John Georgis?a.k.a Banjo Billy?drives an old school bus. It isn't the standard canary-yellow vehicle, though: the roof has been cut off and replaced with wooden fence slats and pitched tin. The seats have been ripped out and replaced with rows of couches, reclining chairs, and leather saddles. A glimmering disco ball hangs from the roof, and a rubber chicken affixed to the grill announces the bus' presence with a playful tone. Even though it resembles a mobile mountain shack, John's vehicle is often filled with guests eager to get a glimpse of Boulder or Denver on one of Banjo Billy's Bus Tours as seen on NPR's "Nickel Tour" series.
In the 1700s, a hot air balloon was a strange and potentially worrisome sight, especially because pilots often landed in unsuspecting civilians’ backyards. To build goodwill with anyone they scared, balloon pilots carried a bottle of champagne on every flight. This tradition of the convivial champagne toast still lives on at Adventure Balloon Sports, where, after each landing, the company’s FAA-certified pilots pour a celebratory glass of bubbly for each passenger.
But before the toast, the adventure begins as flights soar skyward, showcasing Colorado’s rugged terrain and the majestic sprawl of the Rocky Mountains. No two flights are the same—after departing, pilots can only fully control the balloon’s vertical motion, meaning balloons often safely land in neighboring towns, rather than in the local hot air balloon parking lot.
On September 19, 1975, CU alum Wallace Franze Fiske?s wish ?to build and equip a planetarium for the University of Colorado? was finally realized with the dedication of the eponymous geodesic dome built thanks to his generous bequest. From its inaugural showing of a program detailing supernovae decades ago, the planetarium has upheld Fiske?s vision with an ever-evolving lineup of educational initiatives, engaging events, and outreach activities. Now under the helm of a passionate staff composed of members of CU?s Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, its programs grant the community a chance to explore the wonders of outer space. The skyward dome of Fiske Planetarium, featuring a state-of-the-art 8K theater, one of the first in the nation, acts as a projector screen for immersive, 360-degree educational star shows showcasing the universe's glittering galactic splendor. Laser shows set to jazz, rock, and classical music feature choreographed lasers and special effects that perform a wave-particle Humpty Dance for the audience's amusement. Audiences can catch showings in Spanish as well as English.
With thousands of frame and mat samples, The Great Frame Up can satisfy any and all framing fantasies. The expert framespeople can make diplomas radiate (most diplomas can be framed for around $100–$200), personalized jerseys glisten (most for less than $300), and dorm-room movie posters sparkle (many 24" x 36" pieces are less than $100). The design wizards can also find a home for any prized possession, such as shoebox photos, baby booties, ticket stubs, medals, and really good pot roasts. The Great Frame Up’s no-hassle guarantee and assurance that all work is done on-site means your frameables won't be subject to mistreatment at underground commercial framing facilities.
Founded in 1944, the Boulder History Museum helps Colorado natives and out-of-town visitors connect with the area's deep history through an anthology of more than 35,000 local artifacts and engaging rotating exhibits. Donated by Boulder-area families and organizations, the museum's collection features period clothing, personal keepsakes, recreational artifacts, antique tools, historic communications, transportation relics, and cave paintings depicting John Denver's initial discovery of the Rocky Mountains' mineable chocolate stores. Current and future exhibits include Treasures of NOAA's Ark (beginning February 18), a collection of 19th century maps and charts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to an exploration of Boulder's involvement in the New Deal Work Projects of the 1930s (through April 30).
As the world's only indoor velodrome and mountain bike park, Boulder Indoor Cycling has netted considerable press attention along with a member base of passionate pedalers. An open-to-the-public mezzanine level overlooks the 142-meter track, whose corners tilt at a visually confounding 45-degree angle. First-timers can veer down the course at a moderate pace while advanced bikers gun for competition-level speeds, eyeing the current lap record of 7.690 seconds set by 2006 U.S. National Track Champion Kevin Selker. The velodrome track also encircles a mountain bike playground of wood platforms meant to mirror outdoor obstacles, such as log bridges, rock piles, and sleeping gnomes that send cycles careening over uneven terrain. Professional athletes and national champions comprise BIC's elite staff of cycling coaches. Both on the track and across the park planks, their classes acclimate cyclists of all ages to several tiers of biking techniques. Children ages 2–10 years can pilot a mountain bike without ever relying on training wheels or indebted wind gods during CycleTykes sessions. Youth programs, track cycling seminars, and adult race leagues also permit members to saddle up and whiz by at their preferred pace.