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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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There are three kinetic sculptures in the lobby of Denver Public Schools' Emily Griffith Campus in Downtown Denver, which is open to the public. The art is by John King of Lyons, CO. While you are in the lobby, you can also check out the wood sculptures by Ted Esselstyn.
Tourists and newcomers may be surprised when they walk on the west side of Curtis Street, between 15th and 16th Avenues in Denver. At times it sounds like a subway is rumbling underneath your feet. Here's a sample:
There are other sounds that play as well and if you haven't heard them, I won't spoil the surprise. This audio art has actually been around for decades, created by artist Jim Green-who lives in Denver. I'm impressed with it's whimsy and longevity. Enjoy!
In the shadow of the Wells Fargo building (one of Denver's tallest) is a small park serving as an urban oasis. The Adirondack chairs come with footstools for serious relaxing. One of the things that makes this park unique is that due to the proximity to the skyscraper, it is always shady during the heat of a summer afternoon. To top it all off, there is usually a food truck parked on the street.
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.
Got writer’s block? This place might help. Poet’s Row is a group of historic art deco style apartment buildings along the 1000 through 1200 blocks of Sherman Street. The buildings are named for poets and other American writers. Most of the buildings were designed by Charles Strong who was a really interesting guy too. Walking on these blocks offers great photo ops and might even inspire you. Nothing beats being a poet.
It sounds like the perfect alibi: "That couldn't have been me, I was at Grandma's house" or "You know nothing bad ever happens at Grandma's house". Besides indulging in alibis and irony you can drink beer, play games and join with others in activities such as foul-mouthed cross stitching on Sundays all while surrounded by all the decorations you would find at your grandmothers.
Rockmount Ranch Wear isn't just any western clothing store. The founder, Jack Weil (Papa Jack), invented the snap button shirt. Jack worked until he was 107 years old and made it his aim to ensure that people living in the American West had their own cool style. If you check out the location, make sure you go upstairs to look at the mini museum!
Although it's been disputed by other towns and cities, Louis Ballast trademarked the name "cheeseburger" in 1935. His restaurant, the Humpty Dumpty Drive In, is alas no more. But if you go to the Key Bank at 2776 N. Speer Boulevard, you'll find a small marble monument heralding him and his restaurant. You'll have to look closely for the marker, it's barely three feet tall. To properly toast one for Louis and his "curb girls" who delivered the cheeseburgers, the nearest spots are Park Burger and Highland Tap and Grill on 32nd Avenue, north of the marker. A little further away, but at a lower price point, you'll find Burger King on Federal Boulevard and another on 38th Avenue.
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!