From the arts to nature and science to history to anti-terrorism to MEOW WOLF and especially the great eateries

By Eileen Ogintz
Tribune Content Agency
Taking the Kids

Are you ready to be a champion for public safety? Then visit the newly reopened and interactive Cell Exhibit in Denver. It is intense.

The Cell, adjacent to the Denver Art Museum, can show you how to react if you see some one or something suspicious at school, a sports event, while traveling and more. The Denver Art Museum is free for kids up to 18. The Cell is not recommended for kids under 14.

The CELL Exhibition adjacent to Denver Art Museum
The CELL counter-terrorism Exhibition adjacent to Denver Art Museum

“This is a key learning resource for Coloradans and visitors from around the world,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said at the very recent reopening. “We know the power and importance of staying vigilant in the face of evolving threats.”

Sad but true. The Cell prompts visitors to consider the impact of hateful ideologies, the rise and reach of today’s threats to U.S. security from around the world, a s well as violent domestic extremism and how extremists reach a global audience. The exhibit encourages visitors to recognize and help prevent extremist recruitment tactics. It is recommended for adults and teens 14 and older.

“Hate against any of us must be treated as hate against all of us,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser at the opening. “The Cell is empowering all of us to stand against hate … if you see something, say something!”

At the new Meow Wolf in Denver
At the new Meow Wolf in Denver

Welcome to Denver, the mile-high city and my hometown for the past six years. In the past, locals lamented that visitors skipped Denver on their way to the mountains. That’s no longer the case as Denver has more to offer than ever. Denver ranks high this summer in where we are planning to visit. According to AAA, Denver, at the base of the Rocky Mountains and gifted with 300 days of sunshine a year, ranks fifth in top travel destinations: This summer, Denver ranks 10th in the Allianz Partners’ top 10 US summer travel destinations.

Incidentally, if you are wondering about the mile-high city moniker, Denver is exactly one mile above sea level. At the Colorado State Capitol, you can find the three Mile High Markers (including one on the 13th step in front of the building. Come to the Capitol and Civic Center Park and sample local food trucks Wednesdays and Thursdays with Civic Center Eats.

You can also take your pick of good eats at artisanal food halls like Stanley Marketplace, Avanti Food & Beverage, Denver Union Station (have breakfast at Snooze before taking the RTD Rail to the airport!) and 26 newly designated Michelin-recognized restaurants. (The Big Eat, July 18, celebrates the local independent food and beverage community, featuring bites and sips from more than 70 locally owned restaurants and beverage brands.)

Steak Frites at Annette's at the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora CO
Steak Frites at Annette’s at the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora CO

Denver, of course, is a big sports town – home to the Nuggets, the Avalanche, the Broncos, and the Rockies. Enjoy spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains at Coors Field where the Rockies play. The 99ers, Denver’s first sports bar devoted to women’s sports, is slated to open in June – just in time for the summer Olympics.

There is street art, your pick of museums and unique experiences like Meow Wolf, Denver’s third and thus far largest permanent art exhibition. Commute to the Convergence, a city created by a rare cosmic event that joined four alien worlds that is packed with immersive art and features the work of 110 Colorado artists.

You won’t want to miss Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre. It’s the only naturally occurring acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world. It’s also a unique zone where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, a designated national historic landmark, a place to hike and even do yoga on the rocks.

History Colorado Museum in Denver
History Colorado Museum in Denver

Museums, including the interactive History Colorado (also free for kids and teens ), enable visitors to appreciate Colorado’s story. (“Drive” a Model-T or visit a 1918 town where you can “milk” a cow or climb into a hayloft, and then check out a ski jump simulator.)

The Denver Art Museum is especially known for its indigenous and Western art collections. Upcoming and particularly relevant to a state where people live for outdoor adventures is Biophilia: Nature Reimagined, a multi-sensory exhibition that brings together more than 70 imaginative works, including architectural models and photographs, objects, fashion, digital installations, and immersive art experiences that collectively highlight the transformative power of nature.

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, one of the largest museums in the country, has been at the heart of cultural experience in Denver. Explore the cosmos in its planetarium, uncover dazzling gems and minerals, watch a showing at the IMAX theater and see various traveling exhibitions.“ After the Asteroid: Earth’s Comeback Story” focuses on newly discovered fossils found near Colorado Springs that detail how Earth recovered from the impact of the asteroid 66 million years ago that wiped out dinosaurs.

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Take your pick of 339 city parks where you can bike, hit a playground, picnic, or go for a run. City Park, adjacent to Denver Zoo and Denver Museum of Nature & Science, features one of the most spectacular city skyline views with the Rocky Mountains in the background.

There are plenty of fun places t o stay. The pet-friendly Maven, a boutique hotel in Dairy Block downtown, boasts 15 shops, 19 restaurants and more. The kids will love the Journeymen Bunk Bedrooms. We love the retrofitted Airstream trailer.

Denver takes sustainability seriously. Bring your reusable bags for shopping! The Denver Botanic Gardens is leading the way for sustainable horticulture. Kids love the Mordecai Children’s Garden on the parking garage rooftop which eases the urban heat island, provides a wildlife habitat, and offers other environmental benefits.

The historic Brown Palace Hotel in Denver
The historic Brown Palace Hotel in Denver

The historic Brown Palace Hotel & Spa’s green initiative fosters five rooftop beehives that make honey for spa products and other uses. The Limelight Denver, adjacent to Union Station, is the first urban Limelight brand and features musical performances. Populus at Civic Center Park, the first carbon positive hotel, plans to open in summer 2024 with a commitment to planting 70,000 trees to offset its carbon footprint.

The popular River North Art District’s (RiNo’s) Source Hotel has been green since its groundbreaking, built with recycled and local materials for a LEED certification, and features water-efficient and bike-friendly amenities.

Got your bike helmet?

(For more Taking the Kids, visit and also follow TakingTheKids on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments. The fourth edition of The Kid’s Guide to New York City and the third edition of The Kid’s Guide to Washington D.C. are the latest in a series of 14 books for kid travelers published by Eileen.)

©2024 Eileen Ogintz. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.