Category Archives: tour

Fish hatchery


I wish that homeschoolers would show up to stuff. I went to the trouble of making a field trip at the Leadville fish hatchery, invited 300 people from 2 groups and no one came. I know it’s a 2 hour drive, but we took our time, stopped at Officer’s gulch to see the leaves and stopped in historic Leadville for a snack and to walk around.

We had a picnic at the hatchery and looked at the huge trout in the outdoor pond.

A chipmunk eating and running around.

The fish runs.

The hatchery is the second oldest in the country (Federal fish hatchery.) The building was built in 1889.

Our tour guide started us in this room. So, right now they are raising only Greenback cutthroat trout (a native species to Colorado that in endangered.) They hand squeeze the eggs from females (they are under anesthesia) to mix with milt (male fish sperm.) The male fish sperm only last 23 seconds – so they don’t add it until they are super ready. It also explains why these fish aren’t reproducing well in the wild, imagine a whole host of factors – getting the right riffle to lay eggs in, the right oxygen mix and water temperature and then finding a male who can come fertilize the eggs within that short time span. It works much better in the hatchery.

The next room was more a history of fish hatcheries, fish trains, the old wooden pipes they used (and used until recently when PVC was laid in the middle of the wooden pipe to transport water.) They used to hand fertilize back then too, and make fish food from grating liver and wild game.

They had fish hatching tables back then too, but they were a bit more complicated and you had to do the math.

A water level marker.

Then we got to go back into the part of the hatchery were the fish were growing from fry to adults. Unless you have a tour guide you can’t go see this part. Baby fry.

A fish run full of 5 ” trout.

The bins of fry are on one side, the Moms and Dads are on the other, separated in the runs.

They crossed a Greenback and a Rainbow trout and got some albino trout.

This multi-filtration system is filtering out iron and nitrogen as well as mixing the water to form more oxygen.

Scanning one of the fish. All of these fish are chipped and you can trace the fry to a certain Mom or Dad. The chips will be used when they are released to check on them at a later date – hopefully finding fish without a chip means that they bred in the wild.

The hatchery also raises boreal toads to send to Laramie, WY. These toads are endangered too.

After the tour we got to see one section of the old water pipes made from wood (the metal rings are to hold the wood in place when the water pressure builds up.) The 1890 pipes were replaced in the 40’s with new wood and though it now contains PVC inside the wood is still good.

Our last thing to do was to go feed the fish in the pond, they were hungry!

We stopped a few times on the way home to take pictures.


Weekend – Park hill tour, NBTS 15th anniversary party, 25th church anniversary


Friday we got home about 2pm, started laundry, then Grace and I went to see her friend who was in the hospital. Hospitals suck, so Grace wanted to go and hang out – I think she wanted the adults to leave the room (but we didn’t.) James made spaghetti for dinner, we watched some TV and went to bed.

Saturday James and I went to the library for a walking tour. The girls did not want to go walking, so they stayed home and hung out with friends. When we got to the library I had three different librarians (from three different Denver libraries) recognize me and they asked where the girls were. Yes, we go to a lot of library events. Our walking tour started at the Pauline Robinson library, she was Denver’s first black librarian, brought books from black authors into the library and was responsible for integrating Lakeside (amusement park.) Walking in this area you can see that it is starting to come back.

There was a strip mall fire that pretty much brought down the neighborhood that was already in decline (a food desert area.) So, when funds starting coming in from the city to add buildings and services, the community was asked what do you want? There is a new rec center, a boys and girls club, a new elementary school and a mental/physical health building that offers garden space (and farmers market), hydroponics (plants and fish), mental and physical health facilities, a pre-school and an alternative school for troubled kids.

I walked with a coordinator of the facility and told her that our HS group wanted to: tour the facility and host a Preschool Valentine party. I’m excited for both of those things. We continued up the street, walking in the road for the most part since this area was designed during the 40’s-50’s when Hollywood curbs were in and pedestrians were out.

This intersection in Park Hill was across from a park (which had a gazebo ordered from a Sears catalog, paid for and put together by local Girl scouts.)

The area had no access to grocery stores, markets, clothing stores, you name it. So a market district was introduced, some people thought this would be the end of Park Hill (1920’s), but obviously it was not. There is a book store co-op that was started by local Moms back in the 70’s at the end of the block that is still going strong. Here and there on the street and in alleys are guerilla art and gardens. Bringing a little plant life and a little quirkiness to the area.

There were also lots of ‘Little Libraries’ in the area, some were registered, some were not!

Hickenlooper lives around here, we saw his house, but I didn’t take a picture. We passed some old churches and one church that now houses two different congregations.

We finally made it to the Park Hill library and sat down for a bit, drank water and had snacks and listened to the story of the library. There were 9 Carnegie libraries in Denver (Byers, Decker, Park Hill, Woodbury, Smiley – still standing) and (Denver central – now the McNichols building, Warren- now lofts, Dickinson -now houses an architecture firm and Elyria – now a private residence.) Park Hill doesn’t look like a traditional Carnegie library, but it’s there under that awful stucco.

We passed by some of the Boulevards put in by Mayor Speer during the city beautiful movement. Some of the money that was used was questionable, but hey, we see wide lanes, lots of trees and green spaces, so now we don’t care. We continued our walk through the neighborhood and noticed missing streets. Our next fact was a math one, the streets were laid out in an oblong rectangle twice as wide as it is long. Some streets are numbered but have names (Montview), some streets are 23rd on one side and 24th on the other and some just disappear completely. Also the golf course at City park was once a field full of cows, there was a lot of dairy making going on in the area when it started. We got back to the Pauline Robinson library and thanked our guides and headed back home. We weren’t home long before it was time to go to the park for our HS groups NBTS party and 15th anniversary party.

We had food and more food, cakes and doughnuts, games, coloring, tattoos, a photo booth and glow sticks.

We met two new families and had fun catching up with everyone.

Trying to get all the kids in the picture was hard….

I had to save the table art in photos.

Sunday we went to church and Hannah got to try out the new middle school room she’s in, she liked it. We went back for a lunch at the church celebrating 25 years, 15 of those in this building and the previous years in an elementary school in the area. This church started out as Highlands Ranch Christian church, then a bit later became Mountainview Community Christian church. It was the first church in Highlands Ranch that was a new church, not a plant from another part of Denver or an arm of a church located elsewhere, just the first (non-catholic) church to build in the area. We’ve had some ups and downs as a church, a major pastor shift happened some years ago and some of the church split over that, but some of us stayed and continue to get fed (sometimes literally fed) and volunteer here.

We pretty much lazed away the rest of the day, making only one outing after dinner….

The week – school, worship dance, St. John’s music at noon, Kindness Krewe, park day, NIA, youth group, CRUSH fest, HS skate, TNO, youth fest outing, ukulele class….feels like I’m missing something….

Dinners – crockpot chicken enchilada casserole, Asian lettuce wraps, pan fried tilapia with tomatoes and feta, sesame beef with fried rice, chicken creole pasta.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

16 Boston Bibb or butter lettuce leaves 
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced pickled ginger
1 dash Asian chile pepper sauce, or to taste (optional)
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef and cooking oil in the hot skillet until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and discard grease; transfer beef to a bowl. Cook and stir onion in the same skillet used for beef until slightly tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir hoisin sauce, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and chile pepper sauce into onions. Add water chestnuts, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked beef; cook and stir until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.
Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter and pile meat mixture in the center.

Sesame Beef

1 pound round steak
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons white sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Mix soy sauce, sugar, oil, garlic, and onions in a large bowl. Set aside.
Cut steak into strips and add to bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 30 minutes.
Cook in wok or frying pan until brown, about 5 minutes. Add sesame seeds and cook for additional 2 minutes.




From our tour today – TGP – The Gathering Place. A safe place for women, children, and transgender individuals who seek assistance. Those who come to The Gathering Place have access to a wide range of services and programs that meet basic needs, encourage personal growth, and build community. They provide basic emergency needs (food, clothing, hygiene, etc) and have programs to help women find jobs, places to live and get them a path to a job/career.

They have a rooftop garden where they grow some of the food that they serve twice a day in the cafeteria.

They offer nap rooms, job interview clothes, laundry and shower facilities, health services, classes that range from GED to writing to job skills, crafting room where people can make cards and art to sell, a computer lab just for teens an one for adults, a library, children’s play room center and rooftop play center.

Right now they have a need for food (Summer is a slow donation time), copy paper, memory sticks, grocery store gift cards and baby items. Job (dressy) interviewing clothes are also always welcome.

DOD 16


We’ve been doing Doors Open Denver for about 10 years now! We’ve been in the rain, in the snow, in the heat, but today was nice – cloudy (until the end) and cool. Grace was at a church event, Hannah didn’t want to go and Bethany wanted to go, but got home too late – so we took Joel with us and started our exploration. It was possible to walk the whole way, so we parked near the Art museum and got started at The Art hotel, it’s right next to the Art museum and has…art in it.

Welcome to the newest luxury hotel in Denver, the ART, a hotel where your stay will be the perfect blend of refined comfort and intimate service. With contemporary design, high-tech amenities and works of art that grace two galleries, spill into the hallways and adorn our every guest room, we are pleased to offer a highly experiential stay.

Designed by Davis Partnership Architects and finished in 2015, the ART pays homage to its iconic next-door neighbors and the museum district. Perfect for cultural explorers, the ART serves as the keystone to the Museum District, harmoniously entwining its iconic neighbors into a sculptural canvas for art and leisure.

There is a really cool 22,000 light art display leading up to the main entrance of the hotel, we’ll go back at some point to see it at night.

Next up was the Odd Fellows Lodge No. 1, we’d been there before, but the Union Lodge No. 1 and Mermaid cakery was not open last year. The Union bar is a mixologists dream, reminiscent of Green Russell – they hand chip the ice, hand crush ice, do all kinds of crazy things while making drinks that have 20 steps to them and it’s a pleasure to watch the bartender craft a drink while you get a lesson on where the drink came from.

But, about the building –

The Odd Fellows Hall is a charming historic building near the intersection of 16th Street Mall and Champa Street. The Late Victorian-Commercial Style building is a now a designated Denver Landmark. It was built in 1889 in the Romanesque Revival style, designed by architect Emmett Anthony and located in Denver’s Central Business District. Originally the Hall housed the Dutch Mill Cafe which opened in 1910 as a cabaret located on the main floor. The two upper floors housed the Odd Fellows, one of the largest and oldest fraternal orders in the U.S. Notable building features include a square-corner tower, classical entablature, finials, arches, a detailed cornice and storefront windows.

The Cafe closed in 1935, and the Odd Fellows sold the property in 1983 with extensive renovations to the building to follow. Still visible on the building are some unique pieces of history: “Union Lodge No. 1” appears above a large arched German glass window on the third floor; signs on the building read: “Odd Fellows Hall,” “Jerry Green Florist” and “The Dutch Mill Cafeteria” and signs on nearby buildings read: “Burt’s” and “Beeman’s Shoes.”

Since we were walking we got to see other buildings that we normally drive by, but don’t stop to look at like:

This one on the block near The Broker.

And the one right next door, built in 1929 that is so Art deco. I wish it was open on DOD, but the outside is prettier than the inside anyway.

And we got to see some art.

Next stop, the courthouse.

Year Built: 1916
Architect: Tracy, Swarthout & Litchfield

Designed as the main Denver Post Office, the building was remodeled in 1983 and 1994 to become the current courthouse. Although a 1994 renovation covered the skylights, the building is brightened by exposure to the interior courtyard and recreations of the original cast bronze sconces. The same architects were hired to design the U.S. Post Office and Federal Courthouse, and it reveals interesting clues that tell a long and rich Colorado history.

The courthouse occupies an entire city block and stands four stories in height, set above the street in its rusticated base. There are a series of grand stairs that lead to the main entrance and are marked by 16 three-story ionic columns adorned with eagles. On the frieze above the main entrance is inscribed the cities to the east and west of the building, symbolizing the flow of mail across the country. Inscribed on either side of the colonnade are the names of the U.S. Postmasters General. Also inscribed on the internal wall piers are names such as Buffalo Bill Cody, one of the most well known Pony Express riders. These riders are an important part of the history of the postal service in the American West. The main entry lobby spans the width of the building, with a terrazzo floor and vaulted ceilings. Notable artwork includes a pair of Rocky Mountain sheep, along with four murals by artist Herman T. Schaldermundt, completed in 1918 and recently restored through GSA’s Fine Arts Program.

We had to go through security to get inside and there was no taking indoor photos – so sad. Each courtroom was different, I loved the library courtroom, bookcases of books filled in rotunda style and a skylight added natural light. There was a museum about the life of Byron White on one end and at the other was a museum about the six states represented in the court. They left the original post office boxes, the elevators had the old school dials showing what level the elevator was on, the murals were vibrant and the place exuded justice.

It was getting to be lunch time and our next stop had brunch, so I finally got to eat at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. Now, this next stop might seem weird, but I can’t help it that Hostel Fish and Ophelia’s are housed in a former brothel/adult bookstore/peepshow.

That said, the Hostel is pretty awesome. You can get a room with bunks or a room with one bed. each room is decorated differently and downstairs there is a bar and kitchen for people staying there.

There wasn’t anyone in the main room, but this looked pretty original.

Hostel Fish

Travelers are used to paying hefty nightly rates for unique, luxurious hotel accommodations in prime locations, but that changed for downtown Denver last summer. Entrepreneur and owner Chad Fish is excited to unveil Hostel Fish, an upscale, 80-bed property located at 1217 20th Street in a newly renovated historic property. The hostel’s design is a mashup of classical, modern and shabby chic that pays homage to the historical beauty of the 120-year-old building. The interior design of Hostel Fish was a collaborative endeavor being lead by local Denver designer, David Schiach, of Shike Design, who worked with other interior designers on individual rooms and tied in the iconic furniture of Denver-based designers, Fin Art.

Architect: Boss Architecture for Ophelia’s and Ted Schultz, TLS Architecture For Hostel Fish
Year Built: 1890

Ophelia’s has taken many forms. Located in the historic 1894-era Victorian Airedale building, it was a brothel-turned-peep-show-turned-adult-video-library. The building, which is also on the National Register of Historic Places, houses Ophelia’s, the latest project of Justin Cucci and the Edible Beats team. Ophelia’s serves as a restaurant, bar and live-music venue with a boudoir-style decor that honors the building’s past and Ophelia, the muse. Continuing the Edible Beats tradition of delicious, responsibly sourced food, the upscale, gastrobrothel-inspired menu includes fresh, craveable takes on flatbread pizza, small plates, burgers and shareable charcuterie boards.

Electric Soapbox’s sunken stage embodies a swanky Moroccan speakeasy feel and features a top-of-the-line sound system. Paying subtle homage to the unique history of the building, the design mash-up consists of Justin Cucci’s trademark “recycled & repurposed craziness” and features 4,000 collected Jager bottles serving as the back of the basement bar, a backdrop of 500 transistor radios on the stage, vintage movie-theater wallpaper and a host of old sex-show booths and marquees that celebrate sexuality. A few more highlights of the design materials include 1,500 yard sticks, more than 7,000 square feet of handmade ceramic tiles, 65 retro light fixtures, 100 X-ray rollers and a few dozen pinball machine tops.

I had to try the chicken and waffles – Lavash Crusted Chicken Thigh, Mashed Potato Waffle, Apple Butter, Bacon, Kale Slaw & Chili Honey.

I know from experience that you can’t say there is a ‘best’ chicken and waffles, it’s not quantifiable. But, the spicy chili mixed with the sweet apple butter paired well with the smooth waffle and crunchy chicken. I really like the slaw that came with it too. James had the blackened shrimp and grits – Anson Mill’s Blue Corn-Chipotle Grits, Chorizo, Peas, Watercress, Capers & Cilantro Pesto. I think it was the blue corn grits that made that pretty purple color, no matter the color, the dish was great (I had a bite.)

Joel had the grilled hanger steak and eggs – Farro Hash, Grilled Chilis, Queso Fresco, Pico de Gallo & Diablo Salsa. He said the steak was the bomb, but they got his egg order wrong (he wanted boiled, they served sunny side up.) Bottomless mimosas flowed (and that’s why we skipped the last stop, The Temple, we still had to walk back to the car.)

Not bad though, we found three new bars (Fire at The Art, Union Lodge at Odd Fellows and Ophelia’s) a new restaurant (Ophelia’s) and found out some cool stories about Denver’s past (even though some of them were seedy.) We also walked almost 3 miles roundtrip and it was the perfect day ot do it.

Missed DOD today? Check the website for open places tomorrow and go explore the city!

Colorado Center for the Blind


Today about 17 of us went to the center for a tour.

Grounded in the National Federation of the Blind’s positive philosophy of blindness, the Colorado Center for the Blind provides innovative teaching techniques, daily challenges and self-confidence that are the building blocks of independence, opportunity and success.

Day after day, year after year, blind students leave the Colorado Center for the Blind’s training program as living examples of the NFB’s motto: “With effective training and opportunity, blind people can compete on terms of equality with their sighted peers.” The Colorado Center for the Blind has been in Littleton for 15 years now, and this is the first time we’ve been there. People come to this center from all over the US and the world to learn how to live as a blind person in a sighted world.

Students stay 6-9 months and have various things to accomplish during that time including: rock climbing, cooking for 5, 15 and 60 people, doing home maintenance repair, learning computer skills and more.

The ending project is to complete two drops. Drops are where they take you in a car and drop you off somewhere, you can ask one question and then you need to make it back to the center. The monster drop is where you plan to visit four locations you haven’t been to, in four different cities. You tell them the intersections of each place when you visit and make it back to the center. An example would be: a gym in Westminster, a coffee shop in Denver, a bookstore in Littleton and a yogurt shop in Centennial, all using mass transit. This is a huge undertaking for a sighted person, imagine doing it blindfolded! In the woodshop we watched as a student used a saw to cut a piece of paneling.

In the computer room we saw a Braille to type machine and computers with no monitors (they use an audio program.)

In the reading room a student typed out our names on the Braille machine. We saw how they train students to cross streets and cook, grow food from a garden, and pretty much anything they want to do – with confidence.