Last week I took my older daughter to the History Colorado Center. I didn’t know what to expect and was sort of expecting just to walk through and be done in about an hour. That was not the case at all! This museum is so kid friendly and so well done. Most of the exhibits are hands on with a lot of information for kids to learn while they play and do. We got our tickets for free from the Jeffco Library’s Culture Pass.
On the first floor is a 1920’s town in Colorado. It’s motion activated so it knows when you walk into the room and the audio tour (with a projection of the person talking to you on the wall) starts. It has a school, a general store, a home, and a farm. You can play with the food at the general store, the toys in the house, the cash register has money in it, and in the farm you can collect eggs to trade at the store and mil the cow! There is even slide in the barn kids can go down. The outhouse is a nice touch as well. There is also an old car the kids can sit in and then the screen in front begins and it looks like they are driving down the road.
Once you go upstairs there is even more to experience. There is a ski town in the mountains – with a little ski shop, an explanation of snow pack, the building of Eisenhower Tunnel. There is an area where you can pretend you are on a ski jump!
As you continue to wander you get into the other parts of Colorado History. There is an area that talks about Colorado’s unspoken history – the KKK, and the internment of Japanese during WWII. If you aren’t prepared to explain these topics to your kids be aware. These exhibits made for deep conversation with my daughter (6) and she came away learning so much.
There is another area that talks about water use and conservation in Colorado. My daughter was fascinated by the dust bowl exhibit. There is home you walk in and sit down and actually experience what it may have been like during this time.
There is so much more to this museum. Right now there is a Native American Exhibit – called Written on the Land. This exhibit is more grown up but there are still some hands on parts for the kids.
Finally, there was pretend mine to explore. The “elevator” that you go in is a little dark and bit scary for little ones but we did and it added to the experience.
The best part of our experience – granted we went on a Thursday during the school year as it was take your child to work day – was that she was the ONLY child in the entire museum. We had most exhibits completely to ourselves. Every exhibit was working and she was able to experience everything. I would highly recommend this museum. Spend a couple hours or spend the day! It would be good for my 3 year old daughter too I think, she just wasn’t with us that day.
There is so much in this part of town if you wanted to make a day of it as well. Before we walked to the History Center we were in the Colorado Supreme Court. It’s a beautiful building on its own but they also have a learning center. There are several areas where you can be the judge, or the DA or the Defense Attorney or a Juror. There is also a little bench and robes for an adorable Photo Opportunity.
360 degree tour of the learning center
The Denver Public Library is right there. The Denver Arm Museum is across the street as well (where kids are always free!!!). Even if you don’t go in the museum the art sculptures around there a great to walk around and look at.
Finally the Byers-Evans House is down the street. It is free with your ticket to the History Center. We did’t have time to go this time but we will definitely give it chance.