This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

 Thursday, June 26

There's nothing in the world quite like shmoozing and boozing lakeside at sunset. It's a stolen pleasure offered annually at Sunset in the Park, a unique outdoor fundraiser for the ALS Association. The benefit, which features a cocktail buffet and auction, is especially poignant in 2003, which would have marked the 100th birthday of late baseballer and ALS patient Lou Gehrig. True to its name, the event goes from 6 to 9 p.m. in the City Park Pavilion on Ferril Lake, near 17th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard; tickets are $62/$100 per couple. For reservations, call 303-549-1601 or log on to www.alsaco.org.

Friday, June 27

Smooth operator: Richard Bernstein whispers sweet 
nothings in the ear of Viktoria Vizin in L'Italiana in 
Algeri, opening Saturday at the Central City Opera.
Smooth operator: Richard Bernstein whispers sweet nothings in the ear of Viktoria Vizin in L'Italiana in Algeri, opening Saturday at the Central City Opera.

If it involves water, you're more than likely to find it at Water World, the Federal Heights water park that's a summer favorite with the bored-out-of-its-gourd twelve-and-under set. The countless liquid attractions include the surf-replicating Wave, the setting for today's Wonka Wave Surf Challenge, a competition that invites kids ages eight to fourteen to climb aboard a board and act silly for cool prizes. The contest, which is free with Water World admission, takes place from 1 to 2 p.m., but the accompanying WONKAmobile interactive candy factory will be giving free handouts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Water World is at 88th Avenue and Pecos Street; for more information, call 303-427-SURF or log on to www.waterworldcolorado.com.

Saturday, June 28

A rare chance to view some gardens of the rich and (maybe) famous, the nationwide Garden Conservancy Open Days Program is an annual treat for floral voyeurs. Complete with flowing waterfalls, vegetable patches, a greenhouse and a sculpture garden, three private gardens in the Denver area - two in Cherry Hills Village and one in Englewood -- will be open for public viewing today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 per garden and may be paid at each gate. For locations, visit www.gardenconservancy.org or call 1-888-842-2442.

The pickings could include anything from a used student guitar to a new hardback book or a long-lost, vintage LP; regardless, it's always fun to peruse the offerings at the Swallow Hill Rummage Sale. Get in tune at the yearly fundraiser, a benefit for the local acoustic-music organization's fine music school, which serves an all-ages, all-levels clientele. This year, there will be something new to enjoy among the old stuff: free live music while you browse. Rummage and rock from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today in Swallow Hill's Daniels Hall, 71 East Yale Avenue; for details, call 303-777-1003 or log on to www.swallowhill.com. Donations of items for the sale will be accepted through Friday, June 27.

At the Central City Opera, hitting the high notes is a whole different art. Thin air aside, Central City provides a lovely summer backdrop for a little aural culture, as does the Central City Opera House, a mountain-town gem where even the echoes seem to exude the sense of gold-era history. The 2003 season kicks off with tonight's premiere performance of Rossini's comic opera L'Italiana in Algeri; other shows featured this season are a double bill of Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci and Granados's Goyescas, as well as Mollicone's Gabriel's Daughter. Performances will be held today through August 10. Tickets, which range in price from $43 to $67 for individual shows or $105 to $189 for series packages, are available at 303-292-6700 or www.centralcityopera.org. The Opera House is located at 120 Eureka Street in Central City.

Sunday, June 29

Take to the skies today at the Experimental Aircraft Association Regional Fly-In and Airshow. The jamboree will feature a traditional fly-in pancake breakfast, workshops and seminars, aircraft displays and heart-stopping aerial entertainment by the Trojan Phylers, Falcon Flight, Lon Arnold and others. The show takes place today and tomorrow at the Vance Brand Airport in Longmont; gates open at 7 a.m., breakfast will be served until 10:30 a.m., and the air show starts at 12:30 p.m. Admission is $7 for EAA members, $10 for the general public, and free for kids ages nine and under. For details, call 303-670-2120 or log on to www.rmfi.org.

Monday, June 30

Everyone knows that balls fly farther in Denver's mile-high air, but do they fly faster? They will this week, when the ladies of the National Pro Fastpitch All-Star Tour roar into town. Founded in 1997, National Pro Fastpitch is the only professional women's fastpitch softball outfit in the country, with official league play scheduled to begin next summer. Currently on a seventeen-city national tour to help build interest, the iron-armed lasses will appear on the mound to throw out the first pitch of tonight's 7:05 p.m. Colorado Rockies game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Coors Field, 20th and Blake streets. Tomorrow they'll head to the Triple Crown Center, 3930 Automation Way in Fort Collins, for an exhibition game starting at 6:15 p.m. For details, go to www.fastpitch.com.

Tuesday, July 1

If the kids are bouncing off the walls and driving you bonkers, pack 'em up for an outing to the Children's Museum of Denver, whose summer schedule is sure to keep even the tiniest terror of a tot entertained. If you have a mini-inventor or budding playwright on your hands, check out the Design Your Dreams traveling exhibit, which opens today and runs through September 7. The display features activities that encourage children to identify and express their dreams and aspirations. And from now through July 15, you can swing by one of the museum's special patriotic-themed shows in honor of our nation's birthday, including Toddler Time: Sparkling Fireworks, Clubhouse Capers: Fireworks Fun!, Flag Fans and more. The Children's Museum is at 2121 Children's Museum Drive, I-25 and 23rd Avenue. Admission is $6 -- a more than reasonable amount to preserve your sanity; those under the age of one can tag along for free. For a complete schedule of daily events, call 303-433-7444 or visit www.mychildrensmusem.org.

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