KIDSParty piñatas, model trains, glitter, and glue. We show you how to show the kids a good time.
Baby Shower Gifts
EDITORS' CHOICE Red Carpet Baby
1511 S. Pearl St., 303-698-2229, www.redcarpetbaby.com
As the baby industry spirals out of control à la the bridal industry, take heart that Red Carpet Baby still offers a personal touch, an understanding about babies, and high-quality products. Owner Emelia Nidel is a Montessori-certified early-childhood educator, and her expertise shows up in the types of toys (wooden learning toys), furniture (child-size wardrobes), and gifts (hand-sewn blankets and natural bath products) she sells.
READERS' CHOICE Real Baby
3616 W. 32nd Ave., 303-477-2229, www.realbabyinc.com
Highland's Real Baby has you covered when it comes to shower gifts: Thomas & Friends toys, kitchy onesies with irreverent phrases (My Mama Drinks Because I Cry), beautiful diaper bags by Petunia Pickle Bottom, running strollers, car seats, cute cribs, baby blankets, and hip maternity wear, all housed in a great location on 32nd.
EDITORS' and READERS' CHOICE Little Feet
201 University Blvd., 303-388-9535, www.littlefeetandmore.com
After 14 years, Little Feet still out-runs/out-walks/out-toddles the competition when it comes to outfitting tiny toes. Need classic Mary Janes for back-to-school? This is the place. What about toddler Tevas for summer? Sure thing. Gold foil boots or Jibbitz? You betcha. And Beth Saper, who owns and operates the business with her husband, Buddy, watches over the shop like a mother hen, ensuring that no matter which clerk waits on you, the fit will be perfect.
EDITORS' CHOICE Denver Art Museum
100 W. 14th Ave., 720-865-5000, www.denverartmuseum.org
In addition to renowned African, American Indian, European, and modern art collections, the DAM features plenty of kid-friendly spots throughout its two main buildings. The cartoon mascot Seymour is there to show you where kids (and kids at heart) can hold a real samurai sword or try out Navajo weaving. Complimentary family backpacks filled with puzzles, toys, and activities are available to tote around the museum while you're there. Plus, the downtown attraction is free for Colorado residents on the first Saturday of every month, making it a budget-friendly outing to boot.
READERS' CHOICE Denver Zoo
2300 Steele St., 303-376-4800, www.denverzoo.org
New animals (like bongo calf Maddie) are just two of the reasons readers give the zoo top honors. And that's not to mention the summer picnics and family-focused events such as Family Night and Zip A De Do.
EDITORS' CHOICE Caboose Hobbies
500 S. Broadway, 303-777-6766, www.caboosehobbies.com
Ever since the Union and Central railroads hooked up in 1869, Coloradans have had a love affair with trains. There's no place better to nurture your little engineer (or pacify your grown-up one) than in this magnificent shop, which boasts five working train models and every train-related toy and part you could possibly want.
READERS' CHOICE Kazoo & Company
2930 E. Second Ave., 1-800-257-0008, www.kazootoys.com
Not only loved by Coloradans but also lauded nationally as one of the very best, Cherry Creek's Kazoo has two floors packed with every imaginative toy known to man and child.
EDITORS' CHOICE Gateway Park
4800 N. 28th St., Boulder, 303-442-4386, www.gatewayfunpark.com
We are shocked—shocked!—that a mini-golf course in Boulder would have loads of giant mushrooms dotting the course. And a pink elephant? Who woulda thunk? Gateway Park, apparently. It also thought to put in not one but two 18-hole courses, not to mention go-karts, batting cages, and a golf range, keeping the weekend crowds to a minimum and everyone in the family happy.
READERS' CHOICE Adventure Golf
9650 N. Sheridan Blvd., Westminster, 303-650-7587, www.adventuregolfandraceway.com
Big, fake, and fun, Adventure Golf is the Las Vegas of local mini-golf courses. The elaborate holes—54 in all—are set amid volcanoes, pyramids, and Aztec ruins, which means it's sort of educational, right? Right?
EDITORS' CHOICE Cradle & All
6448 E. County Line Road, Littleton, 303-798-2150
In a world of trite children's stores, this Littleton shop is playful, imaginative, and different. Sure, you might pay a bit more, but the furniture is quality (plan on eight to 10 weeks for delivery), the bedding is adorable (and not just baby blue or petal pink), and the customer service is excellent. One 5280 editor ordered a crib, bookshelf, and changing table, and the store not only delivered and assembled, but its staffers also stuck around to make sure everything was arranged just so. And that makes moms and dads happy.
READERS' CHOICE Pottery Barn Kids
Multiple locations, www.adventuregolfandraceway.com
Thumb through the PB catalog and it's no surprise why readers love this furniture. It's fresh, sturdy, and hip to the latest design trends.
Family Restaurant Parents Love
EDITORS' CHOICE Steuben's
523 E. 17th Ave., 303-830-1001, www.steubens.com
We've never met a half-pint who didn't love Steuben's over-the-top kids' meals, with eight generous main courses plus a starch and veggie to keep mom smiling. (Or is it the retro cocktail list and decidedly upscale diner fare—pan-roasted chicken in white wine sauce—that's causin' mommy to grin?)
READERS' CHOICE Red Robin
Multiple locations, www.redrobin.com
You could act your age and order a grilled salmon burger on a whole-grain bun, but why fight your inner voice? Fries! Milkshake! Burger! Oh wait, that's the voice coming from the tot in the high chair.
Family Restaurant Kids Love
EDITORS' CHOICE Ling & Louie's Asian
Bar and Grill
8354 E. 49th Ave., 303-371-4644, www.lingandlouies.com
At Ling & Louie's, the open kitchen is curtained from the dining room by a sleek wall of running water. What better way to keep kids occupied while waiting for bento boxes with chicken teriyaki, rice, orange slices, and sweets? There's nothing to stop little fingers from touching the fountain, so bring an extra shirt in case junior's sleeves get wet.
READERS' CHOICE Casa Bonita
6715 W. Colfax St., Lakewood, 303-232-5115, www.casabonitadenver.com
The Elitch Gardens of restaurants, this Mexican-restaurant-theme-park wows kids with cliff divers, cowboy shoot-outs, an arcade, and more. Order a liter of Casaritas, the house margarita, and settle in for the show.
EDITORS' CHOICE Big Blue Brush
8100 S. Quebec St., Englewood, 303-770-6775, www.bigbluebrush.com
For kids with a creative bent, the Brush offers a large workspace for kids to gather and express themselves in paint, glue, glitter, and all the other messy stuff you dread opening at home. Parties run an hour and a half and are led by a licensed art teacher and staff. Big Blue Brush also offers art classes and a camp for kids during the week. Parties start at $195 on weekends, $175 on weekdays.
READERS' CHOICE Monkey Bizness
9950 E. Easter Ave., Centennial, 303-790-8885, www.monkeybizness.com
The perfect place to load your kids up on birthday cake and then let them bounce off the walls (literally) on interactive inflatable bouncers, obstacle courses, slides, and a climbing wall. Parties start at $195.
Tiny FashionA clothing store for every kind of kid.
Little Mountain Outfitters
1136 Spruce St., Boulder, 303-443-1757, www.outdoorgearforkids.com
Owners Dan and Lori Nichols stock all the gear necessary for kids (newborn to 14) to enjoy the outdoors—Patagonia jackets, fleece onesies, Wellies-style rain boots, little board shorts, kiddo CamelBaks, and North Face hiking boots.
Le Petite Cadeau
260 S. Downing St., 720-570-2505
For traditional, Southern-style, Easter-ready smock dresses and jumpers (plus adorable plaid and floral prints), hit up the new—and rare for Denver—traditional Petite Cadeau (opened in December). Bonus: Everything in the store can be embroidered.
56 S. Broadway, 303-733-2288
Kid stuff is a new foray for this Broadway girlie boutique. But the lines live up to Decade's already high standards of hipness. Find poochie print dresses and skirts, and slogan T's. Plus, a just-as-cute line of maternity clothes for mommies who want to stay adorable through the next pregnancy (including Tala jeans, Preggrs N Proud T's, and Hooter Hiders).
1030 Speer Blvd., 303-477-3227; 200 Quebec St., 303-366-5644; www.studiobini.com
Owner Linde Schlumbohm opened Studio Bini in 1999 following the birth of son Max. Frustrated by lack of cute kids' clothes in town, she set out to design her own line. Studio Bini is now where fashionista mommies shop for pink rodeo dresses and even bowling shirts for their little Vince Vaughns.
EDITORS' CHOICE Piñateria el Tambor
3812 Lowell St., 303-593-2666
The readers had no consensus on this one (What's wrong with you people? Don't you like candy?), but we've got you covered. At tiny Piñateria el Tambor in the Highland/Berkeley area of 38th and Lowell, we found one of the most charming and diverse collections of the folksy, handmade, papier-mâché variety: unicorns, llamas, bulls, and Batmans, fairy princesses in paper gowns, trucks, soccer balls, lions, and this cool guy with the goofy grin (he was a sweet 16 bucks).
EDITORS' CHOICE Belleview Park
4800 S. Windermere St., Englewood
A gentle stream runs through this park, but we really love the petting zoo, child-size working train, picnic and play areas, and baseball diamond. Train rides and zoo: one dollar each. Wearing out your kids: priceless.
READERS' CHOICE Washington Park
Downing and Louisiana streets
The hub of life in the city, Wash Park has it all and grows with your family—from the toddler play area to the soccer fields, and from the boathouse to the tennis courts.