Ninth Street Historic Park Review: Denver’s Outdoor Time Capsule

Ninth Street Historic Park, a hidden gem nestled in Denver, offers a unique opportunity to take a captivating step back in time. As you enter its quarters, you’ll find yourself transported to an era dating back to near the city’s formation.

This park not only allows you to immerse yourself in the past but it’s also an ideal destination to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life with its serene environment. Whether you seek a rich encounter with history or just some solace, Ninth Street Historic Park provides an idyllic setting to visit.

What is Ninth Street Historic Park?

Ninth Street Historic Park is a park that houses an old city block containing 14 homes built between 1873 to 1905. It’s known as the oldest restored residential block in the Denver community.

This area, referred to as Auraria, is located on the western banks of the historic Cherry Creek. A prehistoric meeting place for the Arapaho, it also was here that the Russell brothers from Georgia marked out a townsite in October 1858, just a month prior to the establishment of Denver City.

The name Auraria means “gold region” and was named for the gold mining settlement of Auraria, Georgia.

Initially, Auraria and Denver City were competitors vying for economic growth and dominance in the region. However, the rivalry was short-lived. Recognizing the advantages of a unified and consolidated community, leaders from both settlements agreed to merge in 1860, forming the consolidated City of Denver.

Nevertheless, over the years, Auraria thrived as its own community. Initially inhabited by German and Irish immigrants, it gradually became more diverse with the inclusion of Jewish, Hispanic, and other families.

However, the area eventually transformed into an industrial neighborhood and was severely impacted by the devastating flood of 1965 (which we learned all about while exploring the nearby Confluence Park).

During the reconstruction efforts in the late 1960s, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority planned to clear over 120 acres for campus construction, which included the demolition of the Ninth Street block.

Fortunately, Historic Denver, Inc. spearheaded preservation initiatives and successfully raised nearly $1 million required for restoration. Thanks also to the efforts of over 900 individuals corporations and foundations, the street was saved and transformed into a park, opening in 1977.

Today, this 3-acre park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated as a historic district by the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission.

Related: How to visit the oldest standing structure in Denver

Ninth Street Historic Park

How to get to Ninth Street Historic Park

Ninth Street Historic Park is located on the Denver Auraria Campus, which is home to three separate institutions: the University of Colorado Denver (UCD), Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver), and the Community College of Denver (CCD).

The address is: 906 Curtis Street, Denver, CO 80204 and it’s open 6 AM to 10 PM.

There is no charge for admission so it is 100% free to visit. However, the nearby parking lots may require you to pay.

Ninth Street Historic Park

Visiting Ninth Street Historic Park

We visited on a nice, sun-drenched afternoon and had the entire park to ourselves for the most part.

I was really looking forward to this visit because I had never really seen a park quite like this with rows of time-honored buildings preserved in such a compact area. Adding to the uniqueness, the park is also situated within a large college campus, containing multiple institutions.

Ninth Street Historic Park

I think the best way to explore Ninth Street Historic Park is to just start on one corner and work your way down eventually making a “U” as you return along the path on the other side of the greenway. It’s a very small park so it doesn’t take very long to see everything. And you for sure will not get lost. Or if you do, you may be navigationally challenged beyond help!

Ninth Street Historic Park

The walkways are well shaded by lots of trees making it feel amazing even on a warm day as you step deeper into the annals of history. Only “authoritatively accurate” plants were used for the restored gardens surrounding the homes and the original granite curbing was left alone.

Ninth Street Historic Park

Outside of each building, you’ll find an interpretive panel to help you gain some insight into the structure and some of the unique local design qualities.

You’ll see the date of construction, the original owner, and the type of architectural style. Although some of the houses look similar, there are quite a few different types of architectural styles that you’ll see, which is a large part of the charm of this place.

Ninth Street Historic Park

From classic cottages, exuding timeless charm, to Victorian marvels adorned with exquisite embellishments, the architectural repertoire is impressive. Among them, make sure not to miss “the most perfectly proportioned and tastefully embellished Victorian house in Denver.”

Ninth Street Historic Park

You can also get some background information on the owners as well as interesting tidbits about the old pioneer days. It’s fascinating to think that some people would have started off with such an arduous trek over untamed terrain before ending up in one of these exquisite houses in a peaceful neighborhood.

The homes are very beautiful but what you’re looking at is essentially what the middle class existence looked like back in the late 1800s.

Ninth Street Historic Park

Another thing that makes this place stand out is that these old structures are still in use today.

Some are utilized by the nearby colleges such as the Colorado University Denver English department where they have their main offices.

Other buildings house headquarters for honors programs, marketing and communications, and other student related activities. Interestingly, the old Mercantile building is now a well-rated Mexican restaurant called Los Molinos.

If you want to find out more about the history of the park, you can check out these reading materials.

Ninth Street Historic Park

Final word

The experience of visiting this park offers a remarkable window into the lives of middle-class residents during the late 1800s.

A a tangible connection to the past, the park allows us to transport ourselves back in time, envisioning the daily routines and interactions of the local inhabitants. As you roam through the neighborhood, it’s easy to imagine past residents heading down these paths on the way to hopping on the Denver City Tramway to get to work or to make it to a market or show.

I’m really grateful that they were able to preserve this little nugget of history and I think it’s a great place to visit for those interested in Denver’s early history.

Bringing Game Consoles on Planes (Playstation, Xbox, & Nintendo TSA Rules) [2023]

A lot of casual and serious gamers wonder whether or not they can bring their game consoles through TSA security checkpoints and on to the plane. We could be talking PS3, PS4, PS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch — the list goes on and on.

Luckily, if you want to bring your gaming system on a plane I have some good news for you in this article. Keep reading below to find out everything you need to know about bringing game consoles through airport security and onto a plane.

Can you bring a PS4, PS5, Xbox, or other gaming console on a plane?

Yes, you can bring your game console on a plane but there are some key considerations that you want to think about before doing so.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

xbox controllers

TSA rules for gaming systems

TSA makes it clear that you are allowed to bring your gaming system through TSA security and onto a plane. You can bring your game console as a carry-on item which means that you keep it with you as you head through the TSA security checkpoint or you can bring it in your checked baggage which is what you drop off near the check-in desk.

Bringing a game console as a carry-on

The best way to travel with your PlayStation, Xbox, and other game consoles on a plane is to bring them as a carry-on.

If you bring your game console to a plane as a carry-on, TSA will essentially treat your console as a laptop.

This means that in many (but not all) cases you will be asked to remove your PlayStation or Xbox from your carry-on bag and place it in a bin so that it could be scanned by the x-ray machine individually. This also means that you will need to separate any of your wires, controllers, and game discs from your console.

Tip: Because your game console will be pretty big, it will probably be easiest to put your console in a bin by itself and then put your other items like cables and controllers in a separate bin.

A few things to consider here.

First, if you have TSA Pre-Check you may be able to just keep your console in your backpack and not have to hassle with taking it out with all of the wires.

With Pre-Check you often only have to pass through a traditional metal detector (as opposed to the invasive full-body scanners) and you also get to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Shoes can stay on
  • Belt can stay on
  • Light jackets can stay on
  • Laptops allowed to stay in bag
  • Liquids (3-1-1 Rule) can stay in bag

It’s possible a TSA agent may want to take a closer look at your system and possibly swab it for traces of explosives. This will definitely be the case if you get hit with SSSS.

Tips for bringing your console as a carry-on

If you decide to bring your console as a carry-on I would suggest fitting it in a backpack or bag that has a sleeve or compartment where the console can fit snugly.

You want the fit to be snug enough so that the console does not bounce around in your bag but not too tight to where it is an issue taking it out for the security checkpoint.

Some people get dedicated bags like this PS4 bag to transport their console in. Also, here is an example of a PS5 backpack carrier.

That is a great way to find a nice fit but advertising that you are walking around with an expensive gaming system may not always be a great idea. So something more discrete like this PS5 bag would probably be better.

Also, make sure that you separate all of your gaming items before heading through security so that you can easily get through security without holding up the line. Avoid wrapping your wires around your console or any other storage techniques that would slow things down.

You also want to keep a close eye on your console. You will probably have to head through a full body scanner while your console makes its way through an x-ray machine.

While rare, it is possible for items to get lost or stolen at security checkpoints during this process so try to keep as close of an eye as you can on your valuable electronics.

Some airlines have size or weight restrictions when it comes to your carry-on. For example on JetBlue, each passenger can bring one carry-on that must not exceed:

  • 22″ Length (55.88 cm)
  • 14″ Width (35.56 cm)
  • 9″ Height (22.86 cm)

According to Verge, the PS5 is approximately 390mm (15.4 inches) tall, 260mm (10.24 inches) deep and 104mm (4.09 inches) wide. So your PS5, Xbox, or other common gaming system will be able to fit in these carry-on limits but if you have a lot of additional items or a very bulky bag, it’s possible that you could exceed the limit.

A lot of airlines are not super strict about the carry-on size and weight as long as it is small enough to fit in the overhead storage bin or under your seat.

But every now and again you may run into an agent who will measure your carry-on bag to make sure that it complies with the limitations. If it is too big, the agent will force you to check your bag which means that you will have to run the risk of your console getting damaged.

This is one reason you might at first consider placing your controllers in your checked baggage. The problem with this is that many controllers have lithium batteries which are prohibited in checked baggage. This is also the case with certain Nintendo products as well.

Therefore, I would avoid transporting video game controllers and small game consoles in your checked baggage.

So a better plan of action might be to carry them in your personal item, such as a backpack. Unless you have purchased a basic economy ticket or you are flying with a low budget carrier, you will be able to bring on a carry-on bag plus a personal item. The carry-on bag is typically a luggage bag or some sort of duffel bag while the personal item can be a backpack (usually on the smaller side but not always).

Your console could technically count as a personal item by itself (not inside a bag or case). You will need to make sure that it will fit under your seat, though. I would try to avoid walking around with the console without a bag or case because you could damage it and also call a lot of attention to yourself.

Remember that some airlines like Spirit and Frontier do not allow you to bring a carry-on item for free. So if you want to bring your console on a flight with them expect to pay up extra cash to make that happen.

International travel

If you are traveling at an international airport it is possible that the security agents may want to apply more scrutiny to your luggage if they discover that you have a large electronic item.

This is similar to traveling with a drone — your bulky console is just something that catches the attention of security more often.

They may want to swab your device for traces of explosives and closely inspect other items in your bag but if you have nothing to hide this should be a pretty painless process.

Carry-on or checked baggage

You can also take your gaming console on a plane by leaving it in your checked baggage.

This is NOT recommended for a couple of reasons.

Baggage handlers are not the most graceful when it comes to handling your checked baggage. So if you do decide to transport it in your checked baggage, do your best to wrap it with a lot of bubblewrap, foam or something similar to prevent damage.

The other reason is theft. While it is rare, some items do go missing from time to time after being dropped off with an airline.

A lot of these items tend to be expensive electronics such as cameras, tablets, etc. A gaming system could definitely fall into this category although some of them are quite large and would be more difficult for an agent to steal.

If you keep the gaming system with you the entire time as a carry-on you never have to run the risk of someone stealing it while you are away from it which gives a lot of passengers peace of mind.

Using your console on a plane

Some gamers may want to take things to the next level and power up their gaming console while on the plane. This is not a very good idea because of the power outlets capacity.

Most power systems on airplanes are limited to 75 watts of power per seat. If you wanted to play one of your PS5 games while on a plane you would need more than 140 watts of power. So trying to get your gaming fix while on the plane is not very feasible with large consoles.

However, if you have something like a Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite you should be able to play that on the plane no problem.

And in case you weren’t aware, airlines like United won’t allow you to plug in your own TV — you’ll have to settle for the seatback entertainment.

nintendo switch


Can I bring my PlayStation or Xbox controllers on a plane?

Yes, you are allowed to bring your controllers as a carry-on item.

Can I plug in my console on the plane?

The amount of power needed by a gaming console for active playing exceeds the limits usually available by the power outlets. So while you may be able to plug in your console it is not a good idea in a lot of cases. Some airlines also may prohibit you from plugging in a large electronic device such as a video game console.

What game consoles are allowed on planes?

Some of the common game consoles that are allowed on planes include:

Xbox One
Xbox 360
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 5 
Super Nintendo
Nintendo Wii

Can my game system have a game inside it when going through airport security?

If your console has a game inside it, you can still get it through security but I would recommend removing the game and transporting it in a separate case if possible. This will also help prevent your disc from getting scratched.

Can you play Nintendo Switch on a plane?

Yes, you can play a Nintendo Switch on a plane.

Can you bring CDs on a plane?

Yes, you can bring CDs, including CD games, on a plane.

Final word

TSA is very clear that you are allowed to bring gaming consoles through airport security or in your checked baggage. My advice would to always bring it as a carry-on and to pack it in such a way that it can be easily removed from your bag without being a tangled mess of wires and controllers.

Denver International Airport’s (DEN) Cell Phone Waiting Lot “Final Approach” Is Insane

Cell phone parking lots are excellent for providing a free waiting area while waiting to pick up passengers. Usually, these lots are small and at best may have basic amenities like nearby restrooms.

However, at Denver International Airport, they take the concept of cell phone waiting lots to the next level. In this article, I will provide a detailed overview of Denver International Airport’s (DEN) cell phone waiting lot, known as Final Approach.

What is DEN’s Final Approach?

Final Approach is the designated name for the cell phone waiting lot located near Denver International Airport (DEN). It offers a range of amenities you wouldn’t typically expect to find at a cell phone parking lot including: a food court, gas station, restrooms, convenience store, and car wash.

How close to the airport is Final Approach?

Final approach is located approximately three miles west of the Jeppesen Terminal.

On our visit, it took us about seven minutes to get to the terminal to pick up our passenger from the time that we exited the cell phone parking lot and we encountered minimal traffic.

So if you have the passenger text you when they are exiting the plane, that would be a good time to start to head over to the pick up terminal unless they have checked bags they need to pick up.

In that case, you want to probably wait until they tell you that the bags are starting to come out or better yet until they retrieve their bags. Like most other airports, they don’t allow you to wait around at the pick up area.

Related: Cell Phone Waiting Lot Airport Guide: What You Need to Know

What do they have at Final Approach?

When you visit Final Approach, you’ll find a spacious parking lot with 253 spaces, a large gas station, a convenient store, and, most importantly, the Final Approach food court.

There’s a partition between the main parking lot and the area with all of the dining options and the gas station but it is still adjacent to those facilities so you could easily walk over from the main parking lot if for some reason you can’t find parking in front of the facilities (which I think would be rare).

Denver's (DEN) Cell Phone Waiting Lot

The food court houses various restaurants including Dunkin’ Donuts, Aunt Annie’s, Schlotzsky’s, and Tia’s (a New Mexican restaurant). Some restaurants open up as early as 7 AM so you have a few different breakfast options.

Denver's (DEN) Cell Phone Waiting Lot final approach
Cell Phone Waiting Lot final approach food court
Cell Phone Waiting Lot final approach food court

Inside the food court, you’ll discover a multitude of tables and flight information screens, aiding you in keeping track of the status of your awaited flight. They even provide free Wi-Fi for your convenience.

Cell Phone Waiting Lot final approach food court

If you prefer to enjoy the outdoors, there are picnic tables available, perfect for a pleasant day.

Cell Phone Waiting Lot final approach food court outside

Adjacent to the Final Approach food court, you’ll find a convenience store called Rocket, accompanied by a large Phillips 66 gas station.

Cell Phone Waiting Lot final approach gas station
Cell Phone Waiting Lot final approach gas station

The convenience store also features a Wendy’s, boasting one of the largest drive-through entry signs I’ve ever seen. It remains open until midnight so if you’re visiting when the other places are closed (around 8pm), this may be your only option.

Inside the convenience store, you’ll encounter travel-themed decor with Colorado-themed outdoor accents.

Cell Phone Waiting Lot final approach convenience store

It’s one of the more upscale and equipped convenience stores you’ll come across, offering a convenient pit stop for snacks or beverages while awaiting your flight.

Cell Phone Waiting Lot final approach convenience store

The restroom facilities may not be on par with Buc-ee’s, but they certainly surpass the standards of your typical gas station convenience store. And there’s also a car wash outside.

Cell Phone Waiting Lot final approach car wash

Additionally, Final Approach serves as an ideal location to refuel your rental car before returning it. Hopefully, you didn’t pre-pay for your gas as that is often a rip-off!

From the parking lot near the convenience store, we were able to do some plane spotting. However, the departing flights were not very frequent, and we only caught glimpses of a few Southwest flights. Nevertheless, anything to help pass the time is always welcome.

Cell Phone Waiting Lot final approach plane spotting

One important tip for Denver International Airport is to clarify the terminal from which your passenger will be arriving.

There are separate terminals for the west and east, and although specific airlines are assigned to each, it’s possible for your passenger to end up in the wrong terminal, resulting in a long detour to reach them.

So, make sure to confirm the terminal with them to avoid any confusion and unnecessary driving on your part.

Final word

If you ever need to wait to pick up a passenger at Denver International Airport, the cell phone waiting lot is the ideal spot to be. It surpasses the typical cell phone waiting lot as it offers multiple dining choices, a spacious gas station and car wash, and a pleasant convenience store.

Dinosaur Ridge Review: A Prehistoric Trek with World-Class Tracks [2023]

Dinosaur Ridge is one of the most interesting sites to see when in the Denver area especially if you have an interest in geology or those prehistoric giants that we thankfully don’t have to co-exist with today.

There’s a lot to see at Dinosaur Ridge.

There are several museums, entry points, trails, and various ways to enjoy the experience, so it can be a bit overwhelming when you initially plan your visit to Dinosaur Ridge.

However, below, I’ll outline the different options for exploring this park and provide you with some of my personal recommendations to maximize your visit, drawing from my own experiences.

What is Dinosaur Ridge?

Dinosaur Ridge is a famous geological site located near Morrison, Colorado. It is known for its rich concentration of dinosaur fossils and remarkable dinosaur trackways.

The site gained prominence due to the numerous discoveries made in the late 19th century during the “Bone Wars” period. Many big time discoveries have been made in this area including those of dinosaurs such as Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, and Allosaurus.

At Dinosaur Ridge, you can easily explore a paved trail that showcases exposed layers of rock containing dinosaur footprints, bones, and other fossils.

In addition to the fossil exhibits, Dinosaur Ridge also features interpretive signs and exhibits along the trail, providing educational information about the geological formations, the history of dinosaur discoveries in the area, and the ancient environments in which these dinosaurs once roamed.

Dinosaur Ridge dinosaur track

How do you get to Dinosaur Ridge?

Dinosaur Ridge is located in Morrison, CO, just to the west of Denver.

There are multiple ways that you can start off your experience at Dinosaur Ridge which also means you can arrive at different spots.

For the most part, you’re going to be choosing from starting at the East Ridge or West Ridge.

I recommend starting at the East Ridge (Cretaceous Gate) since this is the main visitor center and the address is: 16831 W Alameda Pkwy, Morrison, CO 80465.

However, if there is little to no parking at the East Ridge then consider making your way over to the Dinosaur Ridge Discovery Center at the West Ridge (Jurassic Gate) located at: 17681 W Alameda Pkwy, Golden, CO 80401.

Here are the hours:

Summer & fall (May 1 – October 31)

  • Main Visitor Center: Daily, 9am-5pm
  • Exhibit Hall: Daily, 9am-5pm
  • Discovery Center: Daily, 9am-5pm
  • Guided Bus Tours: Daily, 9:30am-4pm
  • Walking Tours: Saturday & Sunday

Winter–spring (November 1 – April 30)

  • Main Visitor Center: Daily, 9am-4pm
  • Exhibit Hall: Daily, 9am-4pm
  • Discovery Center: Daily, 9am-4pm
  • Guided Bus Tours: Daily, 9:30am-3pm
  • Walking Tours: Saturday & Sunday

Want to support Dinosaur Ridge? Consider donating!

Dinosaur Ridge parking

The different ways to explore Dinosaur Ridge

For the most part, on this dino adventure you will be walking along a paved road (2.5 mile round-trip) and you can start from either end. But there are multiple ways to enjoy your journey at Dinosaur Ridge and I’ll go into those below.

Free walking tour

If you just want to tour the dinosaur foot prints and other sites on your own the good news is that you can do this for free.

Free parking is available at the visitor center and there is also some free parallel parking options right by the trail head. You can then explore the sites at your own pace and rely on the interpretive panels to give you some insight.

You’ll probably be able to make some sense of everything that you’re seeing but it does help to get additional insight through one of the methods below because let’s face it, there’s a lot you’ll be curious about when it comes to the dinosaurs, discoveries, and the millions of years of geology you’ll be exploring.

Dinosaur Ridge trail

Audio guides

Another option is to purchase an audio guide.

These can be purchased at the gift shop for $7, and you will simply enter an access code to activate them. As you encounter approximately a dozen locations, you’ll listen to a brief audio clip that provides background information about the site and aids in your understanding of what you’re observing.

In addition to this, you can also purchase a field guide.

Be on the lookout for special discounts and promotions as we were able to get the $7 audio guide for free!

Shuttle bus

For $20 per adult, you can rely on the shuttle bus to transport you, and a well-informed tour guide will offer continuous commentary about Dinosaur Ridge during the entire trip. If walking is not your preference or if you have any mobility limitations, this could be a great option.

Dinosaur Ridge trail shuttle bus

Special guided tours

On the weekends, they offer special guided tours. You can do a standard guided walking tour for $18 which should take you about two hours.

But one of the coolest things available is the ability to do it guided tours with a geologist, which you can do at Dinosaur Ridge Trail or at the nearby Triceratops Trail. This is something we are seriously considering doing on our next visit because I’m sure it’s a great opportunity to learn a ton.

Taking in the exhibits

There’s a small museum with a lot of cool dinosaur related exhibits that you can check out for $4 per adult. You’ll find this at the main visitor center, next-door to the gift shop.

Dinosaur Ridge exhibit

Package deals

You can also purchase package deals that will grant you a bus ride as well as entry into the Morrison Natural History Museum, which features fascinating dinosaur exhibits and interactive paleontology displays. If you want to go visit that museum, it’s about 10 minutes south from the main visitor center.

Hiking at Dinosaur Ridge

Dinosaur Ridge Trail is also a great place to do some moderate hiking. The walk on the paved street around the ridge is a hike in and of itself although pretty easy considering the gentle inclines and declines you’re dealing with. The standard path takes you about 2.5 miles round-trip.

Dinosaur Ridge trail

But if you want to get a little bit more exercise and enjoy better views, you can head up the Dakota Ridge Trail. This trail has multiple trailheads you can start from, but a good option is to take the trailhead that you will encounter along the way on Dinosaur Ridge Trail.

Dakota Ridge Trail head Dinosaur Ridge trail

I’d highly recommend at least going to the Arthur Lakes Overlook which is not that difficult to get to. But you can continue on the Dakota Ridge Trail for more impressive and expansive views.

You’ll have to deal with the sounds of traffic so you never really get a true nature escape but it’s still a fun trail to venture on. Just be aware that this is also a mountain biking trail so be on the lookout!

Dinosaur Ridge trail overlook

If you do choose to do the Dakota Ridge Trail and you track your movement on an app like AllTrails, your path will actually resemble the footprint of a dinosaur, perfectly aligning with the prehistoric allure of the trail.

Dinosaur Ridge trail

Our experience at Dinosaur Ridge

We pulled up to the main visitor center and found a host of live like dinosaur recreations including some beautifully painted ones. The parking lot was almost full and there appeared to be a couple of children groups visiting so it was a pretty lively seen.

By the way, as you would expect this is an awesome destination for kids and they can partake in lots of different activities including the “Seaway Fossil Box,” a replica dig environment that allows kids to sift for items like shark teeth and ammonites and even go home with a fossil that they find!

Dinosaur Ridge visitor center

We first hit up the gift shop to get our audio guide and free admission into the exhibits. I was impressed with all of the items in the gift shop which includes a lot of cool looking fossils and dinosaur bone recreations along with some interesting books. Because we are digital nomads now I don’t really accumulate souvenirs but it was very tempting to do that here!

Dinosaur Ridge gift shop

Upon arriving, if you’re not sure where you want to go or what you want to do, you can stop by the bright Dinosaur Ridge shed and get some guidance there.

Dinosaur Ridge shed

After arriving at the trailhead, we then set out on the Dinosaur Ridge Trail which follows the paved W Alameda Pkwy — a uniquely marked road closed off to the public.

Because there is very little shade and you likely will be exploring it while the sun is out, it’s a really good idea to carry some sunscreen with you and bring some extra water, which we made sure to do.

If you’re just doing the walking tour, you’ll stay on the right side of the road which is marked by pedestrian signage.

The shuttle bus will be driving just to the left of you so make sure you’re always aware of whether or not the bus is coming up on you. Also there will be bike lanes on the left side of the road and you obviously want to stay out of those if you are just on foot.

Dinosaur Ridge trail

One of the initial captivating sites we encountered was Crocodile Creek. It presented us with a glimpse into the past as we observed the tracks of crocodiles that date back a staggering 100 million years.

To enhance the experience, a well-constructed staircase now grants visitors a closer view of these ancient imprints. I was instantly awestruck by the abundance of remarkably preserved tracks, and my imagination couldn’t help but envision witnessing these magnificent crocodiles in their prime.

Make sure that you don’t miss some of the other interesting fossil sites where they discovered ancient critters and plant life. Throughout the trail you’ll find a lot of tiny placards that point out interesting prehistoric features in the rock so make sure you take your time as you progress through Dinosaur Ridge.

Dinosaur Ridge trail crocodile Creek

After passing through Crocodile Creek we made our way over to the ripples, which are remnants of early beaches. These type of remnants, along with other clues like shark teeth and the remains of prehistoric squid, give us enough evidence to determine that the entire region of the country was once covered in ocean which is extremely hard to envision given what the landscape looks like today.

Dinosaur Ridge trail ripples

Then we arrived at the main attraction—the huge wall of dinosaur footprints, rated #1 in the nation by paleontologists.

You’ll know you’re there when you see the big blue exterior.

To me, this is probably one of the coolest geological sites I’ve ever seen, and I’m not sure why it’s not a bigger deal. The fact that there are so many dinosaur footprints easily visible in one location is mind-boggling to me.

You’ll see footprints of all shapes and sizes. Make sure you look through the bottom right for some of the larger and iconic footprints.

Dinosaur Ridge trail dinosaur tracks

In case you find yourself needing to use the restroom, there is a bathroom facility at the primary visitor center and an additional portable toilet situated midway along the trail.

As you approach the bend along the ridge, there’s a pleasant viewpoint you can explore on the opposite side of the road. While the Denver skyline remains hidden behind Green Mountain, you still get a lovely perspective of the open basin landscape below.

Dinosaur Ridge trail overlook

As we ventured further along the trail, we stumbled upon a captivating geological marvel known as a “concretion.”

This intriguing natural phenomenon occurs when mineralization gradually envelops objects like pebbles, shells, sticks, and even bones, resulting in the formation of striking bowling ball-like structures. It’s always such a cool site to see when nature transforms ordinary objects into extraordinary formations.

Dinosaur Ridge trail concretion

Another awe-inspiring sight that captured our attention was the remnants of an ancient volcanic eruption, manifested in the form of a compressed ash layer. This geological phenomenon harkens back to a time over 100 million years ago when a volcano unleashed its fury hundreds of miles southwest from here. One can only imagine the site of the once-raging volcano, ash billowing into the sky, blotting out the sun.

Dinosaur Ridge trail ash layer

Around the turn of the ridge, you’ll encounter the Front Range Overlook and surely be impressed by the panoramic vistas that unfold before you which include a view of the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater.

The rock layers between you and the red rocks represent different ancient landscapes separated by millions of years. Gazing out at them, it feels as if you’re being transported through the annals of Earth’s history. It’s also just incredibly scenic.

Dinosaur Ridge trail Front Range overlook

After admiring the sweeping views, we went across the street to inspect one of the coolest tracks you’ll find which is the raptor track. This rare gem is a true treasure, as it is one of only twelve known raptor track sites in existence worldwide. It’s a relatively recent find, discovered in 2016.

Dinosaur Ridge trail raptor track

Continuing our expedition, it was now time to venture towards the “bulges.” These peculiar formations reveal themselves as sunken depressions in the earth’s surface, left behind by the weighty footfalls of colossal dinosaurs.

It is truly a captivating sight, offering a unique perspective of the hidden wonders concealed beneath the ground’s surface — truly a world frozen in time.

Dinosaur Ridge trail bulge

To conclude our tour, we proceeded towards the dinosaur bones, a segment of the ridge characterized by the presence of ancient Jurassic layers. It is within these very strata that numerous groundbreaking discoveries were initially unveiled. Notably, it was in this vicinity where the Stegosaurus first came to light in 1877, courtesy of Arthur Lakes — an esteemed scientist and historian hailing from Golden, Colorado.

Dinosaur Ridge trail bones

We then decided to turn around and head back to the Dakota Ridge Trailhead. We would end up hiking just under a mile on this trail which took us up about 300 feet in order to admire some great views.

The trail has some good incline to it so it can get your blood pumping pretty quick but it’s not overly strenuous making it a great way to incorporate a little bit of a workout into your visit. You’ll also encounter beautiful juniper and pine trees along the way.

Dakota Ridge Trail view

We then made our way back to our car and drove over to the main visitor center to check out the exhibit. It’s a pretty small museum but it contains a lot of really interesting exhibits.

You’ll witness awe-inspiring replicas of dinosaur bones and footprints, gaining extensive knowledge about the geological history of long-gone eras.

Whether it’s understanding how scientists unraveled the dietary habits of sauropods or examining ancient marine fossils, you’ll emerge from the museum captivated by these ancient creatures and the field of Ichnology.

Dinosaur Ridge  exhibit

Final word

Overall, I definitely think that Dinosaur Ridge is worth visiting.

Even if dinosaurs aren’t your main interest, it’s difficult not to be fascinated by the abundance of dinosaur tracks. As previously mentioned, this location is perhaps the best in the country to witness them.

With the help of interpretive panels, you’ll be able to piece together a lot of the information and learn a ton about the history of the changing landscape and the dinosaurs themselves.

For those really curious about these fossils and what they mean, I suggest looking into one of the guided tours with a geologist so that you can ask all the questions that you’d like.

Denver Mint Review: A Billion Reasons to Visit This Shiny Establishment [2023]

The Denver Mint is a fascinating destination where visitors can witness the production of thousands of freshly minted coins that circulate in the American economy.

As one of the few US Mint facilities offering tours, it provides an opportunity to explore the history and process of coin production firsthand.

With its rich architectural heritage and extensive collection of historic and collectible coins, the Denver Mint offers a unique and memorable experience for coin enthusiasts and curious visitors alike.

However, securing tour tickets may require some planning and patience and it’s not always so easy, so in this article I will tell you everything you need to know in order to have a memorable visit to the Denver Mint.

What is the Denver Mint?

The US Mint is a federal agency responsible for producing and circulating coins in the United States. The Denver Mint is one of several production facilities operated by the US Mint, alongside those in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and West Point. (Denver and Philadelphia are the only sites offering tours.)

The US Mint Denver primarily focuses on the production of circulating coins, including pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half-dollars. It also produces uncirculated collector sets, commemorative coins, and coin dies.

The Denver Mint has a rich history, having been around as an assay office since the Colorado Gold Rush days in the 1860s. But it wasn’t until 1906 that the Denver Mint had his first coin struck, soon minting about 2.1 million gold and silver coins in one year.

Today, it makes billions of coins per year and continues to be an essential component of the US coinage system.

Denver Mint entrance gate

How to tour the Denver Mint

When it comes to visiting the Denver Mint, it’s worth knowing that it differs from a typical museum experience where you simply walk up, enter the building, and immediately immerse yourself in the sights.

You cannot purchase tickets online for your Denver Mint visit and instead you need to snag these in person.

Tour tickets can be obtained from the Tour Information Window located on Cherokee Street, situated between Colfax Avenue and West 14th Avenue. Once you get close to the area, you’ll see a lot of signs pointing you towards the Mint so it’s really hard to miss.

Denver Mint sign

The window opens at 7 a.m. from Monday to Thursday (excluding federal holidays), and it will continue to operate until all tickets have been distributed.

As for the tour schedule, tours are offered Monday through Thursday (excluding observed federal holidays) at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3:30 p.m.

However, please take note: tour schedules and availability fluctuate daily. There may be occasions when tours are unavailable, and cancellations may occur without prior notice.

Tours will also be closed on the following days:

  • May 29, 2023
  • June 19, 2023
  • July 4, 2023
  • September 4, 2023
  • October 9, 2023
  • November 9, 2023
  • December 25, 2023

Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited to 5 per person. Also, all visitors must be 7 years and older.

Because these are issued on a first come, first serve basis, you really want to arrive there early to secure your tickets.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it gets very busy here and it can become more difficult to secure tickets which is why a lot of people arrive extra early. We were told stories of people essentially camping out on the street!

The busiest days of the week are Monday and Thursday because it’s the first and last day available for the tours so if you’re trying to make it easier on yourself Tuesday and Wednesday may be the best days to go.

If you arrive in the morning during the peak times, there will likely be a line forming outside of the ticket gate and because there are only 20 (sometimes 23) slots available per tour, this means that some people may be turned away.

When it gets really busy, an agent will walk down the line taking down the preferred tour times of each visitor so that they can quickly figure out when they are at capacity.

At some point, they may have to turn people away so it’s good to have a back up plan such as visiting the Colorado State Capitol and doing a tour there (which is also free), strolling around Civic Center Park, or checking out one of the many awesome museums in the area.

By the way, this being a federal building containing billions of dollars, they are pretty strict about what you can bring and not bring in. Here are the items that are prohibited and permitted during your visit to the Denver Mint:

Prohibited Items:

  • Purses, bags, backpacks
  • Food and drink
  • Lighters and matches
  • Weapons including pocket knives
  • Personal protective devices

Permitted Items:

  • Palm-sized wallet that fits in pocket
  • Powered off cameras/ cell phones
  • Umbrellas, walkers, wheelchairs
  • Empty water bottles
  • Medical necessities
Denver Mint ticket window

Where should you park and how much time do you need?

The tour is 45 minutes but you need to arrive there 30 minutes prior to your scheduled tour so you will be looking at at least one hour and 15 minutes of total time dedicated to the tour.

You also will likely want to visit the gift shop afterwards so depending on your interest, that could take you another 15 minutes or more to check out.

This means that you probably want to give yourself about 90 minutes of parking at a minimum.

But if you plan on arriving before the Mint opens as we did, you may want to give yourself two hours of parking which is the maximum amount the meters allow on the street.

Anytime we venture to Downtown Denver in this area we simply park at the Cultural Center Complex Garage. We gave ourselves four hours of parking which was plenty of time and that gave us additional time to explore some of the area near Civic Center Park.

Experiencing the Denver Mint

We arrived at 6:30 AM and were the first people in line so we knew we would be guaranteed a spot on the earliest slot beginning at 8 AM.

But this meant that we would have to be waiting around for about 30 minutes which wasn’t bad because the weather was okay but in other cases you may be standing outside in bad weather.

They do allow you to bring umbrellas so you could always bring one of those but make sure to keep an eye on the weather if you plan on arriving early.

There was an attendant outside who was chatting it up with us and other visitors while we waited for the ticket gate to open up. If you have any questions this is a good time to get some clarification but keep in mind your tour guide will have a lot of information to offer later on.

At 7 AM, the gates were opened and we were able to approach the ticket booth where we were issued two separate tickets with our tour information stamped on.

On your tickets, you’ll be reminded of the rules for visiting which are pretty strict so don’t forget about them!

Once we were given our tickets we then had 30 minutes to kill. One thing you can do to pass some time is to stroll around the block.

Be sure to check out the front of the Denver Mint building (facing Colfax) which has a really impressive entrance.

You can’t go in past the gate but if you could enter, you’d be astonished by the beauty of the Tennessee marble window surrounds and red and white marble from Vermont which is used for the walls of the interior.

It also boasts beautiful brass and stained glass chandeliers manufactured from Manhattan along with Vincent Aderente murals.

While you can’t check out the interior, you can still snap a pretty good photo of the exterior from the sidewalk or the steps. It’s hard not to be impressed by the Gothic renaissance architecture as this building was modeled after the Medici Ricciardi Palace in Florence, Italy.

Denver Mint exterior

It’s an interesting building because when viewed from the street it appears to only be two stories high but it’s actually a five story building. Take note of the beautiful stone exterior which is granite sourced from Arkins Quarry, west of Loveland, Colorado.

Denver Mint exterior

You can also just walk around the block to get a sense of how big the Denver Mint facility is.

Throughout the years, additional sections have been added to meet the growing demands for space.

However, like the ups and downs of financial markets, the expansion process hasn’t always followed a seamless trajectory.

Not all of the additions met the aesthetic preferences of the public, leading to discontent among Denver residents. Lots of outcry and debate went down. At one juncture, concerns arose regarding the capacity of the existing facilities, raising serious deliberations about relocating to Littleton, just outside Denver. Of course, this was blasphemy to some locals.

Denver Mint doors

As you walk around and try to piece together the new sections, you might encounter some delivery trucks along the way. It’s best to avoid getting in their way, naturally.

Denver Mint delivery truck

If you want to go beyond the block, you could venture a little bit downtown or just sit around by the tour entrance gate which is just down the sidewalk from where you are issued your ticket. Just don’t venture too far though because they will not admit to you if you are late.

Denver Mint

At 7:30 AM a friendly federal police officer lined us up along the railing and discussed everything we needed to know about the tour.

In essence, they reiterated the prohibited items, such as weapons, bags, food and drink, and because this is Colorado they emphasized that you should avoid bringing items inside that are allowed at the state level but not at the federal level (i.e., marijuana).

Another big thing that you have to do is to completely power off your cell phone.

You can’t have it on anywhere inside of the facility and you’re also not allowed to take photos of any kind. Kind of a bummer especially for a travel blogger like myself but obviously understandable given the potential security issues involved.

Then it was time to go through security which is your typical walk through metal detector experience.

Their metal detectors are programmed to be extra sensitive, so if you have bulky jewelry items that sometimes set off metal detectors at the airport, there is a high chance that those will go off here.

After passing through security, you’ll find a two-level museum where you can explore numerous exhibits that delve into the history of currency worldwide.

It’s pretty interesting to see how civilizations have utilized different materials to exchange goods such as spices, jewels, etc. Who knew you once could pay taxes with peppercorn?

This is also where we received our complementary souvenir — an uncirculated penny and accompanying blank! Pretty cool.

Denver mint penny blank

They also have bathrooms and a water fountain inside here (with water bottle refill station).

Once you get done exploring you can have a seat on one of the benches in the hallway on the second floor which is where the experience is going to begin.

They will play a short introduction video that gives you a good overview of the different US Mint facilities around the country. From the fortified stronghold of Fort Knox, where unimaginable treasures are safeguarded, to the prestigious grounds of West Point, learn about the different areas each location specializes in.

Once you have completed the video, it is time to proceed and enter the facility. Inside, you will have the opportunity to observe the bustling activity of the minting process through expansive windows.

Fun fact: The Denver Mint makes an appearance in the 1993 Sylvester Stallone film “Cliffhanger.”

Since this is a factory, it’s somewhat unpredictable and it’s possible that you won’t see any coins getting minted but it sounds like that would be very rare.

In our case, we saw droves of coins getting minted including jackpots of pennies and dimes.

These were coming out at an incredibly fast pace which makes sense considering that the Denver Mint has a production capacity of more than 50 million coins a day!

How do you know if your coins from the Denver Mint? Look for the “D” as seen below on the quarter.

Quarter showing letter D for Denver mint

As you watch freshly minted coins make their way through the factory conveyor belts en route to counting machines, you can learn about the entire minting process including: blanking, annealing, upsetting, striking, and waffling.

There’s actually a lot of jargon to digest but it’s a fun learning experience and really cool to makes sense of all of the rhythmic machine movements you’re witnessing below you in the factory.

In addition to watching the pressing process, you’ll be able to check out some interesting artifacts that take you through the history of minting like the Millionaire Calculating Machine used at the Denver Mint in the early 1900s to calculate deposits of gold and silver.

After getting down the basics of the minting process, we then moved along into an area focused on quarters.

I was always vaguely aware of the special quarters that were issued over the past couple of decades but our visit to the mint helped me to get a clearer picture and honestly created some interest in collecting these.

We were able to get a good overview of the State Quarters Program (1999 to 2008), America the Beautiful Quarters Program (2010 to 2021), and the new American Women Quarters which will feature five new coins every year through 2025.

This new collection will feature the lives of extraordinary woman throughout the US history like Eleanor Roosevelt and Bessie Coleman, the first African American and first Native American woman licensed pilot.

Viewing a wide range of well-preserved coins up close, their pristine condition gleaming brightly, sparked a true sense of appreciation within me. I definitely gained a deeper understanding of the immense effort and skill required to create these miniature masterpieces.

(The artists create these at the Philadelphia Mint which is just another reason why it would be worth visiting the one on the East Coast.)

Another highlight is being able to see over $2 million in gold bars with your own eyes although don’t expect to get too close. And don’t get any ideas. The Denver Mint has its own intriguing history involving an attempted gold smuggling incident, which you’ll learn all about during the tour.

What’s truly mind-boggling is that the gleaming gold you lay your eyes on is just the mere tip of the colossal gilded iceberg. Prepare to be amazed as your guide reveals the staggering amount of gold that is securely guarded by the Mint. It’s like a Rocky Mountain Gringotts down there.

Gold bars

In between checking out collections of uncirculated coins, unique exhibits, and watching thousands of dollars worth of coins prepare to enter the world’s largest economy, your tour guide will be filling you in on a lot of interesting details about the Mint’s history and will also be fielding questions from guests like a pro.

Our tour guide, Michael, was also very knowledgeable and fun and gave us a whole lot of insight!

After we wrapped up the tour, we decided to check out the gift shop which I would highly recommend.

If you are a coin collector or just getting started in coin collecting, this gift shop is going to have a lot to offer you. They had all types of novelty items and as you would expect an extensive selection of historic coins that would make for terrific gifts.

In addition to all of the collectible items, they also had a lot of the standard souvenir items you’d expect to find.

Final word

The Denver Mint is quite simply a unique experience. it’s not every day that you get to watch thousands of coins get freshly minted on the way to the American economy. While getting your ticket and admission into the Mint is not as easy as a standard tour, it’s worth the extra hassle to experience something so special.

Colorado State Capitol Tour Review: Stunning Architecture & Historic Corridors

There’s just something about visiting state capitals that is so charming and interesting.

Within their hallowed halls, colossal government decisions take shape, impacting the lives of countless individuals annually. If only the walls could whisper their stories, they would regale us with captivating tales of power, progress, conflict, and change.

Yet, state capitals are not mere bureaucratic centers; they are treasure troves of history, where the past echoes through opulent architecture and resonates within artistic masterpieces. And in Denver, the Colorado State Capitol epitomizes this.

Below, I’ll give you everything you need to know about visiting the Colorado State Capitol. I’ll provide you with the inside scoop on the tours and some interesting information to help you best prepare for your visit! I’ll also share a lot of photos of the Capitol, giving you a virtual tour of sorts.

How to tour the Colorado State Capitol

The Colorado State Capitol is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 5 PM.

The tours of the Capitol building are offered Monday through Friday and are 100% free. Typically, the daily tours are offered four times a day: 10 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM, and 2 PM. Each tour is limited to a total of 15 people and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Because the tour schedule is subject to change, it’s a good idea to contact the Capitol before visiting. You can do so by calling 303-866-2604.

If you’re coming in with a vehicle, recommended parking garages include: Denver Post Building Garage and Cultural Center Complex Garage. There is some street parking available around the perimeter of the park but it is limited in availability.

Personally, we like to park at the Cultural Center Complex Garage because it’s so easy to find a spot and they also have EV parking.

Colorado State Capitol stairs leading to entrance

Our experience touring the Colorado State Capitol

We arrived around 10:30 AM to the capitol building after not having any luck with openings for the US Mint Tour.

We made our way through the security line and and then went up to the front desk to schedule a tour. They told us that one would be available at 11 AM, took down our names, gave us our tour stickers, and then all we had to do was wait around a little bit.

Colorado State Capitol display case

If you plan on doing the capital tour I would suggest you to do three things:

First, if it’s going to be a warm day, consider wearing lightweight clothes or layers that you can remove later, as it tends to get quite warm inside the Capitol building.

Second, have a bottle of water with you as you will probably work up some thirst. If you go downstairs there is a snack bar so you can grab a snack or perhaps some water before you start your tour.

Thirdly, be sure to pick up the Colorado State Capitol visitor guide, which is available right after passing through security. It contains a useful map at the back that will help you navigate this immense Capitol building.

Colorado State Capitol snack bar

Right at 11AM, we met up by the flags near the information desk and our guide was right on time.

She was very friendly and knowledgeable and gave us a lot of insight into the history of the state of Colorado to kick off the tour.

We proceeded to the “Women’s Gold Tapestry,” a hand-stitched embroidery measuring 9 x 12 feet. It took 4,500 hours and two years to complete, and serves as a tribute to the bravery, resilience, and sacrifices of women in Colorado. You can delve into the tapestry’s story and explore the history it portrays with your guide.

Colorado State Capitol women's gold tapestry

Our guide then told us about some of the fascinating details regarding the Capitol’s construction and design.

To my surprise, I learned that the architect responsible for this building, Elijah E. Myers, also designed the capitol buildings in Texas and Michigan. It took 15 years to finish the building which occurred in 1901 although some of the offices were in use before then.

The original building committee was determined to utilize local materials, and thus it comes as no surprise that the exterior of the capitol building, with walls up to 5 feet thick, is constructed from granite sourced from Gunnison, Colorado.

And the gold dome? It was adorned with thinner-than-tissue-paper gold leaf back in 1908, using gold sourced from a Colorado mine. In 2013, the gold was refreshed with 149 gold rolls, totaling 64.5 ounces of gold.

Colorado State Capitol front lawn with view of gold dome

Another unique and noteworthy feature of the building is the onyx used in its construction. The exquisite pinkish stone, known as “rose onyx,” was found in Palua, Colorado (the stone is actually a form of oxidized limestone).

The installation of this rare onyx took seven years to complete, and it is said that this particular type of onyx cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Within the intricate patterns of this onyx, observers over the years have discovered a captivating menagerie of shapes, ranging from the silhouette of a turkey to the iconic visage of Molly Brown herself!

Seeing this rare stone up close is a treat and allowing your imagination to unravel the secrets hidden within the walls is definitely a highlight of the experience.

Colorado State Capitol rose onyx

The floors also hold significance as they are made of Yule marble from Marble, Colorado. This is the same type of marble used in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C, forging an interesting link between these esteemed structures and lending an air of shared history.

Colorado State Capitol Yule marble and rose onyx

The only exceptions to Colorado-sourced materials are the brass and white oak found amid these stately quarters.

The intricately carved white oak, embellishing specific doorways, originates from the Ozark mountains in Arkansas and Missouri, while the brass used in the light fixtures and balusters was cast in Louisville and Cincinnati.

The light fixtures found in the Capitol building are intriguing because they were created during a period when builders harbored doubts about electrical lighting. As a result, they were constructed with the versatility to be powered by either gas or electricity.

Colorado State Capitol brass light fixtures and white oak trim

After getting the scoop on all of the building materials, we then made our way over to the grand staircase which is a beautiful staircase found in the heart of the rotunda on the first floor. It features 57 steps and 176 brass balusters and if you ask me, it’s quite a masterpiece.

Colorado State Capitol grand staircase with murals

It’s adorned with oak leaves and acorns cast in brass. Don’t forget to cast your eyes skyward and behold the awe-inspiring sight of the rotunda ceiling which rises about 180 feet above you.

Colorado State Capitol grand staircase looking up into dome

Surrounding the staircase are eight murals completed in 1940. They depict the story of Colorado’s water, accompanied by the poetic words of Thomas Farrell.

Colorado State Capitol grand staircase looking down at murals

The artist behind these murals, Allen True, also painted some of the murals found in Civic Center Park.

Colorado State Capitol murals

After examining the murals, we proceeded to the second level to catch a glimpse of the former Colorado Supreme Court, situated in the northern wing of the Capitol building. It is worth noting that the Supreme Court has since been relocated just across the street, so now this historic room is used for legislative meetings and hearings.

Colorado State Capitol former Colorado Supreme Court

After that, we would take the stairs up to the third-floor although if you are not able to take the stairs or choose not to, there are accessible elevators.

We headed to view the impressive House of Representatives, where lawmakers convene to debate and shape the future of Colorado.

In Colorado, it comprises 65 members who serve two-year terms, with each member representing approximately 89,000 people. Be sure to take note of the rules before entering the room, including the requirement to remove your hat.

Colorado State Capitol House of Representatives

You can also go into the Senate chambers although on the tour for the sake of time they did not take us through there (we visited it later).

It’s another beautiful venue that is located on the same floor as the House. You’ll see 11 windows on the back wall of the Senate chamber but there are actually 12 windows as one is hidden right behind the Senate presidents dais.

Colorado State Capitol Senate chambers

On that level, you can also explore the Senate hearing rooms and a press room where you have the opportunity to stand behind the podium and capture a stylish photo.

Colorado State Capitol Senate press room

Next, we visited the rotunda where you’ll find portraits of all the presidents of the U.S. The portraits are displayed once the president’s term is completed, which is why we didn’t see Joe Biden in 2023. This was one of my favorite parts of the Capitol, as it’s a very beautiful area.

Colorado State Capitol portraits of past presidents

Then it was time for the tour to head up beyond level 3.

There are no elevators to head up there so if you have mobility issues and/or the idea of hitting up 99 stairs does not appeal to you, you may want to opt for a different option which is a video that plays and shows you what you would be seen.

We opted to take the stairs up which honestly were not that bad.

First, you’ll go up a few sets of stair cases which takes you to a small museum.

The museum, which is called “Mr. Brown’s attic,” covers all things Colorado and has some interesting insight into the capitol. This area is open to the public (no tour needed) between 10 AM and 3 PM and you find it between level three and the dome.

Colorado State Capitol Mr. Brown's attic museum

If you’re taking the guided tour, you can continue on for the dome walk. You’ll be handed off to some guides who will take the group up some fairly narrow stairs to the observation deck.

The stairs might seem a bit daunting, but before you realize it, you’ll be up at the observation area.

Colorado State Capitol stairs leading to dome

From the dome there are some great views of the Denver skyline, the City and County building across from Civic Center Park, and often the Front Range mountains. During our visit, a delightful breeze swept through, making the experience even more enjoyable and I’d even say romantic.

Colorado State Capitol views from dome of downtown Denver

While the temperature was great, we visited on a day when the smoke was still clearing from fires but we could just barely make out some of the mountains.

Up there you’ll also find markers that indicate the direction of famous landmarks such as Pikes Peak.

Colorado State Capitol views from dome of downtown Denver

While you’re up there, take a moment to admire the stained glass windows below.

Installed in 1900, these 16 windows form the renowned Colorado Hall of Fame. There are little interpretive panels hanging on the railing that you can read to learn a little bit more about each of these individuals such as John Evans, the founder of the University of Denver.

Colorado State Capitol stained glass windows

A gnarly spiral staircase heads up a few more stories but that staircase was off-limits to us.

Colorado State Capitol spiral staircase in dome

After the tour, we were able to head down from the observation deck and then explore the Capitol building ourselves.

Make sure that you head out to the front of the building to check out the famous “mile high” steps which have their own unique history.

There are multiple markers on the steps which illustrate how advances were made in surveying and engineering over the years as surveyors attempted to precisely determine the elevation of the steps.

If you’re looking for the official marker, it’s going to be on the 13th step which was installed in 2003 and as far as we know, it’s the most accurate.

Colorado State Capitol geological marker

Final word

Overall, I enjoyed our tour and it did help to get some special insight into the formation of the state of Colorado and the Capitol building itself. If you’re the type of person who likes to follow along on tours, I think it’s worth it especially because it’s completely free.

Personally, I’d like to do my own exploring and with the visitors guide and a little bit of pre-visit research, I think you could probably appreciate everything on your own without missing out on too much if you choose to not do the tour.

However, the one big thing you will miss out on is being able to climb up into the dome and appreciate the views and architecture up there which is definitely a major highlight of the tour.

Littleton Museum Review: An Immersive Living History Experience

The outskirts of Denver are teeming with captivating historical sites and museums that collectively weave together the rich pioneer heritage of the city.

Among these noteworthy attractions is the Littleton Museum, featuring a working farm and an array of well-preserved historic structures.

In this article, I will provide you with all the essential info for visiting this museum and offer some valuable tips to ensure an unforgettable experience during your visit.

What is the Littleton Museum?

The Littleton Museum is a museum found in Littleton, Colorado, offering visitors a remarkable journey through time where they can explore original structures from the 1800s.

The museum boasts working farms that authentically depict the lifestyles and activities of different eras, allowing visitors to interact with interpreters and gain insights into the daily lives of pioneers and settlers.

For those looking for something to do indoors, exhibits — both permanent and temporary — showcase the stories, artifacts, and traditions that have shaped Littleton through the decades.

From enlightening historical exhibitions to engaging community events like concerts on the front lawn, the Littleton Museum celebrates the past, present, and future, inviting visitors to explore, learn, and connect with the local heritage.

Littleton Museum cabin

Parking and admission for the Littleton Museum

The Littleton Museum is free to visit for all but consider making a donation whenever you visit or purchasing something from the gift shop in order to help support this free museum.

The museum provides ample parking space right in front, with a convenient and spacious lot that offers free parking.

Tip: Before concluding your visit, be sure to explore the World War II memorial located just across from the parking area.

Littleton Museum

Our experience at the Littleton Museum

We reached the museum promptly as it opened on a splendid Saturday morning. The receptionists warmly greeted us and provided a brief introduction to the museum. And we made sure to grab a map.

Opting to begin with the outdoor living history exhibits, we chose to explore the 1860s display first, as it seemed fitting to follow a chronological order and save the 1890s exhibit for later.

Here, you can find actual structures that existed during the pioneer days which is one of the major draws of the park.

Regrettably, our timing was not ideal when we visited the museum.

Not only were they preparing to launch a new exhibit in just a few weeks, but there was also a shortage of interpretive staff at the park, resulting in the closure of several structures such as the schoolhouse and the blacksmith shop.

The museum does offer a schedule for the farms, which you can obtain upon arrival to be informed about the closures. However, since it’s not available beforehand, you won’t have that information until you arrive.

So my biggest tip for visiting this museum is to call ahead before you visit and verify that everything will be open so that you can have the best experience. At the end of the day, the museum is free so it’s not like it’s that big of a burden to come back if you have the time.

The 1860s farm is the primary location to see a variety of animals. They have a diverse selection, including oxen, pigs, turkeys, lambs, and donkeys among others. With all of these animals easily viewable and hardly shy, it’s no wonder this place is such a hit with kids.

Littleton Museum sheep

It was evident that all the animals were well taken care of and in excellent health, enhancing our visit. There’s nothing more disheartening than encountering animals that appear neglected and deprived of the attention they require.

Littleton Museum pig
Littleton Museum oxen
Littleton Museum geese

Located on the expansive 1860s farm, you’ll come across a charming old log cabin that once belonged to one of the McBroom brothers. A relocated piece of history, it’s beautifully preserved and restored, allowing you to experience firsthand the essence of Colorado’s pioneering spirit.

Littleton Museum cabin

Some of the additional buildings worth exploring are the icehouse, operated by the Beers sisters, where dairy products were chilled using massive 200-pound blocks of ice harvested from a nearby frozen lake. Make sure not to overlook the 1865 School House, a significant historical landmark as Littleton’s first-ever school.

Littleton Museum schoolhouse

If you are able to catch one of the historical interpreters who would likely be wearing clothing from the era, they can provide you with a lot of insight into what life was like in a world devoid of modern conveniences like Wi-Fi.

Find out firsthand the type of chores they had like maintaining their gardens and animals or even learn about special things like how coffee was made in the 1860s.

One of the best things about a living history museum like this is that it’s a prime place to ask all of the questions you can. Many of the interpreters have dedicated years to the farm and possess a wealth of knowledge that they are enthusiastic to share. You can certainly learn a ton. So don’t be shy!

In between the farms there’s an interesting little area called “gazebo island” which is a very relaxing place to get a break from the sun and just to chill out, while enjoying the company of some pretty ducks.

It’s surrounded by beautiful greenish water and it opens up to Ketring Lake. There’s also a fishing dock so you might want to check with the museum about fishing opportunities.

After checking out the water, we made our way to the 1890s farm which houses a farmhouse, garden, windmill, blacksmith shop, and barn.

As mentioned earlier, the blacksmith shop, which is a reconstruction set in 1903, was not open for us. That wasn’t a huge problem because we had just visited the Four Mile House Park, which also has a blacksmith shop that we were able to explore.

Four Mile House is a very similar type of destination and houses the oldest standing structure in the Denver area — a house that was once used for weary pioneers coming in on the Cherokee Trail and Smoky Hill Trail.

Littleton Museum blacksmith

But back to our visit, we made our way inside the barn where an interpreter was actively engaged in the delicate art of cow milking — a captivating sight to behold and something I had never seen with my own eyes before.

The interpreter, armed with a wealth of dairy knowledge, gladly spilled the beans (or rather, milk) about all things related to milking cows and the history behind it. I was intrigued to learn about the diverse breeds of cows and the varying levels of fat content and protein composition they are capable of producing.

Littleton Museum farm house

From there, we ventured into the main building of the museum, where a history exhibit of Littleton awaited us. This exhibit delves into the city’s rich past, shedding light on its connection to the dairy industry and other noteworthy sectors.

It’s also a great place to learn about the complexities involving water rights in the area along with the catastrophic 1965 flood that we had previously learned some about when we visited Confluence Park — one of the main recreation spots in Denver.

Littleton Museum

I really enjoyed learning about the various aspects of Littleton, including the individuals who established the city and its eventual shift from agriculture to industry.

Littleton Museum

After this visit and our previous visit to the Aurora Museum, I really started to feel like I was able to piece together a lot of the the fragments of Denver’s history, spanning all the way back to the 1800s.

I think there is something to be said about checking out these smaller museums as they offer a long-tail method of delving into the history of a region, in a way that the huge museums just can’t quite pull off.

Something else interesting about the Littleton Museum is that they put on concerts on Wednesday evenings in the front lawn. You’ll have a chance to hear a little bit of everything here, spanning from the calming tunes of acoustic folk to the electrifying rhythms of Chicago blues and rock ‘n’ roll.

These concerts take place all through the summer and you can bring your own food for a picnic while other times tantalizing food trucks join the festivities.

You can check out their Facebook page for more details about the concerts but it’s a great opportunity to take part in the Littleton community.

Final word

In conclusion, the Littleton Museum offers a captivating journey through time, allowing visitors to explore original structures from the 1800s and experience the daily lives of pioneers and settlers.

Despite our timing not being ideal due to closures and staff shortage during our visit, the museum still provided a delightful experience with well-cared-for animals and a knowledgeable interpreter.

With its captivating displays, live animals, and entertaining concert evenings, the Littleton Museum delivers a unique and memorable experience.

Denver’s Civic Center Park Guide: Impressive Monuments, Art, & Architecture [2023]

Denver’s Civic Center Park offers a plethora of sites to see, making it an ideal location for a leisurely stroll or a fun afternoon of exploration.

You can easily spend a few hours admiring the captivating public art, remarkable architecture, expansive green spaces, and significant historical sites.

In this article, allow me to guide you through the prominent landmarks, providing valuable insights to enhance your appreciation of the surroundings. I’ll break down all of the major highlights so that you won’t miss anything and can just focus on soaking everything in.

What is Civic Center Park?

Civic Center Park is a prominent urban park located in the heart of Downtown Denver, Colorado, that serves as a focal point for civic and cultural activities.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the park spans approximately 12.4 acres and is surrounded by historic government buildings, including the Colorado State Capitol and the Denver City and County Building.

It’s an ideal destination for visitors to engage in sightseeing and exploration, and its close proximity to downtown Denver also serves as a convenient starting point for exploring downtown attractions.

Tip: if you’re looking for a park to get some good exercise in, consider checking out Confluence Park.

Denver's Civic Center Park

How to get to Civic Center Park

Civic Center Park sits merely one block away from RTD’s Civic Center Station, ensuring convenient access via the 16th Street FREE MallRide and Light Rail.

Moreover, the park is conveniently served by several RTD bus routes, including 0, 15, 15L, 16, and 52, which make stops in close proximity.

If you’re coming in with a vehicle, recommended parking garages include: Denver Post Building Garage and Cultural Center Complex Garage. There is some street parking available around the perimeter of the park but it is limited in availability.

Personally, we like to park at the Cultural Center Complex Garage because it’s so easy to find a spot and they also have EV parking.

Denver's Civic Center Park capitol building

Visiting Civic Center Park

One of the captivating aspects of Civic Center Park is its remarkable architecture.

The park is surrounded by a collection of historic buildings, many over a century old, that exude grandeur and elegance. These architectural gems were inspired by the City Beautiful movement, a nationwide initiative that sought to create visually stunning and harmonious urban spaces.

In Denver, Mayor Robert Speer played a pivotal role in championing this movement from the time of his election in 1904 until his passing in 1918.

Speer held the belief that the City Beautiful movement would serve as a platform to not only highlight Denver’s allure but also entice tourists, fitness enthusiasts, and potential residents. This, in turn, would cultivate a sense of civic pride and guarantee the city’s prosperity.

We entered from the side of the Denver Art Museum which took us directly through the The Greek Amphitheater. Erected in the year 1919, this architectural gem was born from the collective vision of Denver’s esteemed architects Marean & Norton, in collaboration with the renowned Chicago architect Edward H. Bennet.

As we stepped foot into the theatre’s embrace, we found ourselves mid-stage, amid the backdrop of the 210-foot-long semicircular “Colonnade of Civic Benefactors.” It’s a grand and timeless structure and on the inside it boasts intricate pioneer-themed murals, masterfully crafted by artist Allen Tupper True.

Upon completion in 1919, the Greek Theatre began to host regular vaudeville performances, concerts and other entertainment and even today concerts are still put on here.

As you stroll about the structure, you’ll surely be captivated by its commanding presence.

Denver's Civic Center Park Greek Amphitheater

After we left the amphitheater, we were immediately greeted by two additional statues, each with a tale to tell.

The first among them was the Bronco Buster Statue, a captivating tribute to Denver’s Wild West heritage. Crafted from bronze, this remarkable sculpture portrays a fearless cowboy engaged in the daring act of “bronco busting,” skillfully taming a wild horse for saddle riding.

Interestingly, the creation of this iconic piece carries a story entwined with the spirit of the Wild West itself. The model for the statue, Slim Ridings, found himself in the clutches of justice for horse theft. The artist behind the sculpture, Alexander Phimster Proctor, needed to finish the job so he was compelled to offer bail on behalf of Ridings in order to ensure the completion of the modeling job.

Denver's Civic Center Park Bronco Buster Statue

Standing near the Bronco Buster Statue, we encountered another well-done sculpture that commanded our attention: “On the War Trail.” This captivating work, also crafted by the talented hands of Alexander Phimster Proctor, serves as a tribute to the indigenous peoples of Colorado.

Denver's Civic Center Park On the War Trail statue

Within the park, we were delighted to discover the picturesque and serene flowerbeds, located at its center. These meticulously curated flowerbeds showcase 25,000 square feet of blooming flowers although some were still in the process of getting ready for the summer.

As we strolled through the park, we also couldn’t help but to appreciate vistas of the Denver skyline.

Tip: You can do your own self guided audio tour by listening to the tracks here.

Denver's Civic Center Park skyline view

Continuing our journey, a straightforward path led us to the Voorhies Memorial, an architectural gem constructed in 1919. This urban gateway held such significance that it necessitated the rerouting of Colfax Avenue.

Designed by the esteemed Denver architects Fisher & Fisher, the Voorhies Memorial stands as a testament to their vision and skill.

As you approach the memorial, you’ll be greeted by the Voorhies Memorial Seal Pond, featuring a magnificent 60-foot by 30-foot basin adorned with two bronze sea lions being joyfully ridden by cherubs.

Denver's Civic Center Park Voorhies Memorial

Adding to its allure, the memorial boasts captivating murals of a pair of elk and a pair of buffalo also created by Allen True. True also has murals adorning the State Capitol Rotunda and the iconic Brown Palace’s lobby.

Denver's Civic Center Park Voorhies Memorial

Our journey led us to the magnificent McNichols Civic Center Building, also known as The Carnegie Library, a significant landmark that holds the distinction of being the first structure erected on the new Civic Center site. Erected in 1909, this architectural gem stands as a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of the area.

Designed in the Greek Revival style by the talented architect Albert Ross of New York, The Carnegie Library embodies the grandeur and elegance associated with neoclassical aesthetics. Its stately presence pays homage to the principles of order and harmony, embraced by the City Beautiful movement.

Denver's Civic Center Park McNichols Civic Center Building

We then took a turn west to check out the Denver City and County Building. Designed in the neoclassical style by the renowned architect Frederick Sterner and built in 1932, the building showcases a Greek Revival architectural style and was kept low in height to preserve the Capitol building’s view of mountains.

One striking feature that caught our attention was the vibrant crosswalk mural in front of the building. The colorful mural, known as “Interwoven,” adds a bold splash of color to the otherwise grand and stately facade of the building.

Denver's Civic Center Park Denver City and County Building

Our exploration then took us further east, until we reached the intersection of Colfax and Broadway, a crossroads that holds a significant piece of Denver’s history: the Pioneer Monument.

A few days before our arrival at the intersection of Colfax and Broadway, we had the opportunity to explore the remarkable Four Mile House, an iconic structure that holds the distinction of being the oldest standing building in Denver. This historic house served as one of the pivotal stopovers for pioneers on their arduous journey to Denver.

Throughout the nearby pioneer trails, similar houses and taverns were marked with names like 4 Mile House, 17 Mile House, and so on. These names were derived from the distance measured from the very intersection we now stood at, adding some cool historical context to our visit.

Regrettably, the presence of barricades around the monuments and sculptures dampened our experience to some extent, making it nearly impossible to read the interpreter plaques.

This corner had a lot of homeless people sitting on the corner with some clearly drugged out of their mind while others were openly discussing the latest trends in fentanyl usage so you might want to move swiftly through this bus stop corner.

Pioneer Monument

As we made our way back into the park from the Pioneer Monument, we found ourselves surrounded by a collection of captivating monuments and memorials, each telling its own unique story.

Among them, the striking presence of the 10 Commandments monument. It’s allowed on government grounds because it’s not meant to endorse a religion but to represent a cornerstone of the American legal system.

Denver's Civic Center Park 10 Commandments

Another notable memorial we encountered was dedicated to Joe Martinez, a true hero and Colorado’s first recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Denver's Civic Center Park Joe Martinez memorial

Moving forward, we came across a memorial honoring Major General Maurice Rose, a remarkable figure in American military history. Hailing from Denver, Major General Rose held the distinguished title of being the most decorated armored battlefield commander in US military history.

Tragically, his life was cut short in Germany, just five weeks before the end of World War II, as he fell victim to enemy fire. His memorial is one of the newest additions to the park, being dedicated in April 2023.

Denver's Civic Center Park

Another must-see is the replica of the Liberty Bell. In 1950, as part of a savings bond campaign, the U.S. Department of the Treasury commissioned the casting of 50+ replicas of the Liberty Bell to represent each state or territory of the United States.

These replicas, weighing approximately 2,000 pounds each, were made from the original mold of the Liberty Bell, so they have the exact dimensions of the original bell. The replicas were distributed across the country and displayed at state capitals, major cities, and historic sites.

The idea was that they would help to promote patriotism, unity, and the importance of savings bonds and today you can find them across the US.

Denver's Civic Center Park Liberty Bell replica

Next we had to take a moment to appreciate the Colorado Fallen Heroes Memorial. Designed by Rosenman Associates Architects, it honors Coloradans killed during 20th and 21st century military conflicts: World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You’ll find it right in the middle of the park and it’s hard to miss, located near the giant obelisk designed to honor all branches of the military.

Denver's Civic Center Park

Then it was time to check out the magnificent Colorado State Capitol Building, opened in 1894. It’s a beautiful and unique structure known for its location at exactly 1 mile above sea level.

In fact, a rather famous step on the west side of the building’s entrance is engraved with the marker “One Mile Above Sea Level” and geological marker a few steps above marks the official elevation of Denver aka the “Mile High City.”

Denver's Civic Center Park mile high steps

Its architectural design draws inspiration from the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. and features a prominent Corinthian style. The exterior, crafted from exquisite white granite, exudes elegance.

The shiny dome soars to a height of 272 feet, adorned with copper panels that gleam with the luster of 24-karat gold leaf sourced from a Colorado mine. This golden embellishment, originally added in 1908, serves as a tribute to the historic Colorado Gold Rush.

Denver's Civic Center Park capitol building

At the forefront of the capital building, lies a site of contention where, in 2020 during the time of the BLM/George Floyd protests, one of the statues was toppled over.

This particular statue depicted a fictional union soldier, intended as a tribute to the Colorado soldiers who valiantly lost their lives fighting on the Union side during the Civil War.

However, some believed the statue had too close of a connection to the Sand Creek massacre. Hence, the toppling.

When the statue was dedicated in 1909, it listed Sand Creek as one of the battles engaged in by the soldiers and therefore did not offer an accurate depiction of the horrific events that took place.

It also was designed by Captain Jack Howland of the Colorado First Cavalry, one of the cavalries that participated in the massacre (although it’s not clear to me if Howland himself participated in the massacre).

A plaque was added in 1999 that explained the prior mischaracterization of listing Sand Creek as a “battle,” in an effort to correct the narrative. However, it has remained a hot-button issue in recent years, highlighting the inherent difficulties we face in grappling with the complex nature of history. Things often aren’t so black and white.

Denver's Civic Center Park capitol building civil war statue

We continued to walk around the Capitol building, checking out the views from each side, including some of its stained glass. Make sure to take a complete stroll so that you can also explore some of the other monuments tucked away on the opposite side, such as those dedicated to Japanese internment camps.

If you’d like to explore the interior of the capitol building, you can go on a free tour during the week.

Denver's Civic Center Park capitol building

Civic Center Park events

Throughout the year, you can find lots of events taking place at Civic Center Park like the gastronomic adventure of Civic Center EATS.

It’s also a place that often has something going on around holidays. Some of these type of events to look out for include:

  • March: St. Patrick’s Day parade culminated at Civic Center.
  • April: Flyhi 420 Festival, an annual pro-cannabis rally held on April 20.
  • May: Cinco de Mayo festival
  • June: People’s Fair, a bohemian festival featuring music, art, political booths, and various activities; PrideFest, the annual gay pride festival
  • Summer: the Greek amphitheater within Civic Center becomes the stage for various theater and music events.
  • September: A Taste of Colorado, a food and music festival held during Labor Day weekend in the park.
  • October: End point of a Columbus Day parade at the park
  • December: Parade of Lights culminated at the City and County Building, which remains adorned with holiday lights from the start of the parade until the end of the National Western Stock Show.

Final word

Denver’s Civic Center Park is undoubtedly a destination that should not be missed when visiting Denver.

With its abundance of stunning architecture, captivating historic monuments, and remarkable artwork, the park offers a feast for the eyes. It truly distinguishes itself as one of the better state capitol grounds I have ever come across, presenting an ideal setting for a leisurely exploration on a picturesque summer day in Denver.

TSA Lost and Found Guide: (How to Get Your Items Back) [2023]

If you think you’ve left an item at a TSA security checkpoint you are not alone as TSA estimates approximately 100,000 items are left behind each month. The good news is that you do have help to recover your item by utilizing the TSA lost and found.

In this article, I will break down everything you need to know about TSA lost and found and explain to you how the process works for filing and recovering your items.

Airlines, Airport, or TSA security?

The first step in retrieving a lost item is to figure out whom to contact. You may think that you need to contact TSA lost and found but that may not necessarily be the case.

When traveling via plane you typically will have three different potential sources to go to and these are broken down below.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!


If there is a chance that you left your item on the plane or near the boarding area then you should contact an agent for the respective airline.

Ideally, you will contact an agent located at the gate where you are arriving or better yet you might even be able to get in touch with a crew member from your flight.

Don’t be afraid to approach anybody, including the pilot. You might be surprised to see how eager some crew members can be to help you out.

If you get a hold of someone shortly after you arrive they may be able to run back on the plane and look for your lost item.

If you have already exited security and are hanging out in the baggage claim area you can speak to a representative there and they might be able to bring the item out to you if they locate it.

In other instances, such as when you have left the airport, you may need to file a claim online.

Typically, an airline will be working with a third-party provider to process the lost and found claims.

You’ll just need to fill out an online form and provide as much detail as possible including things like serial numbers in order for them to track down your item.

Usually, you will receive a confirmation email, and the airline will commit to searching for your item for up to 30 days. After that, they may destroy your item or simply sell it off.


If there is a possibility that your item might have been inadvertently left within the premises of the airport, whether it be in the seating area, terminal, restroom, or any other location, it is a good idea to inquire with the designated lost and found department of that particular airport facility.

Many airports have a dedicated lost and found phone number and/or email address that you can contact.

If you believe that you may have lost your item in a specific store or restaurant within the airport then try to get into contact with someone at that specific establishment.

That is not always easy to do so my pro tip is to consider contacting other nearby stores and asking their employees to walk over to the store and inquire about the lost item.


If you suspect that your item has been lost near the TSA security area then that is where you want to focus on the TSA lost and found. You can do this by contacting the airport and asking them to speak with the TSA lost and found.

You can find TSA lost and found phone numbers to contact online here. (Some of the airports may simply have an online form for you to fill out.)

Something very important to know is that at a number of airports, lost and found items are turned over from TSA to the airport at the end of each day.

This is why it is always still a good idea to check with the airport authority even if you left the item at the security checkpoint.

Tip: TSA Pre-Check allows you to keep your electronics in your bags when going through security and therefore decreases the risk of you leaving valuables behind.

Filing a TSA lost and found claim online

TSA collaborates with Rejjee/Traista for the handling of lost and found claims. Their partnership extends to more than 970 TSA checkpoints nationwide, and it has been reported that they have achieved a remarkable 300% increase in successful item recovery.

Filing a report with them is pretty easy and you can file the claim online here.

You just need to select the airport that you lost your item and then provide some contact information along with shipping information.

They will also ask you to input details regarding the lost items such as the category, approximate time, location description, and flight number.

They give you an opportunity to provide a detailed description of the item and I suggest that you brainstorm on anything that could make the item stand out.

This could be things like special markings or details, serial number, color, etc. The key is to provide as many unique details as possible.

This is one reason why people strongly recommend you to include some type of identification tag on your valuables. A small sticker on the bottom of your laptop could be the difference between you recovering it and never seeing it again.

Once your item is located you will still be required to verify proof of ownership.

 All property not claimed within 30 days is considered abandoned by law and may be recycled, auctioned, or otherwise discarded.

How the process actually works

Whenever you submit a claim the service provider will take your claim details and match it against the data they receive from the TSA.

They accomplish this with a proprietary method that utilizes artificial intelligence and complex algorithms.

There is some human oversight and involvement though so you are not completely dependent upon machines to locate your item.

Keep in mind that they only receive data on weekdays and not weekends or federal holidays. So if you lose an item over the weekend you likely will not be able to hear anything until the new week.

If there is a probability of a match, TSA will be notified and then they will confirm the final match and if everything is finalized they will then provide shipment options.

This means that you will receive a shipping quote from either FedEx or UPS. You should not be hit with any additional fees besides shipping so don’t worry about things like processing fees, claim fees, etc.

You can also pick up your item in person or designate an individual to pick it up for you at the airport.

Unclaimed items

TSA has a policy to hold onto your item for a minimum of 30 days.

If an item is never claimed after 30 days the item will either be destroyed, turned over to a state agency for surplus property, or sold by TSA as excess property. 

The state may dispose of the items through sales, destruction, donations or charities. The state keeps any money from the sales — not TSA.

The funds from the auction will go to the US Department of Treasury and into the general fund to pay towards the US national debt so at least your lost item is contributing to a better society.


Some airports and airlines will treat identification a little different from other lost items. For example, an airline may turn in your passport to a government agency for you to later recover.

TSA states that they apply the standard 30 day waiting period to your IDs and if they are not recovered they will be destroyed.


A lot of people get understandably worried when they realize that they have left electronics behind. TSA states that unclaimed electronics will have the memory removed and destroyed.

If the memory cannot be removed then the entire piece of equipment will be destroyed.

This is all done to protect private personal data and will only take place after the 30 day waiting period.


If you have left a firearm behind or even if you try to bring a firearm in your carry-on it will be turned over to local law-enforcement authorities and you might be subject to fines or criminal charges.

Related: TSA Approved Gun Case & Ammunition Guide

TSA agents and stolen items

Unfortunately, there have been many confirmed cases of TSA officers stealing items. There is even one agent who reportedly stole $800,000 worth of items. According to the TSA, 381 TSA officers were fired for theft between 2003 and 2012.

The TSA has pointed out that officers involved in theft represent “less than one-half of one percent of officers that have been employed” by TSA.

It doesn’t sound like theft is a widespread problem within the TSA but it is certainly something to keep your eyes out for if an object goes inexplicably missing

Related: TSA Checklist (Tips & PDF)

Final word

The key to increasing your odds of getting your valuables back is to act promptly when filing a claim, provide as much detail as possible, and make sure you are in communication with the right entity (airlines, airport, etc.)

Denver Confluence Park Ultimate Guide: Historic Waterways & Trails Await [2023]

Confluence Park is one of the major attractions in Denver.

Every day, it attracts lots of people looking to enjoy some nice scenery and perhaps partake in some exercise or take the dogs for a walk. It’s also a unique spot because of its rich history and unique geography.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting Confluence Park. From expertly planning your itinerary to optimizing every moment of your time there, I will provide you with a comprehensive guide that leaves no river stone unturned.

What is Confluence Park?

Confluence Park is one of several urban parks located in Downtown Denver. It’s found at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek and this urban oasis is known for its history as well as its outdoor recreation opportunities which includes man-made rapids enjoyed by kayakers and tubers.

Denver Confluence Park

Confluence Park history

The park has a deep connection to the formation of Denver and the origins of its gold rush era. But much like its water after heavy rains, the history is a tad murky when it comes to nailing down the exact details of all the events that played out.

Suffice it to say that around the summer of 1858, early settlers were sniffing out the scent of gold in this area and nearby creeks such as Little Dry Creek ushering in the Colorado Gold Rush of 1859.

Rumors of shimmering nuggets attracted fortune seekers like moths to a flame and soon early developments rose up around the park’s grounds and along Cherry Creek’s banks.

Despite the Arapaho and Cheyenne people’s cautionary tales of the treacherous, flood-prone nature of the dry beds, settlers forged ahead, convinced they could tame the unruly forces of nature.

Unfortunately for them, on May 19th, 1864, Cherry Creek unleashed a catastrophic flood that overwhelmed the banks and engulfed the surrounding area. The consequences were dire, as lives were lost and buildings destroyed, including Denver’s brand-new City Hall.

Flooding became a trend that plagued the area for decades to come with bridges getting wiped out and more city buildings under threat. To mitigate these recurring floods and restrain the destructive forces of nature, dams were constructed and reservoirs filled.

While they proved effective in certain instances, the most devastating flood in Denver’s history struck on June 16, 1965, unleashing widespread devastation throughout the Central Platte Valley.

Denver Confluence Park

But, it wasn’t solely the issue of flooding that posed a challenge for the city. The river had become severely contaminated with pollutants.

The banks were cluttered with old cars, appliances, mattresses, and tires. To make matters worse, toxic liquids such as used motor oil permeated from the shore into the water.

Over the years, commercial and industrial activities along the South Platte River had been irresponsibly disposing of their waste, further exacerbating the situation.

So in a nutshell, the confluence was pretty much the last place you wanted to be on a nice Saturday afternoon.

Denver Confluence Park

Soon a movement to beautify the area began and in the 1970s and the Greenway Foundation and the City of Denver began converting this area into a landscaped oasis.

In 1975, like a breath of fresh air, Confluence Park opened its gates, becoming the pioneer among many parks that now grace the banks of the South Platte River and its tributaries throughout Denver. It marked a turning point and a reclamation of the natural beauty that had long been overshadowed by neglect.

As the years passed, the area witnessed a resurgence of development and revitalization.

The 1990s brought forth a wave of transformation, with notable landmarks such as the REI flagship store finding its home in the historic Denver Tramway Power Plant. New residential buildings have also popped up nearby, carefully constructed at a safe distance, mindful of the lessons learned from the turbulent past.

And today, this beautiful area is like a lovely, green oasis right in the heart of Denver, attracting people from all walks of life who share a passion for enjoying the splendor of the outdoors.

Related: Meow Wolf Denver Convergence Station Review

Denver Confluence Park

How to visit Confluence Park

There are plenty of parking options close to Confluence Park.

You can locate metered parking with a maximum two-hour time limit or find nearby parking lots or garages for longer visits. When we visited, we found street parking on Platte St, which was not difficult to do on a weekday.

If you’re coming in on the light rail, you can get off at the Union Station LRT Nb station and it’s a short walk over to the park.

The official hours listed for the park are 5 AM to 11 PM. Admission is free.

Denver Confluence Park

Things to do at Confluence Park

Exercise or take a leisurely stroll

One of the most popular things to do at Confluence Park is to get some exercise or simply go for a leisurely stroll.

You can follow the paved paths that lead alongside the waterways, underneath bridges, and through shaded routes enveloped in lush greenery. The mixture of expansive, open green spaces and gritty urban infrastructure keeps things interesting. You never quite know what you’re going to find around the corner, for better or for worse.

Denver Confluence Park

During our time exploring the park, nothing ever felt unsafe and there did not appear to be any type of homelessness crisis or anything of that sort in the area. Still, you always want to be aware of your surroundings in an urban park like this.

Denver Confluence Park

The atmosphere is serene as you listen to the sound of the rushing rapids, and the paths will guide you to seemingly endless parks such as Commons, City of Cuernavaca Park, Fishback, and Gates Crescent. There’s also the skate park nearby.

I really enjoyed just strolling through the parks, crossing the many footbridges, and admiring the views.

Denver Confluence Park

If you’re looking to wander around the city, you’ll find trails for days.

Denver Confluence Park

Whether you prefer jogging or cycling, Confluence Park serves as an ideal starting point for your adventure.

It conveniently connects to trails that extend in all directions throughout the city, including destinations like Aurora and Cherry Creek State Park, among many others.

We mostly walked around the South Platte Trail, which can take you by the Aquarium, Children’s Museum, and Empower Field, and much further away if you desire. The Cherry Creek Trail is also extremely popular among outdoor enthusiasts.

When exploring these trails, be mindful of some of the trail etiquette which includes keeping to the right so people can pass you on the left and paying attention to bike lanes versus walking lanes.

Keeping your dog on a six-foot leash is also requested. However, the leash requirement seem pretty lax at least in certain areas like at City of Cuernavaca Park where we saw lots of dogs roaming free.

Swimming at Confluence Park

On warm Denver summer days, the refreshing waters of Confluence Park become an irresistible oasis.

But keep in mind that this is an urban park and so the waters here are likely full of humanity’s discarded oddities that you probably do not want to mingle with.

Amongst the broken glass bottles, trashed plastic bags, submerged tree branches, and perhaps even the occasional rogue syringe, the water becomes a curious cocktail of surprises and gnarly junk.

So if you plan on getting in the water, make sure that you wear proper water shoes to protect your feet and maybe give your immunity system a little boost because the water itself may also not be the cleanest with potentially unsafe E. coli levels.

And finally, there are some signs indicating no swimming and it might even be illegal in some parts of the river.

Despite all that, there are still plenty of brave souls who can’t resist taking a plunge in these waters. If you’re up for the challenge and decide to dive in, make sure to hit the showers once you’re out, and do your absolute best to avoid gulping down that river water!

If you don’t want to submerge yourself in the questionable waters, you could just sun bathe on the mini “beaches” or consider other ways to enjoy the water.

Denver Confluence Park

Kayaking, rafting, or tubing

One of the distinctive aspects of Confluence Park is the kayak run, featuring a series of thrilling whitewater rapids.

To experience the exhilaration of kayaking, you can conveniently rent a kayak for the day from Confluence Kayak & Ski, situated just a short stroll away from the park.

They will provide you with all the necessary equipment, including a helmet, personal flotation device, paddles, and a pump.

You can choose to rent a single kayak or tandem and if you are a beginner you probably want to start off with something like an inflatable kayak. Those who choose to go with kayaks tend to venture about a mile or two down the river so it would be wise to arrange transportation to get you back prior to getting into the river.

If you want to get more advanced and take a course in kayaking, look into the Colorado River School or the White Water Workshop.

For a more relaxing experience, you have the option to rent an inner tube and leisurely float along the rapids, allowing yourself to drift downstream and enjoy the serene waters surrounding the confluence. Or if you want a little bit more of a core workout consider stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).

The river should be running pretty consistently throughout the summer, with the water becoming more stagnant towards the end of the season. But don’t forget about those heavy rains and floods mentioned earlier because sometimes the water levels can become dangerously high. In fact, the photos in this article were taken shortly after one of the biggest floods to hit in recent times.

Denver Confluence Park

If you happen to build up an appetite or find yourself parched, worry not, as the park boasts concession stands that offer treats such as hotdogs and refreshing sports drinks. Credit cards and Apple Pay accepted.

Denver Confluence Park

Picnicking or just hanging out

Near the water, there are some benches and picnic tables that would be perfect for having an afternoon picnic or just hanging out. You might even be able to get a little break from the sun on those hot summer days.

Denver Confluence Park

Check out the urban art scene (and do a guided tour)

You’ll find some art installations around Confluence Park and the surrounding parks.

Some of this is true street art consisting of beautiful done murals and you’ll also spot your fair share of graffiti — some done with real finesse, while others… well, let’s just say they’re not exactly Banksy.

You’ll also come across series of interactive stone sculptures inviting tactile exploration and playful interaction for people of all ages, but especially kids.

If you’re interested in exploring the world of public art at Confluence Park, consider booking a tour to delve deeper into its artistic installations. A guided tour will provide you with a comprehensive and insightful experience, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of the various artworks and their significance within the park’s cultural landscape.

Denver Confluence Park
Denver Confluence Park
Denver Confluence Park

The Flasgship REI store

If you’re into the outdoors, then you owe it to yourself to check out the flagship REI store which is located right in the middle of Confluence Park.

It’s housed in the Denver Tramway Power Company building which was constructed in 1901 and the store is absolutely huge, featuring a 47-foot pinnacle climbing wall that would make Alex Honnold proud.

It’s definitely not your typical REI experience and I’d highly recommend that you stop by to check out all of its different floors and the historic interior of the building.

Even if outdoor retail clothing and gear doesn’t pique your interest, you can still treat yourself to a refreshing beverage from Starbucks and discover a cozy spot on the patio that offers a nice view of the park.

Denver Confluence Park REI


If you want to take a step back in time, consider taking a ride on the Denver Trolley.

It runs during the summer and doesn’t begin service until after Memorial Day but it will take you all around to some of the major spots in the city. It also runs on game days for the Denver Broncos taking you to Empower Field at Mile High.

Lower Downtown (LoDo) aka Union Station

If you want to explore Lower Downtown (also known as LoDo), you can easily make your way over to the area.

I’d suggest heading through the Commons Park to take Millennium Bridge which is a cool looking bridge worth checking out on your way to Lower Downtown.

Millennium Bridge

Final word

Denver’s Confluence Park is an awesome spot to explore if you’re into spending time outdoors.

Whether you’re up for a good workout or just want to take a leisurely stroll to clear your mind, this place has got you covered. The best part? It’s free and super close to tons of downtown attractions!

Personally, what got me hyped about coming here was experiencing the rich history of this place and witnessing the confluence of two rivers, including a portion with white water rapids which is something you don’t typically expect to find in the downtown area.

I also enjoyed people watching and seeing so many other like-minded individuals enjoying fresh air as and spending time with their furry friends. It’s a real treat for the soul!

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