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.
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.
13th Floor is the only company and brand in the country to produce haunted houses on a national scale, with houses in Denver, San Antonio and Phoenix with more to come in the future. Designed by world-renowned haunted house designers and featuring makeup and effects from Hollywood special effects artists. The 13th Floor Denver building takes fright to a whole new level with different interactive events like Christmas Blackout, Valentine X, and now Apocalypse, Live-Action Zombie Experience.
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.
The Mizel Museum glimpses into Jewish heritage and contemporary experience with exhibits that showcase fine art, film, drama, sculpture, and music, while striving to promote a message of communal understanding and interculturalism. The museum’s permanent exhibit, 4,000 Year Road Trip: Gathering Sparks, explores the diversity within Jewish history with a combination of artistic elements, artifacts, and photography. The 27-acre Babi Yar Park, a project of the Mizel Museum and Denver Parks and Recreation, memorializes Holocaust victims from the Ukraine. Founded in 1971 and dedicated by Elie Weisel, Babi Yar Park will soon incorporate steel from the World Trade Center into its landscape.
Along with its exhibits and memorials, the Mizel Museum enlightens the public with outreach programs such as a Working Artists program and interculturalism sessions for teachers. An artist-in-residence program for preschoolers and grade-school kids helps them explore Jewish culture through art forms such as storytelling, puppetry, and blowing bubbles into letters from the Hebrew alphabet. The museum supplies abundant activities for adults, such as painting classes and programs that combine compelling discussion topics with wine and hors d’oeuvres.