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Denver Gets a Dinosaur-Themed Family Hotel

Best Western Southwest Denver

Most kids love dinosaurs, which means most kids are going to love the new-and-improved Best Western Southwest Denver hotel by the time summer rolls around.

The 112-room property, located in the suburb of Lakewood, Colo., is just about done with a $3 million remodel that ultimately will transform it from a humdrum hotel into a destination for dinosaur fans big and small.

In April, when the place opens, visitors will encounter life-size dinosaur statues, fossil displays, reproduction dinosaur lithographs and facts about the scientific study of dinosaurs. The redesign is the result of a partnership with local paleontology museums, including the Morrison Natural History Museum. The goal: To highlight Denver’s nearby Dinosaur Ridge, which was the location of the world’s first stegosaurus discovery and remains an active site where fossils are still being uncovered today.

One of the dino-themed amenities is a swimming pool lined with a mosaic of the Cretaceous Sea, an piece of artwork that should inspire kids to feel like they’re swimming with the Tylosaurus. There’s even a replica of a Pterodactyl flying over the pool. Other dinosaur-oriented attractions include:

  • Two restaurants, Paleo Joe’s and Roof Lizard Lounge.
  • A learning oriented child-care program called the Terrible Lizard Club or TLC.
  • Fossils and casts in the lobby.
  • A Pterodon weathervane atop the hotel.

Out near the pool, the hotel even has sand-pit “dig sites” in which kids can use trowels to “excavate” bones and explore for other treasures.

(Because I married an archaeologist, this feature particularly has our family psyched.)

Finally, in addition to being within a short drive from Dinosaur Ridge (and Triceratops Trail), the hotel also is located near paleontological destinations such as the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, which currently has an exhibit about mastodons and mammoths.

Put simply, the Best Western Southwest Denver is about to become a dino-lovers’ heaven. Next time we’re in Denver, dear readers, we’ll see you there.