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.
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.
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.
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.
Aviation Xtreme's simulators let land-locked folk fly aboard jetfighters and WWI- or WWII-era aircraft in aerial missions or close-range combat. Aspiring aces strap into the cockpit of their simulator and choose from aircraft such as an F-15A Eagle, F-4 Phantom, or P-51 Mustang. After a short instructional video, they take off into the realistic blue yonder on a chosen mission, which can include an anti-ship mission or ground-attack mission. Each simulator is part of a larger computerized network, allowing friends to go head-to-head in a dogfight or team up to carve clouds into self-portraits.
Aviation Xtreme is housed inside Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, the former locale of the 1930s-built Lowry Air Force Base that closed in 1995, reports Frommer’s. These days, the 150,000-square-foot hangar houses more than four dozen airplanes, including five Century Series fighters and one of two B-1A Lancers on display in the world. The museum is even home to a full-size X-Wing Starfighter from Star Wars and the Harrison Ford Welcome Theater, where the staff starts each day in hiding to surprise Mr. Ford in case he visits.
In addition to aircraft from films, the museum’s space and rocketry exhibits include full-scale replicas of boilerplate spacecrafts used to train Apollo missions to the moon. Others models recreate planes in all their glory, such as the 16-foot Titan II launch vehicle, while hands-on exhibits replicate the conditions of space travel.