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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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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.
After seeing this illustration on West Alameda in Denver it almost made me rethink being a vegetarian. Could cows really look this happy (and hungry?) while being butchered? The mystery will remain for me since this quiet vegetarian did not step inside. But you might want to ponder the illustration for yourself and stop by this butcher shop to buy what must be some very fresh (and happy?) meat.
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.
Since Denver is the Mile High City, it is only right that you can stand on a Mile High step on the state capital steps. Just climb the main staircase on the west side of the capital until you see the plaque. You might also notice that the plaque has been moved over the years.
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!
Although Denver is over 800 miles from the Mississippi River there is a massive riverboat replica in South Denver. To add to the wacky factor it's actually a car wash where the only water is internal, not external. And you can't reach this nautical monument via a river. It's at 3480 South Poplar Street just off of Hampden Avenue. GIven the height and immensity of the structure you'll have no trouble sighting it from Hampden. Now someone needs to show this to John Fogerty of "Proud Mary" song fame.
Who doesn't love a cowboy in pajamas? The 3 ton, 20 foot tall sculpture at 1725 Champa Street has admirers and detractors. That's abstract art for you, and art that sparks conversations. This, western-inspired, painted bronze sculpture was created by Sean O'Meallie. Its placement near the Renaissance Hotel harks back to when there was an annual pajama fundraiser held there. Perhaps now someone will start a photo collection of pajama-clad people posing with the sculpture. We could feature that on Wacky Denver!
This is a creative reuse of an old motel that had fallen into disrepair. The new owners made the new anagram Metlo with the original signpost. You won't find any cheap motel rooms anymore, but you will find some very creative businesses using the renovated spaces. The building has also been noticed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and who doesn't love mid-mod architecture?
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!