Visit Denver app "dares" tourists to discover the city, while we up the ante

Visit Denver has a new mobile app designed to lure vacationers to Mile High City hotspots through a series of "dares:" Complete a "Denver Dare" and you'll earn a Facebook badge. So what are these terrifying tasks, these death-defying deeds? Here's a hint: One of them involves the Celestial Seasonings peppermint room, and it doesn't have anything to do with shoving as much mint as you can down your pants while the tour guide's back is turned.

Visit Denver is the city's official tourism booster, and it spent $17.5 million last year preaching the good word about Denver. Its newest campaign, "Truth or Dare," was developed by local ad firm Karsh Hagan and is being rolled out just in time for summer. Justin Bresler, Visit Denver's vice president of marketing, says it's meant to dispel "perceptions of the city that aren't current or accurate" -- such as that Denver is a snowy cow town -- by daring visitors to discover all the classy, exciting stuff the city has to offer.

The app is available for iPhone and Android and includes maps, photos and listings of events and attractions. The "Denver Dares" badges are "our attempt to game-ify the travel experience," Bresler says. When a vacationer visits a "Denver Dares" location, he can "check in" using the app, which will earn him a badge posted to his Facebook wall. Thanks to the badges, the visitors "become our tourism ambassadors," Bresler says.

As far as dares go, these are pretty tame. Some examples: Check out a Denver B-Cycle and ride through Denver's neighborhoods! Try on an original snap button shirt at Rockmount Ranch Wear! Experience the Colorado Ballet! We're not saying these aren't great activities; we, too, love a good B-Cycle ride. But they're not very daring.

So to help spice up the summer, we're offering slight modifications (in italics) to five of the 139 "Denver Dares." Check them out below. Unless you're too chicken.

Denver Dare #4: Swim with the sharks at the Downtown Aquarium. Afterward, order one in the adjoining seafood restaurant. As in, specifically order a specific shark.

Denver Dare #88: Root for the home team at Coors Field from the Rockpile. Better yet, root for a team that's not even playing. Be really enthusiastic about it.

Denver Dare #40: Commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic at the Molly Brown House Museum. With a straight face, tell the staff that you've been a huge Molly Brown fan since she played the psycho nurse in the movie adaptation of Stephen King's Misery. Ask if they have any props from her role on The Office.

Denver Dare #18: See how candy is made at Hammond's Candies. Play like you're going to steal the recipes and sell them to Slugworth unless they take you to the chocolate river.

Denver Dare #61: Visit the fascinating Clyfford Still Museum. Wear a name tag that says, "Hi, my name is Carmen Tisch." It'll be terrifying. Trust us.

More from our Things to Do archive: "Photos: Bike Prom draws more nerds than jocks."

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar