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Denver can certainly lay claim to some unique and yes, sometimes, wacky transportation features. I’ll share some of them in this categorized article. You should know that most of these will be in current or future Wacky Denver listings.
Many folks may not know that Henry Barnes started some traffic innovations right here in Denver. The first is known as the “Barnes Dance”. It’s when at an intersection all traffic lights turn red and pedestrians are given the opportunity to cross at any angle, or even do a little dance if they like.
Barnes also synchronized traffic lights so that if you’re driving at an optimal speed, and traffic allows, you can go through a long string of green signals. If traffic conditions are right, you can still experience this on Speer Boulevard, Broadway, and some other numbered streets downtown.
A less welcome traffic-stopping device was born here in Denver…
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The folks who are creating the Rocky Mountain Land Library and artist's retreat in South Park Colorado have started working on a Denver branch. Located in the old Puritan Pie Factory, it is a carefully curated collection of books related to the environment of the Rocky Mountains. If you get a chance to visit during and open house (they're still working on the location) you'll see some creative tableaus of books and found objects from nature and the old factory. Definitely a one-of-a-kind experience worthy of support.
The Dairy Block was once home to the historic Windsor Dairy. Now it's become a micro-district for food, hotels and shopping. One of the most unique parts of the redevelopment is the alley centered between 18th and 19th and Wazee and Blake. In the alley you'll find cool art installations. Don't miss interacting with Nikki Pike's bronze cast butter churns. When you turn them they come alive with lights and curated music selections(I withheld sharing video/audio here so you can have a fresh experience). If you enjoy a drink with your art, then this alley also is the only place in Denver where you can carry your adult drink between establishments. So...I'll see you cool cats in the alley!
Years ago Steve Goodman wrote a song about Door Number 3, which was a reference to the tv game show "Let's Make a Deal". The challenge of choosing a door has come to life in Wheat Ridge where you'll find this wall of doors. None will literally open for you, but you can still ponder your choices in life.
The folks at the Art Hotel in Denver have a wry sense of humor. By commissioning a mural by Rob Reynolds depicting and titled Ocean View, they can now boast of offering "rooms with an ocean view". And these are the only rooms with an "ocean view" anywhere in the United States outside of the coastal areas. If you book a room at the Art Hotel for a visiting friend or relative, you'll find out if they enjoy wry humor or not. BTW, if you're on foot, you can view it at the corner of 12th and Broadway. It's above the Burger Fi restaurant.
The Cherry Cricket restaurant has been in Cherry Creek for 72 years. At one point it was owned by Governor John Hickenlooper. Besides serving famous burgers it also has features that certainly qualify it for a Wacky Denver listing: In the bar area, on the ceiling is a replica of a hockey rink. Around the edges of the rink you'll find celebrity autographs from visitors. Another notable part of the Cricket is the wall of aquariums. After a kitchen fire they had to close for some months. Upon reopening, they held a funeral for the fish that had died in the fire/closing. Editor's note: Besides respecting their fish, they also respect their employees-paying them while the restaurant was closed for repair.
Out on the plains of Colorado, a short drive from urban Denver in the heart of the surrounding farmland, you'll find lions and tigers and bears. For real.
The 720 acrea Wild Animal Sanctuary is a work-in-progress of massive fenced areas and agricultural pavilions connected by a suspended walkway that allows visitors to tour the animal enclosures safely from the sky.
In addition to learning a little about large predators and other rescue animals, the facility itself is an head scratching collection of industrial constructions and contraptions that make the security of guests and animals possible. The 1.51 mile elevated footbridge is Guiness Book of World Records certified as the longest.
And they have a snack bar serving pizza, just to round out the experience.
Head down to South Broadway to check out this "totally awesome" shop that is packed with clothes, toys, and fun items from the 1980s. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars figurines, Care Bears - you name it, they've got it!
Can you spot the Giant Pencil? What might be or certainly once was a functional smokestack is now an amazing GIANT PENCIL! Or at least it looks like one. A fun game to play downtown: Gee, I lost my pencil someplace, do you see it?
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!