Kid-friendly Summer Activities in Central Park, Denver

Jason Cummings  |  June 9, 2022

School is out and it’s almost officially summer…let the summer activities begin! We have gathered some of the best summer activities for kids and their families to do around the Central Park, Denver area. Denver offers some phenomenal recreation centers, parks, as well as hiking trails suitable for all ages! The secret key to accessing some of these resources for free is the Denver MyCard. With the Denver MyCard, “youth ages 5-18…will get free access to recreation centers, swimming pools and various cultural facilities where they can participate in healthy, safe and fun activities” not just during the summer but after school, during school, and on the weekends.

The most conveniently located Recreation Centers to the Central Park neighborhood are the Central Park Rec Center and the Martin Luther King Jr. Rec Center. On their websites you can find useful information such as their operating hours, an activity sheet outlining all of their youth sports and activities, in addition to some of their other amazing amenities. These amenities include but are not limited to: weight and cardio rooms, spin studio, indoor lap and leisure pool, lounge area, dry sauna, and racquetball courts. Not only are the insides of these rec centers full of activities but their neighboring parks are as well! Central Park also has its own park right behind the Rec Center spreading out over 80 acres, making it Denver’s third largest public park. Within this park you will find a climbing wall, multi-sport fields, barbeques and picnic area, an interactive fountain, jogging and biking paths, as well as a playground inspired by the late Dr. Suess.

Just down the road from Central Park, you can find yet another enriching and interactive summer activity for your kids at the Bluff Lake Nature Center! The Bluff Lake Nature Center is a local nonprofit that owns and maintains a “unique urban wildlife refuge and outdoor classroom in Denver”. Their mission is to “educate individuals to be engaged, resilient, and curious; conserve a natural area in the city; further equity in outdoor access; and nurture the health and well-being of communities and ecosystems”. The BLNC offers self-guided tours, scavenger hunts, field trips, FREE guided relaxation walks, summer camps, and will even host birthday parties. Denver’s Bluff Lake Nature Center is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of city life allowing you to reconnect with nature and the outdoors without driving more than 1 mile away from Central Park. (Not only would the BLNC be a fantastic place to immerse yourself in nature, but could also make a gorgeous location for family or special occasion photos as well!)

The outdoor nature activities don’t stop there – there is also the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge with trails starting only ~15 minutes away from Central Park. Similar to the BLNC, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge also offers free nature programs throughout the months of June and July. The Refuge’s 15,000 acres offer opportunities for 20 miles of easy hiking trails, bike trails, an 11 mile wildlife drive, wildlife viewing, and even practice your archery skills at the archery range. Visiting the refuge is FREE for all visitors and provides people of all ages with educational and inspiring opportunities to see wild bison, deer, prairie dogs, coyotes and more.

Denver has some of the best youth programs allowing kids of all ages to play sports, express themselves creatively, learn more about the environment and its wildlife, and so much more. The opportunities for summer activities around Central Park are endless and should definitely be taken advantage of! For more details on youth programs, Rec Centers, or obtaining a Denver MyCard for your child, head to denvergov.org.

​​​​​​​Happy Summer!


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