers free admission on the first Tuesday night of each month from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. thanks to Target. Learn more on the museum's website.

Free passes to local attractions

Did you know local libraries offer free passes to local attractions like the Butterfly Pavilion, the History Colorado Center, Denver Firefighters Museum, Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, the Molly Brown museum,  Dinosaur Ridge, Golden History Museums, MCA Denver, the Platte Valley Trolley and Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. See which libraries offer which passes here. *Note, you may be able to get a library card in a different county than the one you live in, just ask the library.

6 more museums offer free kids admission

Six museums across Colorado are offering free admission for kids this summer: the Byers-Evans House Museum (Denver), El Pueblo History Museum (Pueblo), Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center (Fort Garland), Fort Vasquez Museum (Platteville), Healy House and Dexter Cabin (Leadville) and Trinidad History Museum (Trinidad).  Read more here.

Kids Bowl Free

Kids get two free games of bowling each week when you sign up for the program. 18 bowling alleys across Colorado are offering the program. (Shoe rental not included.)

Free summer concerts

Take the kids to a free concert this summer. Check your city/county's website to see if they're hosting free summer concerts. Here are a few to check out:

Find more local free concerts in this list of 30+ concert series.

Free summer movies

Several local cities and parks are offering free movie showings. Check your city/county's website to see if they're hosting free summer movies. Here are a few to check out:

Summer reading program

Nearly every library in the metro area is hosting a summer reading program. Many of the programs give prizes, based on how many books your kids read. Here are a few programs I found:

Colorado State Capitol

While the legislative session is over, theColorado State Capitol is still open. Tours are free and they even include a visit to the dome.

Denver Mint

The U.S. government makes coins at just three locations in the country and one of them is here in Colorado. TheDenver Mint offers free tours, but they fill up fast, so make a reservation as early as possible.

Celestial Seasonings

Did you know Celestial Seasonings is based in Boulder? You can tour the factory and sample the teas during a free tour. Learn more on theCelestial Seasonings website.

Candy factory tour

Denver is home to a candy factory! Hammond's Candieshas been making candy here since 1920. During the tour, you'll see candy being made and after the tour, you can shop for treats.

Visit a Colorado State Park

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is testing a program called the Check-Out Colorado State Park Program. Eight libraries around the state will loan out a state park pass that's good for admission for seven days at any of the 42 state parks around the state. The pass will come with an adventure backpack, provided by Osprey, that is filled with park information and educational activities. Learn more here.

Enjoy a water park

While some water parks charge admission, there are a few that do not. Check out Water Park Plaza at Centennial Center Park.


Fourth grader's deal

Do you have a 4th grader? You can get a free pass for our National Parks. Learn more about the Every Kid in a Park Program here. The passes expire August 31, 2016.

Free Zoo admission for BofA, Merrill Lynch customers

If you have a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card, you get free admission at museums across the country on the first weekend of each month. In Colorado, the offer is valid at the Denver Zoo, Denver Botanic Gardens and the Denver Art Museum. However, the Denver Art Museum is Sunday only, because they already offer free admission to everyone on the first Saturday of the month. This list does change, so check the "Museums on Us" website, before you go. *Note, the free admission is for the cardholder only, so you will have to pay for any guests, like kids.

Did I miss something that's free for kids? E-mail me Debbie (

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