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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 one and only, as featured in the animated series South Park. Yes, they have cliff divers inside. Yes, family and party groups attend for the unique experience. If you've been before, you'll be pleased to know that the shopping center and parking lot have seen an upgrade.
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!
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.
The "I Made It" community woodshop is a makerspace with a welcoming old school vibe. The wood is locally sourced, the pricing is by project and folks are ready to help you bring your wood creation to life. To top it off, you can book parties including their house beer and wine while they teach you how to make...drink coasters of course. More serious woodwrights can make one of kind pieces of furniture. This is where your DIY project can become a masterpiece.
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.
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?
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.
There are quite a few rooftop pools in Denver but none, that I know of, that have a tall glass window into them. This new apartment building should provide opportunities for people to crane their necks as they look up at swimmers looking down. Not sure who will be the exhibitionists here.
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!