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.
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.
More than 70 U.S. government officials, including the current speaker of the house, have visited CELL Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab since its 2008 opening. Their appearances are a testament to the nonpartisan museum's comprehensive overview of domestic and international terrorism, all developed by prominent counterterrorism experts. The exhibit delves into topics ranging from terrorism's history and media coverage to terrorists' methods, and is home to artifacts including a piece of wreckage from the World Trade Center that stands above a memorial to 9/11. They also engage museum-goers' noodles throughout with interactive stations that quiz them on their new findings. Beyond being informative, the exhibits are also aesthetically alluring, having been designed by Academy- and Emmy-award-winning artists.
The self-guided exhibit isn't the only way CELL strives to educate the public about terrorism and the ways it can be prevented. CELL's events include quarterly symposiums in which experts and government officials gather to discuss security and counterterrorism issues. Part of its Community Awareness Program, CELL's free classes inform citizens about the constitutional methods they can employ to help prevent terrorist activities.
Named one of Denver's Best Smaller-Scale Museums in 2011, the Molly Brown House Museum cultivates curiosity with restored 20th-century architecture and a glimpse into the life of American activist Margaret Tobin Brown. Step into the house-shaped time machine and explore an authentic Capitol Hill mansion decorated with Victorian-era accouterments and carefully preserved steam-powered girdles. Through historic paint analysis, architectural study, and photographic research of the original 14-room residence, the museum reflects the lavish glamour of turn-of-the-century wealth. Throughout the day, guides lead 45-minute tours through rococo rooms, including a gilt foyer illuminated by stained-glass windows, parlors sporting polished tea sets, and a library lined with James Patterson novels stuffed inside first-edition Sherlock Holmes covers.
Children run in trails marked by prehistoric footprints, and fingers run across fossils during each visit to Dinosaur Ridge, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of ancient artifacts. Around every corner of the outdoor museum—which rests on land designated as a national natural landmark—bones and impressions protrude from their earthy abodes as evidence of the area's once larger-than-life inhabitants. Paleontologists of all ages can examine curious tracks on surrounding hiking paths, such as Triceratops Trail, or hop on a guided bus tour to examine fossil sites and valleys where brontosauruses used to question the meaning of life.
Lurking inside the visitor center is the Trek Through Time exhibit, where interactive children's games, replica fossils, and massive murals join forces to lead explorers into different prehistoric eras. In addition to its day-to-day operations, Dinosaur Ridge also plays host to various events during the year, including Boy Scout days, birthday parties, and lectures that explain how T. rex stayed humble despite his large stature.
Chances are a Tyrannosaurus would bite if you tried to pet it. Thankfully, that's not the case at Morrison Natural History Museum, where a Tyrannosaurus skull is one of many safe fossils that visitors are encouraged to touch. The paleontology museum's 3,000 square feet of exhibition space is full of other dino bones discovered in Colorado, from the first stegosaurus fossils to the tracks of an infant dinosaur. A peek into the museum's Paleo Lab reveals scientists conducting research in real time, while trips to the dig pit let kids experience the rush of unearthing their own fossils.
Not everything at the Morrison is about fossils. Among the Ice Age exhibit's bones of saber-toothed cats, for instance, glass displays teem with live reptiles, amphibians, and a wooly mammoth stretching after a 7,000-year nap. Educational programs likewise blend dinosaur-focused activities and interactions with live creatures, such as birthday parties that include the chance to pet a live snake.