Downtown Denver Public Library

Denver-public-library-books-graphic The Denver Public Library Downtown Branch is located on the Southeast edge of the main downtown Denver area next to the Denver Art Museum and Civic Center Park with both the Colorado State Capitol Building, and the Denver City and County Buildings near by. Branch libraries are located through out the city.

The library building itself is something of an interesting architectural piece. On one hand, the building is composed of perfectly normal building shapes and colors, just like you would draw in a picture, and that is its genius. Of course, real buildings typically don’t look like the ones drawn on paper, but this one does. It is pastel colored with each segment of the building forming a perfectly drawn shape, cylinders, rectangles, and squares.

Inside, the Denver Public Library book collection sprawls across four floors. The library Children’s section is on the first floor, as is the Reference Section, and the popular fiction and multimedia section. The top three floors contain the bulk of the library’s books and are categories in the traditional Dewey Decimal System manner.

The library has numerous computer workstations with public Internet access. This can make finding a free one can be difficult despite time limits placed on consecutive usage, as many people camp out for as long as they are allowed online. For that reason, it is advisable to search the library’s card catalog online prior to visiting if you are looking for something specific. Otherwise, a handful of computers scattered throughout the library are marked as being either Card Catalog Only, or No Internet Access. These stations are generally not occupied.

Residents of Denver can use the online catalog to not only search for materials, but also to place books, DVDs, and CDs on hold. The great thing about the system is that in addition to reserving the materials, the user may also choose where to pick up the materials, meaning that there is no need to drive all over town to a specific library to get the book you want. Simply place a hold on the book and select your nearest Denver Library Branch to pick it up.

Denver Public Library Hours

The main downtown branch of the library is open every day, although only for a half a day on Sundays.

However, all local branch library locations are closed on Sunday. Additionally, falling tax revenues have caused Denver and the library system to endure major budget cuts. Unfortunately one money saving method being used is closing branches for additional days. The 2010 Library Schedule of hours has most branches closed on Sundays and two other days each week, so check the Denver Library Hours prior to venturing out.

Denver Pavilions in Downtown Denver

Denver-Pavilions-downtown-denver Shopping Downtown at the Pavilions

On the eastern end of the 16th Street Mall is the Denver Pavilions, an outdoor mall within the mall. The Pavilions has numerous shopping opportunities including a two-story Barnes & Noble, Gap, Banana Republic, Nike Town, Bath & Body Works, and a Victoria’s Secret store. The Pavilions also houses smaller local stores and boutiques ranging from nail salons to tobacco shops.

Downtown Denver Pavilions Restaurants

Pavilions restaurants offers a variety of dining eateries ranging from restaurant chains to local favorites. Maggiano’s Little Italy is a popular family style Italian restaurant. That means that you should order the half-order unless you plan to share, because the portion are huge. On weekend evenings, the wait can be long, so grab a reservation earlier in the week, or show up before 6:00 P.M. to avoid a long wait in the bar.

There is also the Hard Rock Cafe Denver,  Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and local lunch favorite, Corner Bakery Cafe which serves sandwiches, hot Panini’s, soups, and bakery creations.

Denver Pavilions Nightlife in Downtown Denver

When it’s time to have some fun in Downtown Denver, the Pavilions has plenty of options for daytime fun as well as hot spots for those looking for fun nightlife. Jazz @ Jack’s offers, as you might guess, live Jazz music and drinks. Jack’s has live music 7 days a week, including Sundays. The house band, Dotsero, has been playing together for 18 years! The core members of the group are all University of Colorado (CU) alumni.

So, whether you flew in on Sunday for a business meeting, or are tourists in Denver with the family, or are locals out for the Denver’s nightlife downtown, you can always drop by Jack’s for some music.

If you are looking for something a little louder and flashier, consider Coyote Ugly Saloon, as franchised offshoot of the real Coyote Ugly bar in New York City made popular by the Coyote Ugly movie starring Piper Perabo and Maria Bello.

Look for the free weekly newspaper, Westword Magazine, in sidewalk displays and in the entryways of many shops and restaurants around the city. Many of Denver’s nightclubs, bars, and other hot spots run ads in the back of the paper. The ads in Westword often list bands that are playing all over town, including in the Pavilions, as well as any drink specials or special theme nights or parties. Ladies nights, in particular, can be very generous in downtown Denver.

Downtown Bowling at Lucky Strikes

If that weren’t enough, there is also bowling. That’s right, I said bowling.

Lucky Strike Lanes takes the stogy, smoke-filled, bowling alleys of suburbia and turns the idea on its head with a hip way to hang out with friends, enjoy music, and have a couple of cocktails. As one patron put it, how much more fun can you have than getting drunk and throwing stuff. (Perhaps this is why darts is so popular?) Flashy lighting, and cocktail waitresses round out the ambiance as this nightclub slash bowling alley combination in Downtown Denver.

Denver Pavilions Movie Theater

If you are looking for entertainment downtown that doesn’t involve food or drinks, the 14 screen multiplex at United Artists Theaters on the third floor of the Pavilions shows hit movies and fan favorites. The movie theater offers validated parking in the Pavilions parking garage for customers who buy a movie ticket. Take your parking ticket from the garage into the theatre with you to have it validated. Just look for the validation machine on the wall to the right of the doors (as you face the entrance/exit). Validation is only good for three hours. That time starts when you drive into the parking garage, not when your movie starts.

Denver Pavilions Location on 16th Street Mall

The Denver Pavilions is on the eastern end of the 16th Street Mall. If you are staying in a Denver hotel on the west end of town, or are finishing up seeing some of Denver’s tourist attractions, like the Denver Aquarium, don’t worry about getting a cab or driving your car. The free 16th Street shuttle will take you across downtown along the mall for free.

Parking downtown is at on street parking meters, or in the Pavilions parking garage.

Denver Zoo Guide

The Denver Zoo is one of Denver’s top attractions for kids and adults. With fun for everyone from infants and toddlers, to big kids and adults, the zoo has something for everyone.

Denver Zoo Animals

denver-zoo-welcome-logo-sm Popular zoo animals include polar bears, monkeys, elephants, giraffes, seals, lions, snakes, and more. The Denver Zoo has several special animal exhibit areas. One of the most sought out zoo areas by young boys is the Tropical Discovery zone which is filled with tropical fish, brightly colored frogs, alligators, komodo dragons, and of course snake and spiders. Needless to say, this area is very popular around Halloween, during the zoo’s special trick or treat event Boo at the Zoo.

Another special habitat area is Bird World, where the Denver Zoo keeps its brightly colored tropical birds like parrots and toucans, as well as more exotic birds like the hornbills. A hard to spot, but worth the look animal is the sloth, which occupies one of the tropical bird rooms and can usually be spotting sleeping – of course — among the ceiling rafters.

Of course, no visit to the zoo would be complete without seeing elephants. The Denver Zoo is home to two Asian elephants. Daily demonstrations show both how zoo keepers interact with the elephants and offer a fun show that lets kids see some of the amazing things elephants can do, especially what they can do with that long trunk. Hippos and the zoo’s rhinoceros, along with the unusual Tapir are all housed in the same complex as the elephants.

The zoo is set to break ground on a new and improved elephant exhibit in 2010.

One whole corner of the zoo is dedicated to primates, that’s monkeys to most of us. But, the zoo doesn’t have just one or two kinds of monkeys, it has dozens of species ranging from a family of several gorillas, to chimpanzees, orangutans, and several smaller and less known monkeys as well. The primates live in indoor / outdoor environments that allow visitors to see them either climbing trees outside, or lounging around behind the glass inside.

Another popular attraction are the zoo’s lions which are housed in a new savannah style environment that mimics the animal’s natural habitat. Guests can see lions lounging in the sun on a rock outcropping, or pacing among the long grasses. An indoor viewing area offers up close and personal views of the lions just inches away through floor to ceiling glass windows.

Denver Zoo Special Events

The zoo offers several special events through out the year. Special events in 2009 include Boo at the Zoo, Zoo Lights, Brew at the Zoo and of course, the Denver Zoo free days.

Zoo Amenities – Food Strollers

Scattered throughout the zoo are concession stands offering the usual fare of hotdogs, hamburgers, and French fries. But, the zoo goes one step further, also offering up fresh salads, both chef salads and southwest chicken salads, and other healthier treats for conscientious parents. But, don’t forget to splurge on cotton candy, or a snow cone for that all around fun zoo visit.

If you don’t want to pack up your stroller or are just hoping that maybe it won’t be necessary, don’t worry. The zoo offers affordable rentals of both sturdy plastic strollers (in traditional and Jeep shapes) as well as wagons big enough for two kids and a day’s supply of food and drinks. Rentals are $5 for wagons, and similar amounts for strollers.

Denver Zoo Deals

For a great Denver Zoo deal, buy a large drink when you first arrive. Refills are just 87 cents (75 cents plus tax) all day. In fact, the zoo souvenir cups are refillable year round for the same price, so if you are making more than one trip to the zoo this year, keep your cup.

Parking

Although the zoo is close to downtown Denver, parking is provided with both large surface lots and an underground parking garage. On all but the busiest summer days or when there are special events, parking is no problem. For crowded events like Boo at the Zoo or Denver Zoo Lights, you may have to park at the Nature and Science Museum, or even walk in from one of the surrounding neighborhoods.

If you do park in on neighborhood streets, watch the signs. Some areas require a resident permit and others only permit 2 hour parking. Also, from April to November, be sure to read the street sweeping signs (the red ones with lots of words). These signs will inform you that there is no parking on one side of the street on a certain day each month. If you see everyone parked on the other side of the street, chances are, that day is today.