Spend a day in Denver's historic City Park neighborhood. Visit the Denver Zoo, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, or City Park Golf Course. Refuel at neighborhood restaurants such as Annie's Cafe and Pete's Greek Town Cafe before renting a paddleboat at Ferril Lake or listening to a free City Park Jazz concert in the summer.
The Denver Zoo covers 80 acres of City Park and houses more than 3,500 different types of animals. The Denver Zoo, established in 1896, is open 365 days of the year. Children and adults alike will enjoy the zoo's many attractions, including the Giraffe Encounter. Throughout the day, several programs take place that allow visitors to learn about the zoo's residents. Programs include talks with zookeepers, who work with lions, hyenas, penguins, rhinos, and elephants. Of course, visitors can watch sea lions feed, too.
During the summer months, City Park Jazz holds free jazz concerts every Sunday in the park at 6 p.m. The popular concert series runs from June to August and provides an excellent spot for al fresco dining. Most concerts are held at the bandstand by Ferril Lake.
A long-standing tradition in Denver at 8th and Colorado since 1981, Annie's Cafe relocated in 2008 to the City Park neighborhood. The retro 1950s-style diner features down-home favorites such as chicken pot pies, meatloaf, and pot roast. The handmade milkshakes and root beer floats never go out of style at Annie's, either.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, founded in 1900, is open seven days a week in City Park. The museum features dioramas of nature, Egyptian mummies, a planetarium and IMAX theater. The museum is open every day of the year except Christmas Day. A special exhibit that's running until mid-August 2018 is El Alebrije, which features brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures. The wild and mythical creatures are handcrafted by folk artists in Mexico.
City Park also features an 18-hole golf course open to the public. The popular golf course showcases views of downtown Denver's skyline. The City Park Golf Course also has a pro shop and restaurant on the grounds.
The Tattered Cover Bookstore across the street from Denver's East High School boasts more than 150,000 titles, and several comfy chairs for perusing the inventory. The bookstore renovated the historic Lowenstein Theater into a retail space, while keeping the theater's facade. The Tattered Cover is open seven days a week.
Visitors can rent paddle boats and kayaks to navigate the 24-acre Ferril Lake in City Park. Boat rentals are available during March through October, weather permitting. Kayakers can use traditional paddles for a workout, or can pedal the kayaks as well.
East High School is one of Denver's four original landmark schools imaginatively named after the four directions of North, East, South, and West. Built in 1925, the school was constructed as part of the "City Beautiful" campaign. Famous alumni of East High include Judy Collins, Don Cheadle, and Pam Grier.
The stretch of Colfax Ave. in the City Park neighborhood is also home to Denver's Greek Town. Stop by Pete's Greek Town Cafe for a gyros sandwich or souvlaki plate. The same owner also operates Pete's Satire Lounge and Pete's Kitchen on Colfax Ave.
Denver's toniest cowboy lounge features drinks, pool, and Fat Sully's pizza. The Atomic Cowboy carries a variety of board games patrons can play while waiting to whet their whistles. The Atomic Cowboy also offers breakfast from the Denver Biscuit Company and is open from 8 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Nina Snyder is the author of "Good Day, Broncos," a children's e-book, and "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book. Visit her website at ninasnyder.com.