Federal Heights is an incorporated town of about 12,000 residents that was founded in 1940 with just a few dozen people.
It’s located in the north-central portion of the Denver Metropolitan area in Adams County and is just a few minutes off Interstate 25, which is the state’s largest north-south highway.
Federal Heights is most well-known for its massive water park that’s among the largest in the west. It’s close enough to Denver and the Rocky Mountains to make an abundance of activity options convenient to visit.
Below are 15 things to do in and around Federal Heights, Colorado.
1. Water World
Located on North Pecos Street in Federal Heights, Water World is one of the country’s largest waterparks. It features nearly 50 individual attractions that have been known to keep families entertained all day.
Previous guests who’ve spent time at other water parks consistently say that Water World is in a league of its own. Though it’s definitely not the cheapest attraction in town, most consider it to be good value.
Water World offers many food choices, and much of the park is accessible for the disabled as well.
Expect crowds and waits for rides if you go during peak times.
2. Badlands Disc Golf Course
For those without their own set of golf clubs who’d rather save a few bucks and try something new, disc golf is a fun way to enjoy a few hours in the great outdoors without spending a bundle.
Badlands Disc Golf in Camenisch Park is known for its dramatic changes in elevation and its ever-changing pin placements that keep things challenging.
Many of the fairways are wide-open, but others have treed areas, ditches, and ponds.
Even for those who aren’t into disc golf, the park has ample walking paths and plenty of shaded seating areas that are perfect for a picnic or an afternoon with a good book.
3. Lotus Chinese Restaurant
Lotus Chinese Restaurant is located on West 84th Avenue in Federal Heights. Since it was founded in 1980, it’s been a favorite area dining destination.
Lotus is often referred to as a hole in the wall, but therein lies much of its charm; according to many regulars, it’s worlds away from its competitors.
A few of their most popular menu items include egg rolls, sesame chicken, beef and broccoli, and lo mein. Unless you happen to be there on a particularly busy day, it’s common to have your orders in front of you in 10 or 15 minutes.
4. Legacy Ridge Golf Course
Featuring stunning mountain views and a variety of natural landscapes including wetlands and prairies, Legacy Ridge Golf Course in nearby Westminster is not only scenic and challenging, but surprisingly reasonably priced as well.
The course has been open since 1994 and plays just over 7,100 yards from the back tees, which means it’s significantly longer than most of its contemporaries.
Legacy Ridge’s amenities include a restaurant, pro shop, and practice facilities, and most savvy golfers who regularly play the area consider it one of the best values around.
If you’ll be playing on a holiday or weekend, it would be a good idea to reserve your tee time in advance.
5. Tacos Junior
The Denver Metropolitan area is brimming with dining choices ranging from swanky and exclusive to cheap, fast, and comfy.
Tacos Junior is located just a stone’s throw from Federal Heights on East Colfax Avenue in neighboring Aurora, and rumor has it that their tacos are head and shoulders above the competition.
They’re known for their fresh ingredients, traditional recipes, fast service, and reasonable prices, and they definitely don’t skimp on portion sizes either.
Though tacos are the stars of the show, they offer tons of other items as well, including seafood, salads, and sweet Mexican baked goods.
6. Adventure Golf and Raceway
For travelers with kids looking to get the most bang for their hard-earned travel dollars, there’s really no better choice than Adventure Golf and Raceway on Sheridan Boulevard in nearby Westminster.
The facility has been open for more than three decades and features a mind-boggling 54 mini-golf holes with a number of fun and unique themes, as well as challenging obstacles.
There’s also food, games, bumper cars, and go-karts, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’ve hosted nearly three million guests over the years.
Adventure Golf and Raceway is often a kid-filled madhouse, so it’s probably not a good fit for those looking for a quiet or romantic evening.
7. Fair Winds Hot Air Balloon Flights
With its endless expanse of blue skies and majestic mountain vistas, Colorado is the perfect place for hot air ballooning, and Fair Winds Hot Air Balloon Flights in Lafayette is one of the area’s most respected providers.
Their goal has always been to create lasting memories, and according to previous guests, they consistently do just that.
Their season generally lasts from May until November, and there are a variety of options to accommodate those of most ages and interests.
Private events and groups are welcome, but it’s best to give them a call before making the trip to let them know when you’ll be arriving and how many they should plan for.
8. Denver Art Museum
The Denver Museum of Art is one of the Rocky Mountain State’s most visited art and cultural attractions. It’s conveniently located downtown, just a short drive away for those staying in Federal Heights.
The museum features a world-class collection of traditional and contemporary art from all over the world done in a variety of mediums.
Most visitors spend between an hour and two on-site. The museum’s staff also offer guided tours and activities that include workshops for budding artists, demonstrations, and guest speakers.
Admission is fairly reasonable considering the museum’s impressive collection, and children get in free every day.
9. Odyssey Beerwerks
Odyssey Beerwerks is located on West 56th Street in Arvada and was the brainchild of local homebrew enthusiasts, who spent years perfecting their craft before deciding to open their own craft brewery.
Odyssey features a popular taproom chock-full of unique brews with a range of alcohol contents and flavor profiles.
Their offerings run the gamut from pleasantly bitter IPAs and vanilla porters to refreshing wheats and light lagers. They also offer seasonal specials that include flavors like pumpkin and marshmallow.
Brewpubs are great places to taste unique brews and meet locals, who are usually great resources for visitors not sure what to see and do while in the area.
10. Wild Animal Sanctuary
Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg is spread across nearly 800 acres of land and is home to hundreds of large animals from different species.
The sanctuary’s bears, leopards, lions, tigers, and wolves roam relatively freely in several habitats, and the facility is open to the public daily – except for holidays and when the weather is particularly inclement.
There’s an elevated walkway that winds its way around the park from which visitors can get a good look at the animals. For most, it’s as close as they’ll ever get to such dangerous and impressive beasts.
11. Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge
Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge was established nearly 30 years ago and is comprised of almost 80 acres of pristine land that’s home to an abundance of plant and animal species.
The refuge consists of prairie and wetlands that are vital to the area’s wildlife, and there are regularly scheduled guided tours for those who’d like to experience them up close and personally.
Two Ponds’ park entrance is located on West 80th Avenue in Arvada. The staff offer a variety of educational programs, hiking excursions, and nature-related programs that are appropriate for most ages.
12. Morrison Natural History Museum
Morrison, Colorado, is a quaint and historic town that’s located about a half-hour west of downtown Denver; it’s home to one of the area’s most impressive natural history museums.
According to visitors who’ve seen their fair share of natural history museums, The Morrison Natural History Museum is a clear standout, especially for its abundant exhibits, knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff, and fantastic collection of fossils, many of which are hundreds of thousands of years old.
Several of the museum’s exhibits are interactive, which means they’re both educational and entertaining. The cost of admission is much less expensive than many of the area’s more commercial attractions.
13. Butterfly Pavilion and Insectarium
Located on West 104th Street in Westminster, the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center is one of the region’s most unique attractions. Especially for those traveling with animal-loving children, it often ends up being one of the most memorable experiences of their trip.
The facility is full of amazing insects, and though bugs often get a bad rap, they’re integral parts of all ecosystems.
Of course, the colorful butterflies tend to steal the spotlight; in addition to being beautiful, they have fascinating life cycles, and many of them make yearly migrations that are often longer than 1,000 miles.
14. Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities
Though Colorado is primarily known for its abundant outdoor recreation options and wild beauty, there are also plenty of art and culture attractions as well; the Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities is one of the most popular.
Founded in 1976, the Arvada Center is located on Wadsworth Boulevard and includes multiple art galleries, theaters, conference facilities, and classrooms.
Throughout the year, the center hosts a full schedule of performances, including dramatic theater, live music, and dance. There are also courses and workshops on both performing and traditional arts that are appropriate for most ages.
15. Standley Lake Regional Park
Standley Lake Regional Park is a convenient option for those who want to spend quality time in nature without traveling halfway across the state to do it.
The park’s centerpiece is Standley Lake, which boasts more than 1,000 acres of surface area and provides drinking water to a number of nearby towns like Westminster and Thornton.
During the warm months, the lake is popular with paddlers, kayakers, swimmers, and fishers. The adjacent park is crisscrossed with a number of trails, from which it’s common to see stunning views and a variety of wildlife species.
If you plan to go fishing, you’ll need a valid Colorado fishing license to be in compliance.