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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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Tucked away behind armed guards inside a century modern bank builing sits the Money Museum. This free attraction is worth showing your government issued ID and leaving your backpack in the car. Inside you'll find a collection of exhibits about the role of the Federal Reserve and a bunch of money and exhibits about money. Best of all, before you leave, grab a keepsake plastic bag filled with shredded money, about $172-worth, last we checked.
Best of all, the price for this money museum is right: Free
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!
At Forest Room 5 you're surrounded by wood and trees. Inside the tables and bar surround you with the warm vibe of wood. You'll feel like you landed in Portland OR. Old films from the Criterion collection play behind the bar, and there's even a book vending machine. Yes, a book vending machine. Outside there are trees, a creek, a teepee , a watchful deer, and campfires to warm yourself by on a chilly evening. Hiking boots are optional.
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 "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.
Ride the Cyclone!
Lakeside Amusement Park offers cheap thrills at a bargain price. Though the park as seen better days, the wild collection of rides and attractions (many in disrepair and functioning) provides a glimpse into the past of popular amusement sites. Cheap admission and cheap rides make it an easy visit. And while you are there, be sure to stay after dark. As the sun goes down and the dark hides the dirt and disrepair, the real magic starts.
One of a kind. Visit while you can!
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.
In what hopefully be an ongoing festival/project, kids from the Five Points area of Denver have recorded poems and stories. When you walk by a tree with a kite and streamers in it a motion activated recording is played. Walk along the east side of 2600 Champa street to hear their authentic, imaginative work.
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!