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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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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!
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!
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.
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.
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?
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 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.
About Wacky Denver
It is wacky!