Get Out And Explore — A Look At The Top Museums In Colorado

Posted on January 20, 2020 by .

Museums are a vehicle for discovery and inspiration. They act as a haven to ponder the amazing work of others and reflect on your place in the world. For too long, museums have gotten a bad rap for being boring, passe, or even irrelevant. But it’s time to change that view. The museums in Colorado are on a level of their own. 

In 2016, the “Star Wars and the Power of Costume” at the Denver Art Museum showcased more than 70 pieces from the cinematic powerhouse. It also drew in thousands of visitors from in and out of state. In 2019, the DAM opened the biggest Claude Monet exhibition in the United States in 25 years. “Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature” features 124 paintings spanning the artist’s career and capturing his relationship with nature. Both of these are just at the DAM! 

There are so many other exhibits and museums to explore in Colorado, which is just one of the many reasons we love it here

Top Museums in Colorado to Explore

Denver Art Museum 

Overview: The Denver Art Museum is an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. It’s one of the largest art museums between Chicago and the West Coast, with a collection of more than 70,000 works of art divided between 12 permanent groups including African, American Indian, Architecture Design & Graphics, Asian, European and American, modern and contemporary, Oceanic, pre-Columbian, photography, Spanish Colonial, textile, and western American art. 

It was founded in the late 1800s and opened in its current home in 1971. Every first Saturday of the month is Free!

Timing and Tickets: The museum is open daily 10 am – 5 pm, and until 8 pm on Friday nights. Colorado residents pay $10 for general entry, and special exhibits are extra, including the Monet. 

Fun Fact: The museum’s Chinese robe collection is one of the finest in the country—possibly in the world. The museum is known in China as the museum with the Grand Collection of Chinese textiles, especially court robes, sleeves, and other regalia. 

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Overview: Founded in the 1800s, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science earned its mark during a discovery in 1926. A crew working near Folsom, New Mexico, unearthed stone projectile points alongside the bones of an extinct bison species. These “Folsom points” proved that humans lived in North America more than 10,000 years ago, hundreds of years earlier than previously believed. The Museum was propelled to the forefront of archaeological research, the beginning of contributions to science that continue today.

It’s also noted for its world-famous wildlife dioramas and interactive exhibits that help educate about the world we live in. It also houses an IMAX theater and planetarium. 

Timing and Tickets: The museum is open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. General admission tickets for adults are $19.95.  

Fun Fact: The museum was founded out of the Colorado Gold Ruse. Edwin Carter, who became one of the few successful miners during the rush, decided to give up gold mining in 1868 and pursue his love of science and nature. Over the next three decades, he amassed nearly 3,300 specimens of Colorado fauna, which helped create the museum.

History Colorado Center

Overview: Artifacts, stories, and art intermingle to tell the tale of Colorado and the American West. Designed for multi-generational audiences, the museum captures the pioneering and individualistic spirit of Colorado with ever-changing exhibitions and programs. Engage in Colorado history and even try on the Denver Broncos’ barrel man’s famous barrel he wore to Mile High Stadium for more than forty years.

Timing and Tickets: The museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $14 for adults. 

Fun Fact: The History Colorado Center is a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum.

Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

Overview: If you like jaw-dropping views of incredible machinery, this is the museum for you. Transferred from the United States Air Force to a group of volunteers in 1994, Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is located in Hangar #1 of the former Lowry Air Force Base in eastern Denver, Colorado.

Today, the museum has more than 182,000 square feet of hangar space full of iconic aircraft, space vehicles, artifacts, military uniforms, and much more. See more than 50 aircraft up close and personal and experience some of the best flight simulators in the State. 

Timing and Tickets: The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm. Tickets are $16.95 for adults. 

Fun Fact: It was named a “20 best aviation museum in the world” by CNN Travel.

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Overview: Since opening in 2012, the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery has welcomed over 700,000 visitors from all 50 states. The exhibits gallery boasts long-term exhibits in science, music, agriculture, astronomy, first peoples, wildlands, and more. It also includes four buildings of regional historical importance at our Heritage Courtyard, the on-site Archive and Collections, and Northern Colorado’s only 360° immersive theater – the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater. 

Since 2016, they’ve welcomed national touring special exhibitions from producers including National Geographic, American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian, and more. 

Timing and Tickets: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, and until 8 pm on Thursdays. Tickets are $12.50 for adults

Fun Fact: They offer many free exhibits for the community, including Natural Areas, where our Black-footed ferrets are located. They also allow the public to use research and discover in their Archive and Collections.

Ghost Town Museum 

Overview: The Ghost Town Museum in Colorado Springs is an interactive experience with authentic artifacts rescued from the Pikes Peak mining region. The exhibit showcases buildings, mining structures, and antiques from the Colorado Gold Rush, and they are preserved indoors for generations to come. 

It’s a family-friendly museum that has plenty of activities like panning for gold, letterpress machines, and churning butter. Make sure to stop by Patsy’s Candies, just up the road, for authentic chocolate that’s been family owned and made in Colorado Springs since 1903.

Timing and Tickets: The museum and gift shop is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $7.50 for adults. 

Fun Fact: The museum is housed in a historic stone structure, which the Colorado Midland Railroad constructed as a maintenance building for the steam locomotives that hauled gold ore to the Golden Cycle Mill.

Clyfford Still Museum

Overview: Opened in 2011, the Clyfford Still Museum offers nine curated galleries of Still’s art, historic photos, objects and letters from the Clyfford Still Archives.  This collection brings to light the world’s most intact public collection of any major artist, as Still was an important American painter and pioneer of Abstract Expressionism after the second World War.

Still always intended for his work to be a single collection, stipulating in his will that the entirety of his estate be given to an American city willing to establish a permanent museum to exhibit his work.  His wife, Patricia Still, chose the city of Denver in 2004.

Timing and Tickets: Open Tuesday through Sunday 10 am to 5 pm, Tickets are $10 for adults. Special extended hours on Friday evening hours (5 pm- 8 pm) offers discounted $5 tickets plus bonus discounts at bars and restaurants in the surrounding area.

Fun Fact: Still never named his works because he wanted people to make their own interpretations.

We encourage you to get out and visit one or all of these amazing museums in Colorado. Take time to learn new information about the world around you. 


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