Landmarks in Denver

Known as the mile high city, Denver is an exciting place to live and visit. Officially situated at 5,280 feet or one mile above sea level, Denver has everything a big city has to offer yet there is a wonderful sense of community and eco-consciousness throughout the region.

In 1858 a gold mining town cropped up in the area and was dubbed Montana City which obviously didn’t last, but part of the original Montana City actually did last and is our first landmark.

Grant-Frontier Park

Grant-Frontier Park is believed to be the site of the original Montana City and was discovered, cleaned, and restored by teachers and students of the nearby Grant Middle School. The park features a log cabin replica and mining equipment for a little educational value, but mainly it’s a nice quiet little park and a great place to get away for a picnic.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

In the mood for a little more history, how about throwing in a little nature and some science too. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is considered one of the country’s premiere museums, founded in 1900 the museum actually stretches further back to 1868. Pioneer and naturalist Edwin Carter devoted his life to collecting specimens and displaying them in his home, which became dubbed the Carter Museum. His reputation grew as did his collection until eventually the Colorado Museum of Natural History was created. Soon others added their collections and the museum is still expanding today. If you’re not actually able to plan a stop at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, check out their online exhibits for a deeper look at the wonders of Denver.

Four Mile Historic Park

But if you’re looking for a bit more history in your park excursion then Four Mile Historic Park is just the place for you. With twelve acres located alongside Cherry Creek, Four Mile Historic Park is an excellent place for a day of relaxation and a picnic but it’s also full of historical significance, including the oldest standing structure in the city, Four Mile House. Four Mile House was built in 1859 and has served as a wayside inn, a stage shop, and a tavern before its current incarnation as a National Historic Landmark. Events are being held at the park routinely and many schools come for educational field trips. Check the website if you’re interested in participating in one of the events as they offer a variety of activities from recreations to dining experiences.

IMG_9965Creative Commons License photo credit: upton

Lionfish at Downtown Denver Aquarium

Downtown Aquarium

For a look at living nature, the Downtown Aquarium in Denver is place to go. The aquarium features several different regions, each themed to best display their collections. Although aquatic critters are their focus don’t be surprised to see beast and fowl as well as the Denver Downtown Aquarium is so much more than your standard aquarium. Each habitat invites visitors to explore and experience and includes sights and sounds to enhance the adventure.

16th Street Mall

Not your traditional landmark, 16th Street Mall is the hub of downtown activity. Sixteen blocks of shopping, dining and entertainment with environmentally friendly free shuttles, 16th Street Mall is a shopper’s paradise. Granted many of the stores are a bit touristy and feature the same Davy Crocker hats and toy muskets there is a huge variety of standard stores and familiar brand names. It’s a great way to spend a day or a few hours before hitting one of the nearby local attractions.

Denver Mint

It makes sense that a city built on the gold rush would be an important hub for the U.S. Mint and in 1863 the Denver Mint was established. Currently the mint in Denver manufacturers all denominations of circulating coins, coin dies, the Denver portion of uncirculated sets and commemorative coins, it also serves as home to gold and silver bullion. The Denver Mint offers free tours to the public so check out how the coins you use every day are currently being made and then look at the history of coin production in the United States.

Molly Brown House Museum

For those fans of the Titanic you’ll know the name, the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown or Margaret Tobin Brown was a noted philanthropist, socialite and activist but probably was best noted as being a survivor of the ill-fated Titanic. The home she once lived in was built in the 1880s by architect William A. Lang is also known as the House of Lions and was originally quite elaborate and spectacular. But the depression hit the Molly Brown House hard and it fell into disrepair until it was set for demolition in the 1970s. The group Historic Denver, Inc. decided to save the home and began the process of restoring it to its 20th century splendor. Guided tours are available throughout the week and last about 45 minutes.

Denver Botanic Gardens

2009 is the 50th anniversary of the Denver Botanic Gardens at its current location on York Street. The Denver Botanic Gardens is one of the first in the country to emphasize the native plants for the region and to promote ecologically sound growing. To learn more about planting and growing in the western region check the website for class schedules. If you’ve had enough plants you can time your visit to coincide with their concert series and enjoy an evening of entertainment in the amphitheater.

Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is the largest art museum between Kansas City and San Francisco and got its start rather simply in the 1890s as the Denver Artists’ Club. Initially the group had a number of meeting places and moved about until 1949 when it finally got its own building. Today the Denver Art Museum is housed in a 356,000 square foot building which includes collection gallery space, three temporary exhibit areas, and an auditorium for special presentations.  The Denver Art Museum is noted for its child-friendly activities and its hard work and dedication to preserving artworks.

A visit to the Mile High City is a big city experience that somehow brings visitors closer to the earth and the national environment around us. It’s clear that the citizens of Denver, past and present, respect the environment and are dedicated to ecology and somehow this spirit resonates and turns the entire city into a comfortable neighborhood.
Creative Commons License photo credit: brettneilson