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Best Of 2011

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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Place to Play Old-School Nintendo
Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys

Dreaming of those rumpus-room days, long past, in which you would spend hours navigating Link through Hyrule, your trusty Nintendo controller in hand and visions of 8-bit glory dancing in your head? Now you can relive those halcyon times at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, which features not just a stunning collection of dolls and dollhouses spanning centuries and continents, but also less exotic toys — like the original, beloved Nintendo Entertainment System, in full working order, plus a bevy of games. So pop on in and get ready for some nostalgic button-mashing — but, as any Nintendo disciple will tell you, don't forget to blow into the game cartridge first. For some reason, that seems to make all the difference.

1880 Gaylord St., Denver, 80206
MAP
303-322-1053
Best (Web) Site for Sore Eyes

Maybe it's the altitude. Maybe it's the outdoor life. Whatever it is, Colorado has some of the loveliest cheerleaders in the country, and they can all be found at Rocky Mountain Spirit, a blog billing itself as "home to the news of all the exciting professional cheer and dance teams in the state of Colorado." News? Yes. But also pics and video — lots of video! But, hey, don't be creepy. These ladies know their stuff when it comes to dancing, whether it's the squads from the Broncos, the Nuggets, the Outlaws or the Eagles, and you can bet your pompoms they've got all the right moves.

Best Av
Matt Duchene

Since the Colorado Avalanche, once the toast of the town, has made a precipitous slide from playoff contention to Western Conference bottom-feeders, we have to look for potential for the future, and Matt Duchene, the twenty-year-old former third overall pick, still represents that. The young forward made the All-Star team this year — and he also pulls off the entertaining "bang-bang" celebration with Paul Stastny when they do score goals.

1000 Chopper Circle, Denver, 80204
MAP
303-405-1100
Best Bicycle Challenge

Bored with your biking routine? The folks who run B-cycle have a challenge for you — and it will make you a rock star. The rules are simple: Visit all fifty stations in one day, taking half an hour or less between each one, and return to the station where you started. Does it sound tough, wimp? Well, at least 142 people have done it so far, and their names are all listed on B-cycle's website. It's not a race, it's a challenge, but make sure to e-mail info@denverbikesharing.org first to let them know you're coming. Otherwise you won't get your free T-shirt and poster, and your name won't be engraved on the Internet.

Best Bike Racks

If you've driven...no, scratch that. If you've walked or biked through Park Hill anytime in the past five years, you've probably come across them: small, colorful bike racks in the shapes of carrots, cherries, bananas, grapes, peppers and, yes, bicycles. Beginning in 2005, a coalition that included Kaiser Permanente's LiveWell Colorado program, the City of Denver and various Park Hill residents and organizations teamed up to form Park Hill Thriving Communities for the purpose of improving the eating and living habits of the 30,000 people in the area. One of their projects was the purchase and installation of the custom-made "Fruit Hoops." There are currently in excess of forty of them, including a few that will be installed at City of Axum Park this year. And although the grant money for PHTC will dry up this year, businesses and organizations can order racks on their own from the Bike Depot at 29th Avenue and Fairfax Street (another creation of PHTC). They cost $515 each, but 25 percent of the proceeds goes back to the Bike Depot, a non-profit community bike shop and service center. That's a lot of Fruit Hoop juice.

Best Bronco
Brandon Lloyd

Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd was the best player for the only part of the team that performed well in 2010: the passing game. His 77 receptions, 1,448 yards and eleven touchdowns earned him a spot in the Pro Bowl and rejuvenated his career. Here's hoping that B-Lloyd returns to form in 2011, so that Broncos fans have something to cheer for.

1701 Bryant St., Denver, 80204
MAP
303-433-7466
Best Coach — College

When Tim Miles arrived in Fort Collins three years ago to coach the men's basketball team, seven of the nine eligible players transferred or quit. The Rams went 0-16 in conference play in Miles's first season. With the help of senior forwards Travis Franklin and Andy Ogide, the Rams finished the regular season with a record of 19-11 and were in contention for an NCAA tournament bid for much of the season. And Miles helped bring the fans back: Moby Arena's average attendance of 4,960 represents a 50 percent increase over the 3,334 average of Miles's first three seasons. That's nothing but net.

Best Coach — Professional
George Karl

He beat cancer for the second time. He resisted the urge to blast Carmelo Anthony for demanding a trade and being a season-long distraction. He signed a new contract and he's kept the Nuggets in playoff position despite the Melodrama and integrated the new players into the team to the tune of a 5-1 start post-Melo. This season was ripe for implosion, but Karl deserves some credit for keeping that from happening.

1000 Chopper Circle, Denver, 80204
MAP
303-405-1100
Best Denver Broncos Fanboys

There's not a lot of equivocation when it comes to backup Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Most fans either love him or hate him. But no one — and we mean no one — loves the former Florida Gator more than the Tebros, a pair of Southern-fried fanboys who worship the ground that Tebow walks on and hosted a weekly Internet show (available on Facebook and YouTube) last year on everything Tim. Of course, the 'bros, Preston and Randall, are actually actors based in Florida. And although they suffer when Tebow doesn't take the field, they also elicit a lot of laughs.

Best Denver Zoo Animal Babies
Amur tiger cubs

Picking the cutest animal babies is kind of like choosing the prettiest children; there's something vaguely Toddlers & Tiaras about the whole thing, and it makes us worry that we're damaging the self-esteem of all the other, uglier baby animals. That said, the four Amur tiger cubs born at the zoo last June are by far the most adorable, fluffy, blue-eyed mammals this town has seen in quite some time. Way cuter than the four Komodo dragons hatched in October, who we're sure will grow up to have great personalities.

2300 Steele St., Denver, 80205
MAP
303-376-4800
Best Directions From Denver to Durango

For those interested in trekking the nearly 500 miles of the Colorado Trail, the Colorado Trail: The Official Guidebook will significantly decrease your chances of getting lost and having to fight bears for food. The trail itself crosses eight mountain ranges, seven national forests, six wilderness areas and five river systems, and the book helps trekkers navigate each part. This year, the Colorado Mountain Club will publish the eighth edition of the book — and the first full revision in five years. Broken into 28 sections, it will include general information, trailhead access directions, suggestions for supplies and accommodations, maps and GPS coordinates. Happy trails.

Best Dog Park
West Arvada Dog Park

What's the point of living in Colorado if you don't take advantage of wide-open spaces and mountain views every once in a while? This fenced five-acre park has separate real estate for shy and small dogs, and there are benches for two-legged visitors to recline while the dogs romp. You'll need to bring your own water and poop baggies — but the community feel of this park is a definite asset. As a special-use park on City of Arvada land, the West Arvada Dog Park is operated by volunteers, and upgrades are funded by donation, so slip a buck or two into the donation box and help a pup out.

17975 W. 64th Parkway, Arvada, 80004
MAP
720-898-7000
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Best Place to Play Old-School Nintendo: Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys

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