During my year and a half in Denver, I haven’t spent much of my spare time checking out the cultural scene as I always head to the mountains. With Suellen in town, we visited museums and attended festivals all within a few miles of my house…some in walking distance!
We started at the Cherry Creek Art Festival that is held annually. It is an outdoor festival, with tents set up over multiple blocks displaying art and jewelry. In addition, bands play and several local restaurants serve their best fare at food tents. We didn’t manage to get any pictures of the art, but we did get a picture of a T-shirt a patron was wearing.
After visiting the art show, we stopped in at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. The air and space museum, an airplane hangar, is located at the old Lowry Air Force Base that is now converted into condos, restaurants, green space and the like. The museum is across from the gym I go to and has a giant RB-52B airplane in front of it. This plane is the most photographed plane in the state! The RB designation means, the plane that is 48 feet high and 156 feet long, was used for reconnaissance. It has a wingspan of 185 feet, carries six crew, and can reach a max speed of 630mph. It can travel 3,600 miles at combat weight of 272,000 lbs and reach 47,000 feet. It’s maximum take off weight is 420,000 lbs and empty it weighs 185,000 lbs. The plane is definitely eye catching! It is right next to the gym I go to, and it always catches my attention enough to make me think I need to visit that museum at some point…the time finally came with Suellen! Personally, I think the plane outside the museum may have been the best part, and we could have saved our $11 entry fee.
The map provided to us, with the location of the of each plane in the hanger, was incorrect. In addition, certain machines along the side of hangar weren’t labeled, so we didn’t know what they were…neither did the volunteers! Inside the hangar, the Star Wars X Wing Fighter was pretty fun to see, since we grew up in the Star Wars age.
According to the information placards, the most famous plane in the museum’s collection is the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, a single-engine, high-performance, supersonic interceptor that served in the USAF from 1958-1969.
From the museum, we walked next door to the Lowry Beer Garden and enjoyed a burger and beer before we headed to Jazz in the Park. Jazz in the Park is a free music series on Sunday night from 6-8 during the summer, in City Park, Denver’s largest park. I live nine blocks away from the park, so I’ve been this event multiple times.
Our tour in and around Denver continued the following day at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. We went in the morning, but it was still very warm, so there wasn’t too much wildlife to see…one deer, some buffalo, lots of prairie dogs, and some pelicans is about all I can name. There were a few flowers in bloom as well, but it was mostly prairie grasses.
After a morning driving and walking around the refuge, we visited 16th Street Mall downtown and stopped in at the pavilion to see an exhibit comparing Michelangelo and da Vinci. I had no idea they were such inventors. I thought of them as sculptors and artists. Da Vinci invented the universal screw mechanism as an effective and safer way to lift heavy objects. This was one of many inventions.
The following day, we visited the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. It is located in City Park, and it is absolutely fantastic. We spent at least five hours there and didn’t even finish seeing all the exhibits, much less attend an IMAX movie or the planetarium. I loved the space exhibit. There were so many interactive parts to it. I used a computer to create a star and watched it grow the size of the sun and explode. The gem exhibit was also impressive, though I am a rock hound. I actually became a member at the window before we even went in and it was a very good investment…I will be going back!
Anyway, Denver offers quite a bit of culture, and I feel like Suellen and I made a small dent in it during the few days she was here!