Arts and Culture

Ten Things to Do in Denver for $10 and Under (Four Free)

Snuggle the winter blues away at Broken Shovels Farm and Animal Sanctuary on Sunday, January 14.
Snuggle the winter blues away at Broken Shovels Farm and Animal Sanctuary on Sunday, January 14. Broken Shovels Farm
The weekend is nearly here, and Denver's comedy nerds, music appreciators and animal lovers have given us plenty of reasons to celebrate. While Westword certainly loves the nightlife, this week's list offers a preponderance of family-friendly daytime activities. Readers can wander through a verdant greenhouse, support local musicians, or see a classic film, all without paying more than ten American dollars for admission. Keep reading for the best free and cheap events in the Denver area this weekend.

Doggy Story Time
Thursday, January 11, 4 p.m.

BookBar's various story time events are an ideal way to cultivate youngsters' love of reading, but only one of them offers guests the chance to pet a friendly dog. Kids can listen to stories inspired by canine companionship while nibbling on snacks and cookies, while their parents enjoy 50 percent off wine purchases. The star of the show will undoubtedly be Magnum, a trained service dog from Pet Partners. While BookBar doesn't typically permit dogs on the premises, the organizers have made an adorable exception for Magnum and Doggy Story Time. Visit BookBar's events calendar for more details.

Hollywood Favorite: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Thursday, January 11, 7:30 p.m.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science

While streaming video has made it possible for viewers to watch nearly every movie ever made at the push of a button, some classics still call for the big-screen treatment. One such masterpiece is Raiders of the Lost Ark, the film that kickstarted the Indiana Jones franchise, turned Harrison Ford into a household name, and made archaeologists seem badass. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is resurrecting the hatted hero's finest hour in a stunning IMAX presentation. If you can't make the January 11 screening, don't fret: You'll have more Raiding opportunities on January 12, 13,18, 19 and 20. Visit the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's box-office page to buy tickets, $7.95 to $9.95, and find out more.

click to enlarge KEVIN GALABA
Kevin Galaba
Comedy Night at Chain Reaction
Friday, January 12, 8 p.m.
Chain Reaction Brewing Company

Denver comedy's original brewery show, Comedy Night at Chain Reaction, has outlasted many of its imitators by curating its lineups as tastefully as its tap list. A collaboration of local comic Steve Vanderploeg and co-owner Chad Christofferson (onetime childhood hockey teammates with a shared love of jokes and craft beer), the  perennially touted showcase returns with a gaggle of goofballs including Mitch Jones, ShaNae Ross, Harry Baber and Brooklyn's Minori Hinds, with Los Angeles's John-Michael Bond in the headlining spot. Admission is free. Visit Chain Reaction's Facebook events page for more information.

Friday, January 12, 8:30 p.m.

A self-described "jazz-drunk hip-hop trio," Smirk creates contemporary jams rooted in old-school musicality. Comprising Ryan Bannigan on drums, Luke Maxson on the keys, and guest bassist Jose Gutierrez, Smirk claims influences such as Robert Glasper, D' Angelo and the late, great J. Dilla. Feel the rhythm when Smirk performs at venerated Denver jazz venue Dazzle on Friday, January 12, at 9 p.m. Visit Dazzle's box-office page to buy tickets, $5, and learn more.

Denver Botanic Gardens
Tropical Trails Tour
Saturday, January 13, 2 to 3 p.m.
Denver Botanic Gardens
$10 to $14

Whatever the weather outside, it's always perfectly temperate in the Denver Botanic Gardens' Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory. Explore the grounds with the expert guidance of a Botanic Gardens docent at the Tropical Trails Tour series, which kicks off on Saturday, January 13. Though space for each tour is limited, interested readers have additional opportunities to take in the Tropical Trail on January 27, February 3 and 24, and March 10 and 24. Head over to the Denver Botanic Gardens box-office page to buy tickets, $10 to $14, and find out more.
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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham