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.
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.
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.
Each batch of Syntax Spirits Distillery’s vodka, whisky, and rum is made by hand using stainless-and-copper fractionating stills, Colorado Weld County wheat or American Molasses, and Cache La Poudre River whitewater. The result of these curated elements are incredibly smooth, complex spirits versatile enough to be sipped or mixed.
At the distillery, visitors are filled in on the process that brings these drinks to life and can taste the fruits of the facility’s labor. Along with its signature spirits, the distillery boasts housemade infusions that range from bourbon vanilla to citrus flavors. Guests can sample the different infusions as chilled shots or in a signature cocktail at the cocktail bar in the industrial-style tasting room where neon signs and antique light fixtures illuminate each sip. When guests aren’t mid-pinball game or sampling drinks at the 40-foot-long concrete bar, the staff leads complimentary tours of the distillery’s manufacturing area, where Laverne & Shirley imitations are prohibited.
When guests cross the threshold into MorbidNights Colorado's Nut House, they enter the tormented minds of history's most notorious serial killers. Inside the 20 rooms that occupy the 12,000 square-foot fear factory, brazen voyagers come face to face with some of the most homicidal humans ever to walk the earth, and shudder with fear as the criminals reenact their notorious crimes or a favorite dance number from South Pacific. Those brave enough to risk the madness do so for a great cause, however, as the haunt donates a portion of its yearly proceeds to worthy causes including the Weld Food Bank or UNC student radio.
Sylvia Chan loved painting when she was a child, but the only formal training she received was in high-school art classes and while studying fashion design. Her love for the art stayed with her later in life, though, and she eventually founded Picasso and Wine, creating a supportive, stress-free environment where guests could exercise their passion for painting while getting guidance from local artists. These highly social art parties remain open to any skill level, and the studio provides all the paints, canvases, and brushes. Each session presents attendees with an original work—such as a city skyline or a fall landscape—and tasks them with creating a faithful rendition of the piece while using sips of wine, beer, or gourmet tea to jump-start their creative impulses. The instructors offer helpful tips for capturing the light or painting anti-theft symbols into the background, and they allow partygoers to take their pieces home afterward.