Children display their MY Denver Cards at Argo Park.

(Photo: Courtesy of Evan Semon Photography)
The MY Denver Card, a program which gives Denver school children aged between five and 18 free access to the City and County of Denver's recreation centers and pools, will expand later this year to enable cardholders to take advantage of discounted entry to six of Denver's major cultural institutions.

Starting in November, cardholders will be able to use the MY Denver Card to visit the following:

  • The Museum of Contemporary Art
  • The Denver Art Museum
  • The Museum of Nature and Science
  • The Denver Botanic Gardens
  • The Denver Zoo
  • The Denver Center for the Performing Arts

"The mayor launched the MY Denver Card to provide Denver’s children with healthy, safe activities afterschool and during the summer months," City and County of Denver spokesperson Amber Miller says. "The anticipated added benefits will expand those opportunities, giving our children the keys to learning and staying active in Denver."

The specifics of what each participating instititution will offer cardholders will vary from facility to facility and be confirmed later this year, Miller says.

At this point in the planning process, the Denver Zoo hopes to offer children with the MY Denver Card  five free visits in January and five free visits in February as long as they are accompanied by a paying adult. The rest of the year, cardholders would be charged regular admission rates. ($10 for ages  3-11 and $15 for ages 12 and above.)

"We're always looking to be a good partner in our community," Zoo spokesperson Tiffany Barnhart says. "We need to reach the people closest to us in the Denver Public School District."

The DCPA is aiming to offer $10 student rush tickets one hour before curtain with the MY Denver Card on a space-available basis for 6th-12th grade students to Denver Center Theatre Company performances, according to DCPA spokesperson Suzanne Yoe-Blandon. The offer would not apply to Broadway touring shows.

"As stewards of Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) funds that are collected throughout the entire seven-county metro area, our offer extends to the entire SCFD District and will not be confined to Denver," Yoe-Blandon says, referring to the special tax district in the Denver metropolitan area that supports art, culture and science organizations. 

Meanwhile, the Denver Art Museum proposes to provide free admission to MY Denver Card holders for winter and spring breaks during the upcoming school year, spokesperson Kristy Bassuener says. 

And the Denver Botanic Gardens plans to offer free admission to cardholders during February when accompanied by a paying adult.

"We would likely extend this offer beyond Denver to the additional six SCFD counties," spokesperson Erin Bird says. 

Although some other cities in the U.S., such as Los Angeles with its "L.A. KIDS" program, offer free recreational opportunities for kids, few municipalities offer children's recreation initiatives as comprehensive as Denver's. 

"Consistently, the mayor is approached by other city leaders regarding the MY Denver Card program," Miller says. 

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced the creation of the MY Denver Card program at his first State of the City address in July 2012. The initiative was born out of voters' approval of ballot Measure 2A, which included the development of after-school and recreational programs for children. 

MY Denver Card is issued free of charge to eligible students in grades K-12 regardless of where they go to school as long as they are residents of Denver. Cardholders can also use their cards to access Denver's public library system.

The MY Denver Card program is administered by Denver Parks and Recreation and sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.