Arts and Culture

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

Have some fishy fun at the Downtown Aquarium's Summer Family Night on Thursday, July 26.
Have some fishy fun at the Downtown Aquarium's Summer Family Night on Thursday, July 26. Beth Futrell
For overworked and rent-burdened Denverites, many of the city's top-dollar entertainments seem out of reach. Luckily, the weekend ahead offers plenty of affordable options for delight and diversion. Families, comedy nerds, music lovers, cinephiles and even birders can look forward to three days of events that cost $10 or less (fine print notwithstanding) to enjoy. Keep reading for the ten best free and cheap events in Denver and the surrounding area this weekend.

click to enlarge DOWNTOWN AQUARIUM
Downtown Aquarium
Summer Family Nights
Thursday, July 26, 7 to 9 p.m.
Downtown Aquarium 
$7 to $12.99

Offering family-friendly fun at wallet-friendly prices, Denver Downtown Aquarium's Summer Family Nights winds down for the season Thursday night with one last round of deep-sea deals. In addition to a discount on admission to the Aquarium Adventure exhibit, Mystic Mermaid Show and 4-D Movie Experience, guests can also enjoy lower-cost activities like face-painting, scavenger hunts, carousel rides and the Coconut Tree Climb. Perhaps best of all are the guided animal encounters, which allow kids of all ages to marvel at wildlife from an impossibly close distance. It's also the eve of the Aquarium's Tiger Weekend, so parents shouldn't be too surprised if their little ones beg for a repeat visit. Get tickets, $7 to $12.99, and learn more on the Downtown Aquarium events calendar.

Hollywood Favorite: Top Gun
July 26 to 28, August 2 to 4, 7:30 p.m.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
$7.95 to $9.95

Feeling the need for speed? Top Gun, the ’80s-tastic story of Naval aviation cadets and their high-flying hijinks, is an enduring relic of its era recalled so fondly that fans are still clamoring for a sequel some 32 years after its initial premiere. Revisit this slice of cinematic cheese on one the city's grandest screens, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's IMAX, where it'll be presented in stunning 3-D as part of the museum's Hollywood Favorite screening series. Visit the Denver Museum of Nature & Science box-office page to buy tickets, $7.95 to $9.95, and learn more.

Cartoons & Comedy
Thursday, July 26, 10 p.m.
The Black Buzzard

The Saturday morning cartoon hits of yesteryear are equally rife with nostalgia and unintentional hilarity, a paradigm that Cartoons & Comedy host and producer Chris Baker gleefully exploits for one of Denver comedy's longest-running and most delightful shows. Munch on childishly sugary cereals while quaffing decidedly adult beverages at a show that fuses clips of Muppet Babies and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (spliced between vintage toy and candy commercials) and top-notch standup and commentary from July guests Nathan Lund, Andrew Orvedahl and Ramon Rivas II. Admission is free; find more information on the Big Top Productions Facebook events page.

click to enlarge M STEVENSON PHOTO
M Stevenson Photo
B-Side Music Fridays with Jake Valentine and The Ghost of Joseph Buck
Friday, July 27, 5 to 10 p.m.
MCA Denver

Denver's artiest summer concert series continues at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art's B-Side Music Fridays, which welcomes Jake Valentine and The Ghost of Joseph Buck to rock the house at this week's outdoor extravaganza. Soak in a uniquely scenic view of the Mile High skyline while enjoying tunes and tipples under the setting sun. The first hundred guests through the door receive a complimentary beer from Ratio Beerworks — provided they're over 21. Visit MCA Denver's Facebook events page to learn 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