The Children's Museum of Denver is a children's museum located in Denver, Colorado, in the Central Platte Valley.
In 1973, a group of parents, educators and Museum administrators organized Denver’s first Children’s Museum to promote curiosity and encourage learning through play.The Children’s Museum originally opened in a convereted school bus, and in two years time, it quickly outgrew this facility and moved into a restored turn-of-the-century dairy. At this location, the Museum vastly grew in popularity with about 10,000 visitors per month. The space soon became inadequate for the needs of both the Museum and its staff and in 1979, the Museum decided to build its new facility in the proposed Gates-Crescent Park, along the Platte River. The new location was in a central part of the city, provided accessibility from major traffic arteries, was adjacent to an area suitable for recreational activities and offered adequate parking to the public and staff members. The Museum opened in 1984 in its new location and has remained there ever since.
The Children’s Museum of Denver’s team focuses on five key developmental domains when designing its educational play-based exhibits and programs: hands-on development, social-emotional growth, sensory awareness, language and cognitive development, and large motor development. In addition, the Colorado Model Content Standards and the Colorado Building Blocks are used to support the specific needs of our guests, including students and teachers.
A full-time exhibit team works in conjunction with the education department to create and design new experiences. Exhibits are tested in WillitWorks, a prototyping area within the Museum where children and their grown ups can be directly involved in their creation. In creating a new exhibit, the exhibit team considers factors such as market appeal, elements of play, target age, design and access, childhood developmental building blocks and Colorado Model Content Standards for fine arts, math and language arts.
ARTS a la Carte
With an art studio, dance floor and puppet theater, children are encouraged to develop their creativity through open-ended play. The studio offers a variety of tools and materials to create their own works of art. Children learn about rhythm, movement, music and performance on the dance floor. The puppet theater is a place for children to develop their imaginations through role play. Large and fine motor skills, creative thinking, self-expression and social interaction skills are developed in ARTS a la Carte.
The Assembly Plant
Children use recycled materials, donated by community members, to design and build one-of-a-kind creations. Along with their grownups, children can sit at an individual workshop with blueprints and real tools to create something of their own. This exhibit promotes constructive play, hand manipulation of tools, safety knowledge and creative thinking.
Programming and Events
In addition to exhibits, the Children’s Museum of Denver offers daily educational programming. These programs match the Museum’s bimonthly themes, such as Wide World of Arts, Colorful Colorado and Stellar Science. Daily programming subjects range from fine arts to science and offer age-specific activities for toddlers and school-age children. The Museum also offers special family events to guests, such as Bunny Trail EggVenture, Trick or Treat Street and Noon Year’s Eve. Additionally, the Museum pairs with other cultural organizations in collaborative learning events that occur throughout the year.