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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.
Head down to South Broadway to check out this "totally awesome" shop that is packed with clothes, toys, and fun items from the 1980s. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars figurines, Care Bears - you name it, they've got it!
This Winchell's location on Colfax would be just another little retail outlet on a dreary stretch of road expect for the mural: Nothing to see here but a guy with a donut head hanging out by a phone next to a donut shop.
Don't miss this photo op if you happen to be heading down West Colfax. And why might you be doing that? Across the street you'll find World Famous Casa Bonita!
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.
Every year in January, near the end of Denver's Stock Show, two prize-winning steers are ushered in on a red carpet to the historic Brown Palace Hotel downtown. People line up to have their pictures taken with the animals so, if you want to participate and fit in, wear your cowboy hat. While you're waiting in line watch ladies in Stetsons enjoying lunch and enjoying live piano musician the stunning lobby. You can also chat with rodeo queens. Amazingly, the photos are free!
I love the varied sounds of a city. These wacky samples are from RTD buses. The first two are announcements from onboard. The automated announcer turns Wynkoop street into a hiccup and Stout sounds like a question being asked with a slight inflection.
Not to be outdone, you can now hear a science-fictiony sound loop emanating from the front of the electric buses on the 16th Street mall. Here's what it sounds like:
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 Ghost Building at 18th and Stout seems to live up to its name. It is a ghost of a building. Amazingly, it's facade-all 1,700 pieces of stone-was moved to this location in 1985. The original building (1891) is named after the real estate tycoon Allen M. Ghost. The architect was William Lang. If you look closely at the facade it show some mysterious faces. The building (in its current location) seems haunted or possibly cursed as a string of tenants have come and gone. None have lasted as long as the facade has.
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!