Colorado is famous for being fun and quirky, but did you know that there is another side to the state that is just strange and, well,
weird-weird? While there are some pretty kooky spots around the Centennial State, these 11 may just be the weirdest of them all:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Cano's Castle (Antonito)
Your eyes do not deceive you; Cano's Castle is indeed made of empty beer cans and hubcaps! Constructed by Vietnam veteran Donald Espinoza, the castle was inspired by both his love of Jesus and weed (in that order), as well as the fact that he made it home safely from the war. Cano’s Castle is located at State St. & E 10th Ave., Antonito, CO 81120.
2. No Name
At first glance, one might think that the founders of this small Colorado town had no real motivation to name it, but this is not the case. So how did No Name come to have its, well, non-name? It was actually named after the nearby No Name Canyon and No Name Creek!
3. Museum of Colorado Prisons (Cañon City)
Have you ever considered committing a misdemeanor just so you could see the inside of a prison? No need, my strange friend, as Colorado is home to its own prison museum. Housed inside a former women's prison, the Museum of Colorado Prisons invites visitors to "unlock the past" and learn about the unique history of prison life through exhibits featuring inmate art, antique contraband items, and even a retired gas chamber. (That last one is a little dark, but still quite fascinating.) Address: 201 N 1st St., Cañon City, CO 81212
4. International Church of Cannabis (Denver)
Featuring what is quite possibly the most innovative church interior in the world, the International Church of Cannabis is the colorful home of the Elevationists, a group that uses Colorado cannabis as a means of inspiration. In their own words, cannabis use is "a way to reveal the best version of self, discover a creative voice, and enrich their community with the fruits of that creativity." You can find this vibrant church at 400 S Logan St., Denver, CO 80209.
5. Casa Bonita (Lakewood)
Sorry, CB - you are not exempt from our list of the weirdest places in Colorado. What makes the world's most exciting restaurant so weird (aside from the game of intestinal Russian roulette you play each time you visit)? It's the mangy gorilla that chases you around the restaurant, the humid dining room, and spooky Black Bart's Cave. Address: 6715 W Colfax Ave., Lakewood, CO 80214
6. Fifty-Two 80's (Denver)
Fifty-Two '80s isn't so much weird as it is gnarly (and anyone who disagrees with me can go bag your face!). Located in Denver, this "Totally Awesome Shop" is chock-full of ‘80s memorabilia that you won’t find anywhere else, including retro lunch boxes, old-school Broncos gear, life-size cutouts of pop culture icons, dolls, action figures, video games, and more. You’ll find this blast from the past at 1874 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80210.
7. UFO Watchtower (Hooper)
Quite possibly the weirdest of places in all of Colorado is tucked away in the San Luis Valley and is famous for UFO sightings... do you know where I'm talking about? If you guessed the UFO Watchtower, you are correct! Boasting virtually no light pollution, the UFO Watchtower is the best place in the region to camp out and search for unidentified flying objects. It’s located along Hwy. 17 just a few miles north of Hooper, CO.
8. Denver International Airport (Denver)
Between the gigantic,
literally man-killing blue horse that greets you to the terrifying murals to the semi-secret tunnels buried deep beneath the terminal, DIA may just be the strangest airport in the country (if not the entire world). Wild rumors of Illuminati connections and symbols throughout the artwork add to the weirdness, though the DIA has taken a playful approach to addressing them by using images of lizard people in promotional content for construction projects. Address: 8500 Peña Blvd., Denver, CO 80249
9. Colorado Gators Reptile Park (Mosca)
Do you find snakes and other slithery creatures to be fascinating? Have you ever dreamed of wrestling an alligator? Dream no more, for all of the above can be experienced at the Colorado Gators Reptile Park! Located near the Great Sand Dunes, the Colorado Gators Reptile Park is a jaw-dropping sanctuary that gives its guests an up-close look at these scaled creatures. Address: 9162 W Co. Rd. 9 N, Mosca, CO 81146
10. Lee Maxwell Washing Machine Museum (Eaton)
Have you ever stared lovingly at your washing machine and thought, "gosh, I wish I could learn more about you and where you come from!" (Wait, no? Oh yeah… uh… me neither.) Believe it or not, the story behind this seemingly mundane appliance is actually quite interesting, and you can learn all about the history of the machine at Lee Maxwell, which houses a whopping 1,400 old washing machines and other unique antiques. Address: 35901 WCR 31, Eaton, CO 80615
11. Swetsville Zoo (Timnath)
There is no better way to end this list than with the iconic Swetsville Zoo - an incredible collection of nearly 200 metal-scrap sculptures that have been dazzling and delighting an average 15,000 guests per year since 1985! (As a native of Fort Collins, I can vouch that Swetsville is a huge memory from my childhood.) You’ll find this fascinating place at 4801 E Harmony Rd., Fort Collins, CO 80528.