The Westword 2014 Arts and Culture Bucket List: #25-16
Tom Noel Collection, Center for Colorado and the West, Auraria Library.
#25: Ride the Kit Carson County Carousel in Burlington.
Visitors to Colorado don't automatically get here and go east, but that's a shame, because those folks don't know what kind of small-town valhalla they're missing by avoiding the plains of Colorado. The antique wooden Kit Carson County Carousel originally operated at Elitch Gardens in the early nineteenth century before making the move to Burlington; lovingly restored and preserved, it now keeps the spirit of the county fair alive every summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
#24: Walk where the dinosaurs walked on Dinosaur Ridge.
The Dakota Hogback above Morrison, near Red Rocks Amphitheatre, has been criss-crossed with fossils and visible dinosaur tracks from prehistoric times. After humans settled here, some of them were removed or vandalized, but in the 21st century, they are now protected as a a National Natural Landmark. But you can still visit them up close, on hiking trails and bus tours, guided or unguided as you prefer. Bonus? See where the first Stegosaurus bones ever discovered were found. Every five-year-old kid in your path will befriend you for life.
#23: Cruise Federal Boulevard on Cinco de Mayo.
Denver's healthy Latino community knows how to have a good time on Cinco de Mayo. But while the official party goes down in Civic Center Park, la raza -- the denizens of the barrio -- take over Federal Boulevard, showing off their lowriders and waving the Mexican flag. It's where the real action is.
#22: Go four-wheeling in the San Juan Mountains.
Colorado is blessed with some of the most beautiful country in the world, and it's something to brag about. But for flatlanders and urban folk, the search for its wildest places and most spectacular vistas proves difficult unless they're willing to backpack in. Four-wheeling in the mighty San Juans offers another alternative, and professional tours will ensure that you don't fall over a cliff and die trying.
#21: Watch fireworks from Ruby Hill.
You can have your pricey seats at Coors Field or spend a ton to gawk from the vantage point of Elitch Gardens on July Fourth. But if you really want to know Denver, you'll head to Ruby Hill Park, with its panoramic view, to rub elbows with the hoi polloi for the best show in town.
#20: Get your cosplay on at Denver Comic Con.
In its first two years, Denver Comic Con has proven a big hit with the pop-culture crowd on a number of fronts. It's also one of the best places to let loose your inner superhero: Inside and out, Comic Con is the perfect arena for gawking at cosplay devotees -- or for being one yourself.
#19: See where Buffalo Bill is REALLY buried.
The dispute still surges between Golden's Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave and the scoundrels in Cody, Wyoming, over where Western showman William T. "Buffalo Bill" Cody is buried, but most history books agree that his bones really are buried on Lookout Mountain. Go and see for yourself -- and while you're there, check out the awesome museum.
#18: Visit Doc Holliday's grave (and then go soak your bones) in Glenwood Springs.
Another more infamous celebrity's bones lie here in Colorado -- those of dentist-turned-gunman Doc Holliday, who was a hard-boiled gambler and best buddies with lawman Wyatt Earp (whom he famously stood with at the OK Corral). By the time Holliday landed in Colorado, he was an alcoholic who soon died in Glenwood at the tender age of 36 and was buried in Linwood Cemetery. Seems the town's therapeutic hot springs were more hindrance than help for his tubercular lungs.
You haven't really experienced Colorado until you've reveled in Leadville during the annual Boom Days celebration, which is full of mountain-centric activities inspired by the high-altitude town's mining roots. But the highlight is the annual International Pack Burro Race, a grueling 21-mile race to the summit of Mosquito Pass and back again, with a grand finale on Harrison Avenue, where runners sometimes have to tug their recalcitrant burros over the finish line. It's exhilarating, funny, and the epitome of old-fashioned fun.
#16: Have a drink under the full moon on the roof at MCA Denver.
Drinks and rooftops were made for each other, and they're just that much better when the rooftop in question features a cafe, an elegantly multi-leveled angular garden and, underneath it all, galleries full of mind-bending art -- all right in the heart of the city. In a city with a casual vibe, MCA's rooftop offers a little bit of low-key glamour, and at night, under the moon, it can make you feel as if you're in the coolest spot on the planet.
Come back next Thursday for the next ten in our arts and culture bucket list.
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