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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 Equitable building in downtown Denver has a beautiful lobby and it's a great example of Renaissance architecture. That alone warrants a visit. But if you look up, way up, to the top of the building you'll see what looks like vomiting (or spitting?) lions. So, look up Denver, you never know what you'll see up there in the sky or on a building.
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.
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.
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!
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 RINO neighborhood of Denver certainly has plenty of murals to see, but only one transforms as you walk, ride or drive by it. The artist, Jeremy Burns, took advantage of the louvres or some might say fins of the building on Larimer just north of 27th Street. He titles it "Larimer Boy and Girl". Here's a video of the effect:
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!
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!