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Sports & Recreation

  • Best Sports Quote

    The Simpsons 300th Episode

    Homer Simpson's buffoonery, Bart's pre-pubescent anarchism and the precocious wisdom of his little sister Lisa have all ripened into beloved cultural institutions, but Matt Groening's wisecracking burlesque of American family life has its way with the world beyond Springfield, too. In the much-heralded 300th episode, broadcast in February, Fox viewers beheld a cartoon version of Frankenstein's monster, lunk-headed and zipper-necked,… More >>
  • Best Male Athlete You've Never Heard Of

    Dennis Hastings

    It may not be everybody's idea of a sporting good time, but someone's got to be best in the world, and Evergreen's Dennis Hastings is going nowhere faster than anyone else his age. Last year, he successfully defended his title as the world's best indoor stationary rower, lightweight division, in the 50- to 59-year-old age group. In November, he was… More >>
  • Best Female Athlete You've Never Heard Of

    Emily Copeland

    We're a poorer state for it, but alas, Colorado isn't usually associated with the bikini sports. That's changing, thanks to the improbable emergence of Highlands Ranch native Emily Copeland, who, despite her landlocked upbringing, has become the country's best female wakeboarder. All of eighteen years old, Copeland has been competing nationally since she was fifteen. She started dominating the circuit… More >>
  • Best Mascot

    Woolly
    Colorado Mammoth

    It's been a tough year for the furry crowd: Howler got bounced by the Avs; Rocky -- (or at least the human force inside him) -- ran into legal trouble; Dinger seems like the slow little brother of Barney; and the Broncos' Miles appears to be spooked by the four-hooved equine that prances along the sidelines. But one of the hairiest… More >>
  • Best Bronco

    Clinton Portis

    Since the retirement of John Elway and the untimely demise of Terrell Davis, the Denver Broncos have been an offensive shambles, barely getting a sniff at the playoffs. Enter Clinton Portis, a super-quick rookie running back from the University of Miami who, after an early-season bout of fumbleitis, collected 1,508 yards (fourth best in the NFL), fifteen touchdowns and a lock… More >>
  • Best Rockie

    Todd Helton

    The brain trust at Coors Field changes players faster than pit crews swap tires at a NASCAR race. Their frenzy leaves only first baseman Todd Helton as the rock upon which Rockies hope is built. There couldn't be a better one: Helton's a three-time All-Star who won the National League batting crown in 2000 (with a .372 average), and he's… More >>
  • Best Av

    Peter Forsberg

    With or without a spleen, Örnsköldsvik, Sweden's gift to the Colorado Avalanche has been the team's most vital organ this year -- especially when captain Joe Sakic was shelved by injury. En route to another playoff appearance, eight-year veteran Peter Forsberg leads the team in points and assists and was named NHL player of the month for February. More important,… More >>
  • Best Rapid

    Pablo Mastroeni

    Starting his second year with the Colorado Rapids, stop-minded midfielder Pablo Mastroeni is a true star -- not least because of his impressive play for the U.S. National Team that shocked soccer powers like Portugal and Mexico at last summer's World Cup before their heartbreaking loss to Germany. Born in Argentina, Mastroeni moved to Phoenix when he was four. He… More >>
  • Best Nugget

    Juwan Howard

    We gotta pick somebody, don't we? The only sign of useful maturity in the chaotic kindergarten that is the Denver Nuggets locker room comes from long-suffering veteran Juwan Howard, late of the league-best Dallas Mavericks. At 6-9 and 260 pounds, the big forward has the beef to muscle up on opponents, and his personal numbers during this winter of discontent… More >>
  • Best Mammoth

    Gary Gait

    No contest. A battle-hardened veteran of six teams in two professional lacrosse leagues, forward Gary Gait is the Michael Jordan of the Indians' grand old game -- the all-time record-holder for regular-season goals, assists, points and shots. Even at age 35, his skills have not eroded. As captain of the expansion Colorado Mammoth, the 6-2, 220-pounder this year leads the… More >>
  • Best Crush

    Damian Harrell

    Things haven't been easy for the rookie CEO of the Colorado Crush, Denver's new entry in the Arena Football League. Despite sellouts at the Pepsi Center, John Elway's team has won just once in its first seven games. But the ex-Broncos legend has one thing going for him: the most prolific scorer in the world's highest-scoring league. In seven games,… More >>
  • Best Coach -- Professional

    Tony Granato
    Colorado Avalanche

    An awful start to the 2002-03 season cost Bob Hartley his job after almost five years behind the Avalanche bench, and young Tony Granato emerged in late December as both irritant and inspiration for a veteran club that had grown listless and stale. Granato shifted Peter Forsberg from left wing to center (with brilliant results), helped transform big Scott Parker from… More >>
  • Best Coach -- College

    Fisher DeBerry
    Air Force Falcons

    After surprising the doomsayers and starting the 2002 football season at a perfect 6-0, the Feisty Falcons lost a huge game at home to powerful Notre Dame. From there, the rest of the season went a bit south: Air Force finished 8-5, including a 20-13 loss to Virginia Tech in the San Francisco Bowl. But no one questioned the skills… More >>
  • Best Sports Team -- Professional

    Colorado Avalanche

    The two-time Stanley Cup champions have another shot at glory this year, thanks to a late-season surge in the Western Conference standings fueled by the play of Peter Forsberg and the return of team captain Joe Sakic. The great goalie Patrick Roy can see his sunset now, and a few of the defensemen are getting long in the tooth, but… More >>
  • Best Sports Team -- College

    Metro State Roadrunners Basketball

    Under fiery coach Mike Dunlap, Metro State's unsung, largely unseen basketball team has become the duke of NCAA Division II hoops. Led by players from Australia (where Dunlap once coached a pro team), Belgium and Colorado, the Roadrunners have won two of the last three national championships. Despite losing five seniors to graduation last spring, this year's 28-5 club won… More >>
  • Best University of Denver Hockey Player

    Kevin Doell

    The DU Pioneers did not have the greatest year in their storied hockey history; their bitter rival, Colorado College, overshadowed them all season, and they failed to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament. But senior forward Kevin Doell lit it up. The 5-11, 187-pound scoring machine led the Pi's in both goals and assists, and he scored two of… More >>
  • Best University of Colorado Athlete

    Jorge Torres

    Last November 25, the University of Colorado's Jorge Torres became just the third American since 1987 to win the NCAA Cross Country Championship, edging away from Arkansas's Alistair Cragg in the final strides at Terre Haute, Indiana, and finishing in course-record time. The diminutive 5-7 distance runner from Wheeling, Illinois, went undefeated in his senior year and outdistanced a dozen… More >>
  • Best Colorado State Athlete

    Ashley Augspurger

    Colorado State Rams senior forward Ashley Augspurger is a first-team All-Mountain West star who this year averaged 13.4 points per game, along with 4.8 rebounds and three assists. At 6-1, she's big enough to have subbed at center for first-year coach Chris Denker, yet quick enough to have played point guard. Recently, the Wheat Ridge High School grad became just… More >>
  • Best Olympic Hopeful

    Dremiel Byers

    The great David-and-Goliath story of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney was the shocking defeat of the world's greatest heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestler, a Russian who hadn't lost a match in thirteen years, by an engaging Wyoming farm boy named Rulon Gardner. The big news this year is that Gardner has been replaced as the USA's number-one heavyweight by Dremiel Byers,… More >>
  • Best New Sports Event

    Shell Grand Prix of Denver

    There were problems. The new 1.6-mile road course around the Pepsi Center was by turns too rough and too slick. The pedestrian bridges were overcrowded. A stand of young trees along Auraria Parkway blocked the view of high-rollers holding $800 tickets. But the return of Indy car racing to the streets of the Mile High City -- the first Shell… More >>
  • Best Colorado Contribution to the Super Bowl

    Malcolm Farley

    Denver sports artist Malcolm Farley was hired by Pepsi to paint original art to grace the outside of 800 million soft-drink cans. The "Official 2003 Super Bowl Party Cans" sported Farley's signature along with a painting featuring a Super Bowl championship team, player or coach. Proceeds from auctions of the originals went to NFL charities and Farley's own pick, the… More >>
  • Best Goofy Sports Gizmos

    The Rockies' Humidor and Hyperbaric Chamber

    The entire history of Denver's hapless and benighted major-league baseball franchise has been a losing battle against the physics of altitude -- specifically, the thin air that torments pitchers trying to throw curveballs at Coors Field, and that allegedly puts Rockies batters off their stride when they play on the road. Last year, the Rox installed a humidor meant to… More >>
  • Best Time Travel

    Colorado Historical Society Tours & Treks Programs

    Who knew? History can be fun. And the Colorado Historical Society's experts, who know the state like the backs of their own hands, have a great handle on how to impart that knowledge without being the least bit stodgy. Focusing on locations and themes ranging from the bowels of Denver's rapidly disappearing skid row to the throwback tourist havens of… More >>
  • Best Look Back

    Ancient Denvers
    Denver Museum of Nature & Science

    If you've ever sat on a hillside and wondered what the land you survey looked like one hundred years ago, imagine what visions came to DMNS paleontologist Kirk Johnson and a trio of seasoned paleoartists when they looked over the local landscape. Actually, you don't have to: Johnson and company took the initiative last year and created Ancient Denvers, an… More >>
  • Best New Look

    Leprino Family Atrium
    Denver Museum of Nature & Science

    After months of construction, the DMNS finally opened its beautifully restructured three-story west atrium, featuring the museum's famous vantage-point view of City Park, downtown Denver and the mountain skyline beyond, stretching south to Pikes Peak and north to Longs Peak. Old-time Denverites grew up with it, but they'll only appreciate it more now that it's packaged in its sleek, new… More >>
  • Best Place to Smell the Roses

    Sensory Garden
    Denver Botanic Gardens

    There are several reasons that Denver's fine botanic paradise in the city was just named one of the top ten such public gardens in the nation by Country Living Gardener magazine, but here's one of the most touching: This garden takes advantage of all the senses, providing touchable, smellable, tasty, colorful and aural outdoor experiences all rolled into one. The… More >>
  • Best Garden Tour

    American Society of Landscape Architects Tour

    For the past ten years, the Colorado Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects has hosted an annual tour showcasing some of Denver's finest private residential gardens. This year's tour, scheduled for Sunday, June 22, will focus on water-wise gardens and minimal sod use. The tour is self-guided, but volunteers are available at each site to answer questions. Proceeds… More >>
  • Best Way to Learn About the State You Just Moved To

    Tesoro Foundation
    Historic Lecture Series

    Sam Arnold, owner of the Fort restaurant, is a controversial character in some quarters, but the dinner/lecture series started last year by the Tesoro Foundation, which he chairs, is more likely to inform than enrage. Upcoming lecturers include Dr. Patricia Limerick, who compares the nineteenth-century West to its modern equivalent during a talk on April 13, and Dr. Robert Shikes,… More >>
  • Best Place to Not Get Lost

    U.S. Geological Survey Map Store
    Denver Federal Center

    Maps, maps, and more maps. Wall maps, topo maps, maps of the solar system, art posters of the planet, and plenty of books and CDs and software, too, about lots of natural-resources topics, all with great-looking maps, natch. And here's a bonus: free gift wrap -- if you don't mind covering gifts in huge, outdated maps.… More >>
  • Best Wilderness Survival Courses

    Boulder Outdoor Survival School

    Say you lack fancy gear but have an urgent need to test your survival skills in an inhospitable landscape. Before embarking on any life-threatening adventures, check out the Boulder Outdoor Survival School. Established in the late 1960s, BOSS offers different levels of training designed to make your wilderness experience safe and enjoyable. Field courses take place in Colorado and Utah,… More >>
  • Best 4x4 Trail Closest to Denver

    Red Cone Trail

    For a truly white-knuckle ride, off-roaders should take U.S. Highway 285 south and west of Denver, then leave the asphalt behind two miles outside of Grant. Make your way to the Hardcart Gulch Campground; go about 100 yards west and bear right at the fork. From there, Red Cone climbs up over the Continental Divide and ends up just outside… More >>
  • Best 4x4 Park

    Avalanche Park

    Monster-truck rally meets Disneyland at Avalanche Park, the brainchild of experienced rock crawler Steve Rumore, who was concerned that permits to drive on public land were getting harder and harder to come by. So when his real-estate-broker wife saw this 830-acre ranch come up for sale, they pulled out the checkbook. Opened last year, the ranch is modeled after a… More >>
  • Best Place to Kick It on Your Board

    Spaulding Bowl
    Copper Mountain

    Union and Copper bowls provide reason enough to ride at Copper Mountain, but when the wind whips up and blows snow off the top of Copper Peak, head straight to Spaulding Bowl. In a strong wind, the steep terrain there magically transforms into the waves off Oahu: It's surfing time in the mountains, and there's nothing quite like floating through… More >>
  • Best Mountain Makeover for Boarders

    Crazy T'rain
    Buttermilk Mountain

    Shredders, rejoice: Aspen's Buttermilk Mountain, home of the 2003 Winter X Games, wants you to come ride the Crazy T'rain, billed as "the world's longest terrain park." This stellar park includes two miles of rolling hills, more than thirty rails, a superpipe with its own sound system, and an X Games slopestyle course, among other adrenaline boosters. Now's the time… More >>
  • Best Mountain Makeover for Extreme Skiers

    The Whole Bowl
    Aspen Highlands

    An in-bounds backcountry experience awaits at The Whole Bowl, a new area at Aspen Highlands. Seventy new acres of north-facing, gladed and steep mountainside -- we're talking up to 45-degrees-looking-straight-down-1,400-vertical-feet scary steep -- opened this year to anyone willing to hike an additional 45 minutes from the top of the Loge Lift. The perfect place to practice for a ski… More >>
  • Best Out-of-Bounds Skiing

    The Beavers
    Arapahoe Basin

    If you have sufficient lung capacity -- and huevos -- look no further than A-Basin for backcountry thrills. Just below 13,000 feet and just outside the ski area's boundaries lies The Beavers, a hellishly steep bowl that holds more face shots than any other place we know. The area is accessible from the top of the Lenawee lift and the… More >>
  • Best Out-of-Bounds Skiing That's Actually In-Bounds

    Silverton Mountain

    Apart from a death wish, why do you rockheads ski out of bounds, anyway? Yeah, we know: for untracked powder, empty slopes and vertical drops that would strike terror into the heart of a skydiver. But why risk getting buried under a pile of champagne powder? Instead, make the drive to Silverton Mountain. Every run here must be guided, so… More >>
  • Best Safety With Style

    Helmet Headz

    Boulder mother Mary Emerson came up with the idea of Helmet Headz after witnessing an argument between parent and child over whether the peewee should wear a helmet in ski school. To make the experience a more stylin' one, Emerson invented covers that express a wearer's inner personality: Among her seventeen designs are the spiked-hair, jester and unicorn models. Prices… More >>
  • Best Local Invention, Lifesaving Division

    AvaLung

    About ten years ago, Denver psychiatrist Thomas Crowley began wondering what it would be like to be buried under an avalanche. He decided it wouldn't be very pleasant, so he started tinkering with ways to survive one. After contemplating and then discarding several plans -- wearing a SCUBA tank while schussing seemed cumbersome -- he hit on the solution one… More >>
  • Best Religious Experience

    Shabbat Service on Skis/Boards

    The problem with the Colorado lifestyle is that it's hard to cram everything into the weekend. It's Saturday: If you're Jewish, do you trudge off to synagogue or hit the slopes to ride the freshies? Blessedly, Rabbi Jamie Korngold -- aka the Adventure Rabbi -- has found a way to blend both. Her Shabbat Service on Skis/Boards is held the… More >>
  • Best Religious Pilgrimage

    Shrine of the Stations of the Cross

    Colorado's oldest town lies just about twenty miles from the New Mexico border and cherishes its deep Hispanic roots. Local sculptor Huberto Maestas created fifteen bronze statues -- the fourteen traditional depictions of Christ's final journey up Calvary, plus his own interpretation of the Resurrection -- for tiny San Luis's Hill of Piety and Mercy. You can follow in Jesus's… More >>
  • Best Secular Pilgrimage

    Rocky Mountain Audio Guides

    There's a whole lot of history between Cherry Creek and Coors Field. If you'd like to impress your out-of-town guests with how much of it you know, pick up a copy of the CD Walking Tour of Denver's Historic Lower Downtown (LoDo), a self-guided tour of the neighborhood where our fair city began. For just $15.95 at the Tattered Cover,… More >>
  • Best Place to Sweat Out Last Night's Binge

    Bikram Yoga Denver

    Instead of the hair of the dog or a big, greasy breakfast to cure your hangover, try sweating it out at an early-morning class at Bikram Yoga Denver. Just walking into the 100-degree-plus yoga studio is enough to make beads of perspiration pop up on your brow. And as you attempt to bend and contort into 26 different postures, holding… More >>
  • Best Alternative to Corporate Yoga

    Samadhi Center for Yoga

    The yoga fad is at its peak, and it seems every neighborhood in Denver now has a studio that promises to turn you into a flexible new-age Gumby. But what gets lost in all the hype is yoga's roots in India, where it was developed by Hindu religious instructors -- yogis -- as a way to calm the mind and… More >>
  • Best Yoga Retreat

    Shambhala Mountain Center
    Red Feather Lakes,

    For a weekend of Ashtanga, Iyengar, Hatha or any other flavor of yoga or meditation, head for the hills about 45 minutes northwest of Fort Collins. The 600 acres of Shambhala Mountain Center have provided a setting for contemplative Buddhist retreat since 1971; after three years of expansion and development, the good folks there are reaching out to non-sectarians in… More >>
  • Best Doga Retreat

    Bichon Getaway and Rescue Ranch

    This is the place for little dogs to have a big time. Most of the clients of this licensed boarding facility in Elbert County are bichons frises, shih tzus and Pomeranians. But if you're little and cute and pass the intake interview with owner Pam Knight, you can join up to fourteen of your small fuzzy buddies for an overnight… More >>
  • Best Airborne Animals

    Colorado Disc Dogs

    Up in the air! It's a bird! It's a plane! Nope, it's Red Rocket Rider! A high-flying Australian shepherd with a penchant for catching stuff in his mouth mid-air, Rider, a consecutive five-time Colorado state champion owned by Evergreen lawyer Christi Goodman, is one of the top disc dogs in the state -- and possibly the nation. But listen up,… More >>
  • Best Dancing Dogs

    World Canine Freestyle Organization

    You've done the tummy rub and played fetch at the park. How's about a little doggy dancing? Mile High Musical Tails, the Colorado chapter of the WCFO, offers you and your pet the chance to put on the dog in style. Classes are available through the Blue Springs & KatyDid Dog Training Center in Sheridan, and lessons are open to… More >>
  • Best Dog's Best Friends

    Denver FIDOS (Friends Interested in Dogs and Open Space)

    Here's something to howl about: An offshoot of the Boulder group, these doggie devotees are dedicated to the promotion of responsible off-leash recreation in Denver. And they're not just hollering for more dog parks: They also have an eye on the future, exploring ways to keep such spaces clean, safe and usable for all. This is one group that's not… More >>
  • Best Place to Dog-Watch on a Saturday Morning

    Fillmore St. between 2nd and 3rd avenues

    The outdoor patios along Fillmore Street are the place for Cherry Creek yuppies to see and be seen...with their dogs. The block between 2nd and 3rd avenues is a veritable dog show on Saturday mornings, when pooches of every pedigree accompany their human companions as they sip Starbucks lattes and satisfy their cream-cheese fix at Einstein Bros. Bejeweled ladies on… More >>
  • Best Place for an Off-Leash Puppy Party

    Chatfield Reservoir

    With endless acres, three lakes and seemingly endless walking and jogging paths, your hund will think he's died and gone to puppy heaven. There are countless things to sniff, endless muck to roll in, toys to steal, trees to pee on. And every pup, from dachshund to Dane, will love running free, with nary a chance of getting a ticket.… More >>
  • Best Dog Toy

    Kong

    The year was 1976, and Joe Markham was working on his VW Bus. His German shepherd, Fritz, was chewing on rocks. The two had no idea that they were about to irrevocably alter the dog chew-toy world. But the moment Markham threw a chunk of the transmission to distract his dog from grinding his teeth to nubs, Fritz gave up… More >>
  • Best Boomerangs

    Colorado Boomerangs

    The 14,000-year history of the boomerang begins Down Under and continues today in Aurora with these space-age, Day-Glo toys. Handcrafted from airplane-grade birch plywood from Finland, they're the Ferraris of the boomerang industry, with style and performance that keep coming back. Boomerang fanatic/bank examiner Richard Pollock-Nelson collected 'rangs and competed in U.S. Boomerang Association-sanctioned events prior to buying Colorado Boomerangs… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Air Hockey

    Margarita Mama's Mexican Grill & Cantina

    The superbly outfitted arcade inside Margarita Mama's is so massive - and the place so dead on most weeknights -- that we never have to wait in line to play Hot Flash and Fast Track, the venue's two air hockey tables. Hot Flash is a fun little black-light model, with the usual purple lamps, glow-in-the-dark orange plastic puck and plastic… More >>
  • Best Air Hockey Pickup Game

    Broomfield Bowl & Lovin' Oven Restaurant

    Numbers are few, and it ain't the triathlon, but air hockey is a real sport. If you don't believe it, head to Broomfield Bowl on select Thursday nights and watch the area's best players (some of whom are also among the country's best) slam it out on the sole tournament-sized air hockey table that sits just off to one side… More >>
  • Best Pool Hall

    Shakespeare's

    You got your brewpubs and mega-arcades with a few tables on the side, your harshly lit hustlers' dens full of smoke and reverse English, your suburban bar tables reeking of cheap beer and patchouli. For our money, though, the best and least pretentious pool-hall ambience in town still resides at this friendly, busy institution, where serious billiards stickmen brush up… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Pool Outdoors

    Emerald Isle

    When Irish guys are smiling, it's probably because the weather is good enough for a pool party. No, not the kind where you get wet -- although true competitors can work up quite a sweat covering all the angles in a tough game of pool. Come spring, Emerald Isle sets up pool tables on its covered deck, where a real… More >>
  • Best Budget Water Park

    Splash Family Water Park

    It's a sweltering summer day, and you and the kids want to get cool but don't necessarily want to take out a loan to do it. Drive west to the year-old Splash water park, thoughtfully provided by the citizens of Golden. It may not have the latest 1.5 million-gallon tsunami scrambler, but with an eight-lane lap pool, a 300-gallon bucket… More >>
  • Best Children's Character-Building Program

    Middle School Dodgeball League
    South Suburban Parks and Recreation District

    Parents, do you feel your child is getting soft and lacks the killer instinct necessary to survive today's competitive world? Well, forget Montessori and the Ivy League. South Suburban has been hosting this middle-school dodgeball league for more than a year. Games are typically held on Friday evenings (when most kids that age are gearing up for an evening of… More >>
  • Best Triathlon Series

    Rattlesnake Triathlons
    June 14, July 13, August 16
    Aurora Reservoir

    USA Triathlon coordinator Jim Flint says he's seen "the good, the bad and the ugly." This year, he decided to produce his own series of tris, and it's all good. From the time-trial start -- swimmers enter the reservoir every few seconds instead of in one teeming mass -- to the rolling bike course devoid of car traffic, to the… More >>
  • Best Mountain Bike Trail

    Bear Creek Trail

    Constructed and opened last year, this little-known gem runs from Pence Park, between Indian Hills and Evergreen, to Lair o' the Bear Park, outside of Idledale. Along the way, it cuts through two other Denver mountain parks, Corwina and O'Fallon. Unlike many of the trails along the Denver-area Front Range, Bear Creek is not just a jumble of rocks. It… More >>
  • Best Place to Run and Gawk

    Highline Canal

    Face it: Every so often, running among the alpine splendor, majestic elk and views of the Continental Divide gets, well, boring. At times like those, it's nice to have something civilized to look at. This three-mile stretch of the Highline Canal provides a rare kind of scenery for the jogging voyeur: close-up vistas of the rich and famous. Check out… More >>
  • Best Missing Link

    Sand Creek Regional Greenway

    When this thirteen-mile stretch of urban trail opened to the public last summer -- amid cheers from outdoor enthusiasts -- it marked the completion of a fifty-mile loop in the northeast metro area by connecting the Highline Canal in Aurora to the Platte River Greenway in Commerce City. Now you can take the grand tour: Open to anyone or anything… More >>
  • Best Spot on the Cherry Creek Bike Path

    Confluence Park

    Heading northwest on the Cherry Creek Bike Path out of the Denver Country Club area, you'll dodge bums, baby strollers and bicyclists, then tackle the impressive rise leading to Confluence Park. Take a moment to catch your breath and enjoy the view -- which often includes several neophyte kayakers rolling over onto their heads in the South Platte, as well… More >>
  • Best View From a Park

    Inspiration Point Park

    From Inspiration Point, at 50th Ave. and Sheridan Blvd. in northwest Denver -- which also happens to be one of the town's best makeout locations, if you still go for that sort of thing -- you can take in the entire Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, without many of those nasty man-made obstacles to mar the view. The sight… More >>
  • Best Endangered View From a Park

    Cramner Park

    You don't need to look at the sundial that's the centerpiece of Cramner Park to know that time's almost up for this great view. Looking west, you see some of Denver's most elegant homes -- but beyond those homes is a hodgepodge of new construction that threatens to block much of the mountain backdrop.… More >>
  • Best Bathrooms in a Park

    Commons Park

    When you gotta go, you gotta go -- and there's no better place in Denver to let loose than the bathrooms at Commons Park. But then, they should look good: Like the park itself, these privies cost plenty. Made of stone, they fit nicely into the Commons' urban setting, with the Platte River in the backdrop and pricey loft project… More >>
  • Best Tribute to Hair Care

    C.J. Walker Park

    Many public parks are named after people whom time has forgotten, but the namesake of C.J. Walker Park, at East 30th Avenue and High Street, is certainly worth remembering. As related in On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker, a book penned by A'Lelia Bundles, Walker's great-great granddaughter, Madam Walker was born into humble circumstances… More >>
  • Best Avian Hotline

    Colorado Rare Bird Alert Hotline

    So you're tooling along through a field, and suddenly you realize there's a pair of Eurasian wigeons right there in front of you. Who ya gonna call? The Rare Bird Alert Hotline, of course. The alert system, sponsored by the Denver Field Ornithologists and Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, has been taking calls from rare-bird spotters since the mid-1980s. Spring migration… More >>
  • Best Exploration of the Natural World

    Nature Conservancy Naturalist Workshops
    Medano-Zapata Ranch

    When the sandhill cranes come back to the San Luis Valley, it's time for naturalist workshops at the 100,000-acre Medano-Zapata Ranch, a Nature Conservancy preserve four hours southwest of Denver. Throughout the spring, summer and early fall, three-day weekend workshops explore everything from the geology of the nearby Great Sand Dunes to the birds of the San Luis Valley. There… More >>
  • Best Place for Geocachers

    Mapsco

    Your Global Positioning Satellite unit told you the treasure you were diligently seeking was only three miles away. But it failed to mention that your raison d'être was three miles uphill. Straight uphill. The friendly staff at Mapsco is more than willing to commiserate with you about your unexpected adventure -- and they suggest that on your next geocaching adventure,… More >>
  • Best Rocky Mountain Nature Books

    Rocky Mountain Nature Association

    It's a double-billed winner! The Nature Association's Field Guide to Viewing Wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park won first place in the Site Publications category of the National Association for Interpretation's Interpretive Media Competition. And Trail Ridge Road Adventure Sticker and Game Book, a fun sticker book that teaches kids about the park's inhabitants, took second. Both books can be… More >>
  • Best Excuse to Get Down and Dirty

    Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado

    Believe it or not, two-thirds of Colorado is public land. And maintaining trails, parks and open spaces so that everyone can enjoy them is no easy task. That's where Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado comes in. Established in 1984, the non-profit environmental organization is dedicated to improving, preserving and protecting our natural resources. New volunteers are always welcome and training is… More >>
  • Best Horse-Friendly Lodging

    Winding River Ranch & Equestrian Center

    One of the best ways to experience the stunning scenery of Rocky Mountain National Park is on horseback, and horses enjoy it, too. If you want to bring your best equine pal for extended exploring, make Winding River Ranch, two miles north of Grand Lake, your base of operations. The Colorado River flows through the ranch, the park trails are… More >>
  • Best Way to See the Royal Gorge

    Raft-N-Rail
    Echo Canyon River Expeditions

    Echo Canyon River Expeditions offers a combo view of the Royal Gorge: from a train and from a raft. Participants can choose from two different tours; both include a ride on the Royal Gorge railroad, lunch at a scenic spot, and a raft trip. Families float through the Bighorn Canyon; more advanced adults tackle the challenging Arkansas River through the… More >>
  • Best Place to Learn Kupigana Ngumi

    Moyo Nguvu Cultural Arts Center

    Kupigana Ngumi, a style of African martial arts founded in the 1960s, is based on rhythmic, dance-like movements. There are three empowerment areas in the training: cultural, in which students' self-esteem and cultural understanding are increased; emotional and mental, in which students are taught to make good choices and avoid confrontation, as well as learn anger and stress management; and… More >>
  • Best Exotic Martial Arts Class

    Capoeira N'gola
    Mercury Cafe

    If the same old kicks and yells are wearing on you, you may be ripe for capoeira, the Brazilian dance/fight/acrobatic hybrid art form. And if you can study under Mestre Usamah Zaid, otherwise known as Baba, you'll progress quickly. Held in the Merc's spacious ballroom, the class features live music, expert instruction and a feeling of group accomplishment that's hard… More >>
  • Best Beef Museum

    Kenneth Monfort's Boyhood Home
    Centennial Village Museum

    The man who brought the world boxed beef left this world in 2001. But the house in which he was born has been moved to the Centennial Village Museum as a memorial to the contributions of the Monfort family to Weld County and northern Colorado. In addition to the 1908 structure, which was trucked two miles over farm fields to… More >>
  • Best Badass Bull

    Mister USA

    Some bulls are wimpy and get no respect from cowboys because they don't buck well enough to earn good scores. Others are so powerful and unpredictable that riders hate to draw them, because they know there's a good chance they'll get thrown. A perfect middle animal gives you a wild ride but still gives you a chance to stay on… More >>
  • Best Badass Brother/Sister Boxers

    Terri Cruz and Arturo Cruz Jr.

    Educated in the school of hard knocks in Raton, New Mexico, Arturo and Terri Cruz have been fighting their whole lives -- in and out of the ring. One battled street gangs in Denver while the other battled juvenile delinquency, bar brawlers and tequila. Tapping into the genes passed on by their father, former pro fighter Arturo Cruz, the siblings… More >>
  • Best Place to Be a Badass for a Day

    EagleRider Harley Rentals

    Wanna feel the wind in your hair and bugs in your teeth? If you're born to be wild but don't have a bike to call your own, rent one for $100+ a day from EagleRider. Whether it's a Sportster, Softail Deuce or Electra Glide that gets your motor runnin', EagleRider features Harleys exclusively, available to rent for a day or… More >>
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