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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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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:
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!
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.
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!
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