Starting in 1919, author and collector Harold Marion Dunning began assembling artifacts and stories about Loveland?s pioneers. By 1938, he had built up enough of a collection to start a history museum in a converted garage. Today, Loveland Museum is both an art and history museum that encompasses more than 30,000 objects. Most are displayed in interactive historical exhibits where visitors can discover how Great Western Sugar churned out its namesake or sit on one of mountain man Mariano Medina?s saddles.
The museum's trio of art galleries brings world-class art to Loveland with various exhibits, renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Dale Chihuly, Salvador Dali, Wayne Thiebaud, and Francisco Goya, and a gallery dedicated to contemporary artists. This gallery highlights different artists or themes roughly every 8???12 weeks, and the artists themselves frequently stop by to give lectures on everything from their inspirations to whether they could take Pablo Picasso in a fight. The artist?s talks are among many classes and programs hosted by Loveland Museum, which include kids? art classes and historical lectures from visiting scholars.
The museum at Old Town's former post office doesn't just exhibit art?it is art. Built in the Second Renaissance Revival style favored during its construction, the building was entered in the National Registry of Historic Places for its iconic architecture and complete lack of vampire bats. It's been the home of the Fort Collins Museum of Art since 1990, and in that time has housed original and specially commissioned works by contemporary artists. The museum has also celebrated historical greats with exhibits from the likes of Ansel Adams and Andy Warhol.
Greeley Museums bring history alive?sometimes quite literally. The best example is Centennial Village, a living, breathing town square from 100 years ago. Over seven acres of immaculately restored land, time-swept citizens go about their lives as they would have in the last century: they toil at the blacksmith, file grievances at the courthouse, and a lucky few put up their feet at grand homes.
But though the seasonal city is the antique jewel in this historical tiara, it's hardly the only chance to learn about the past. The History Museum dips its toes into other eras, visiting the bicycle craze of the 1800s, the challenges of the homefront in the 1940s, and the grudge match between the town's namesake Congressman Horace Greeley and political cartoonist Thomas Nast. At the Colorado Model Railroad Museum, a 5,500-square-foot model railroad feels at home among 600 railroad artifacts and a full-size caboose. And the Meeker Home offers a look inside the lives of the Meeker family, who founded Greeley with a vision of a utopian future.
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).
An age-old question has plagued casual dwellers for over a century?why is the 13th floor absent in so many buildings? 13th Floor Haunted House in Denver aims to explain this question by staging a horrifying haunted experience. Designed by world-renowned haunted house designers and featuring makeup and effects from Hollywood special effects artists, the graphic theatrical show takes brave souls on a ride through two new gut-wrenching attractions in 2014?Undead: the Possession and Dwellings of the Dead. The bone-chilling adventure has been met with several accolades, including six consecutive Hauntworld.com honors as one of the best haunts in the U.S.
Combining science education with interactive entertainment, the Butterfly Pavilion houses five exhibits, 1,600 free-flying tropical butterflies, and a multitude of creepy, crawly creatures. Begin your day with a Tropical Odyssey, a bilingual adventure complete with larger-than-life caterpillars and butterflies and a zip line that allows children to sprout wings and soar like a penguin. Crab-walk to the Crawl-A-See-Em exhibit where brave souls can hold Rosie, a Chilean tarantula, and discover leaf insects, scorpions, beetles, and giant millipedes, and head to the Water's Edge to touch sea stars and more. Furthermore, levitate to the Wings of the Tropics exhibit to admire butterflies from around the world as they rest on your eyelashes. End your safari with a hike on the Butterfly Pavilion's half-mile natural trail teeming with prairie dogs, rabbits, ogres, herons, hawks, and eagles.