The Denver Boat Show has served as an annual port of call for modern-day boaters of all types. The latest incarnation is bound for the Denver Convention Center, where spectators and interested buyers can kick the rudders of vessels from dealers through the Colorado area. In addition to rows of boats and boating accessories, the convention center’s halls will also ring with happy laughter elicited by family-friendly activities, including an educational program brought to you by the Colorado Gator Farm and an exciting gator wrangling segment.
On loan from the Museum of Leonardo Da Vinci in Florence, the Da Vinci Machines exhibit debuts in North America with more than 60 interactive models based on the polymath's original 500-year-old concepts. Peruse replicas of major inventions, each handcrafted by three generations of Florentine artisans, including the air screw, an early ancestor to the both the helicopter and the propeller beanie, and learn the secrets behind the mechanical lion, a robotic lion given as a gift to the king of France. Visitors young and old are fully encouraged to touch the war machines, flying machines, and nautical and hydraulic devices for insight into their functionality, and accompanying explanatory notes, illustrative panels, and computer programs help modern minds glean further understanding into Da Vinci's wide-reaching genius and favorite emoticons.
The first thing you'll see at RedLine is a red line. It's no mere logo—it's a threshold meant to symbolize the crossing over into unchecked creativity, a sort of meeting point where envelope-pushing artists and Denver's citizens interact and engage. That's how Laura Merage, artist, philanthropist, and founder, sees it. RedLine, which bills itself as a "diverse urban laboratory," serves the art-loving public by serving its artists; according to the Denver Post, "No gallery vets and nurtures local talent as thoroughly as Denver's RedLine." The result: a showcase of bold exhibitions that harness the riches of complete creative license, ample space, and mentorship that RedLine provides its residents.
The building itself, a modern space designed by architects Semple-Brown, houses the artists and their work with plenty of room to breathe. At any time, 25–30 resident artists use RedLine as a studio and exhibition space. Additionally, curators schedule exhibitions that feature a wide swathe of subject matter—current shows include a retrospective on trailblazing female artists in contemporary art, and an exploration of celebrated abstract painter Harmony Hammond. In their mission to be more than just an art gallery, RedLine takes many initiatives to serve the public. For example, there's the Young Artists and Monthly Art programs, which foster creativity in children of all ages, and the Reach Artists program, which offers a safe and supportive haven for Denver's transitory artists.
In 1909, when Denver's Engine Co. No. 1 moved into its new two-story station, firefighters still relied on horse-drawn trucks to race to the scene of a fire. Those trucks now stand beside motorized vehicles in displays at the Denver Firefighters Museum, which has occupied the station since 1980. The nonprofit museum showcases more than 150 year's worth of firefighting history, featuring everything from tools such as helmets and bunking gear to the station's preserved officer's quarters and locker room.
Winding along the gallery floors, firefighter boot prints lead to educational stations with hands-on activities geared toward younger guests. Children can ride miniature fire trucks and poles, try on firefighting gear, and handle actual firefighting tools. To impart additional fire safety skills, the museum's experts teach programs both at the museum and inside local preschool and kindergarten classrooms. The museum also houses a unique gift shop with a melange of interesting, firemen-related items.
In 1979, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a mammoth Clyfford Still survey. Little did museum-goers realize that it would be their last opportunity to see Still's work for more than 30 years. When he died in 1980, Still stipulated that his work be kept from the public eye until an American city created a museum dedicated solely to his art. His wife, Patricia, selected Denver in 2005; by November 2011, the two-story, 28,500-square-foot museum finally opened its doors.
Inside, nine galleries showcase rotating pieces from nearly 94% of Still's entire output, which includes approximately 825 paintings and 1,575 works on paper. Taken together, these pieces trace Still's evolution from representational painting to abstract expressionism, a shift he made earlier than contemporaries such as Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. Besides Still's artwork, the museum houses the artist's personal belongings, ranging from sketchbooks to recordings of the many prank calls he pulled on Pablo Picasso. In addition to preserving Still's legacy, the museum plays host to events such as liquor tastings, artist lectures, and film screenings.
Children’s Museum of Denver was originally founded in a converted school bus in 1973. Since then, its surroundings have changed, but its mission has remained the same: to engage visitors in learning through play. Its collection of 13 hands-on playscapes is designed to stimulate the minds of children from birth to age 8, earning Children's Museum of Denver a spot on Forbes's 2012 list of the 12 Best Children's Museums in the US.
Amid the museum's two stories, visitors learn about fire safety in Fire Station No. 1, shop for healthy foods in the market, and unleash their creative sides with paint and stage costumes at Arts a la Carte. Dedicated to nurturing a love of math and science, the museum also features a recyclable-material assembly plant, a bubble experimentation lab, and a newly opened kinetics exhibit with a gigantic marble run.