Many family-friendly museum attractions often sit just off the main roads throughout Colorado, and others occasionally require a destination drive to seek out unique finds. These seven Colorado museums are filled with eras of history, unmatched collections and intriguing stories.
At Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, 150-million-year-old dinosaur bones are encased and on display. Take a guided-shuttle tour, wander the indoor “Trek through Time” exhibit, partake in a simulated dinosaur dig (kids activity), or walk along two 1.5-mile trails (Dinosaur Ridge and Triceratops Trail) that expose tracks from at least four different types of dinosaurs.
View age-old to modern-day coins and paper money, and learn about the history and the making of money at Colorado Springs’ Money Museum. Plus, kids can learn about money through interactive activities and classes at the Kids Zone.
Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys
Inside Denver’s Pearce-McAllister Cottage, the Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys displays permanent and temporary exhibits including houses, trains, cars, planes, dolls and myriad other miniatures. Sip traditional English tea in the Oak and Berries Tea Room, and consider visiting on the first Sunday of the month from 1 to 4 pm for waived-admission “community days.”
Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave
Legendary buffalo hunter William F. Cody, nicknamed “Buffalo Bill,” is buried at Lookout Mountain Park. The Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave features exhibits of the Wild West, firearms and Indian artifacts, with a one-mile hiking trail connecting the museum to the Lookout Mountain Nature Center.
Western Museum of Mining & Industry
The Western Museum of Mining & Industry in Colorado Springs showcases Colorado’s rich mining history through a 27-acre, indoor-outdoor exhibit of more than 4,00 artifacts. Tour the mine reclamation exhibit, historic Reynolds Ranch House, and a 10-stamp mill, and say hello to donkeys Nugget and Chism. Daily, guided tours are offered and check online for special events happening throughout the year.
Leanin’ Tree Museum & Sculpture Garden of Western Art
Founded in 1949, Leanin’ Tree is one of the nation’s largest, private collections of Western art. A monumental outdoor sculpture garden displays work by more than 20 artists and indoor galleries include more than 150 bronze sculptures and 250 paintings—all with Western-lifestyle themes. Also on site, take a factory tour to see how greeting cards are made with printing presses the size of school buses.
Colorado Railroad Museum
Founded to preserve Colorado’s railroad era in 1958, the Colorado Railroad Museum houses a variety of locomotives, passenger cars and cabooses within its 15 acres. Visitors can observe workings within the Roadhouse restoration facility, and thousands of rare artifacts are on display inside the Depot Museum. Ride the rails on Saturdays and check the special events calendar for a chance to see the Polar Express or Thomas the Train.