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Sakura Square in downtown Denver has several statues erected due to the importance of the figures in the Japanese and Denver communities. Minoru Yasui was a Japanese-American lawyer who was one of the few to actively protest the Constitutionality of Japanese interment camps during World War II, as well as curfews for minorities. In 1942, Yasui deliberately broke curfew in Portland, Oregon, in protest of the laws, and was convicted and sent to prison for one year while his case was deliberated by the Supreme Court, which at the time upheld his conviction. In 1944, Yasui moved to Denver where he returned to practicing law and fighting for Japanese rights until his conviction was overturned in 1986. The bust in Sakura Square was erected in thanks for all that his protests did in pushing for minority rights during his life. - Sabrina Zirakzadeh
Sakura Square in downtown Denver might not exist if not for Buddhist Reverend Yoshitaka Tamai. A devout Buddhist, Tamai moved to Denver in 1930 and promptly set up and took over the Buddhist temple at 20th and Lawrence Street. Tamai welcomed all of the Japanese community in Denver to his temple and dedicated the rest of his life to the spiritual, cultural, and social needs of Buddhists and Asian Americans in the Midwest. The apartment complex at Sakura Square, Tamai Tower, was erected in his memory in 1977, and in 1996 this statue, featuring quotes from Tamai himself, was dedicated to him as well.
What is now the United States Mint in Denver actually began as a humble company. In 1858, Clark, Gruber and Company started a private mint, making gold coins from the spoils of the Colorado gold rush in order to save on shipping the ore to the east coast. After minting over 500,000 dollars, the US Treasury officially bought the mint in 1863. Today, the mint is a popular tourist destination in Denver, lending insights into the stages and the entire process of currency-making. One of the oldest establishments in Colorado, the mint is touted to be one of the single largest producers of coins in the world. The mint is certainly an iconic repository of American currency, and all currency produced here has the denomination 'D' inscribed on it. Having been considerably mentioned in popular media, the Denver Mint is an indelible historic landmark of the country.
This five-floor museum is wonderfully diverse and is at the forefront of offering new exhibits. In the past, it has featured impressionist artists as well as the work of Winslow Homer. This museum brags— and rightfully so— about housing one of the largest art collections between Kansas City and the West Coast. It's Native American art collection, which encompasses an entire floor, is not to be missed. In addition, 2006 heralded the dedication of a new wing of the museum. Designed by Daniel Libeskind, the Frederic C. Hamilton building adds to the already stunning architecture of the cityscape and has become a popular attraction for museum visitors.
This restored Victorian mansion, once the home of legendary Denver resident Maggie (Molly) Brown now serves as a popular museum that attracts more than 40,000 visitors a year. The museum explores the eccentric life of the 'Unsinkable Molly Brown,' a Titanic survivor and eminent figure in the city's Gold Rush heritage. After the tour, browse around the gift shop and check out the selection of t-shirts, books and other memorabilia. There are guided tours available and regular special events and performances also take place.
Visit the Downtown Aquarium for a thrilling experience. This popular aquatic and entertainment center features various exhibits which aims at educating visitors on the inhabitants of the coral reefs and other fauna of the North American continent. They also have a 4-D Theater on premises that showcases different movies with a vivid experience with multiple effects. Aside from exhibits, the center also has a restaurant wherein guests can sit and relish marine delicacies with an underwater view of the giant aquarium that encases it.
Where else can you visit polar ice caps, a tropical forest, the African Savannah, and a jungle all in one day? The spectacular Denver zoo offers state-of-the-art habitats featuring more than 3500 animals representing 600 species. Visit with sloths, tree frogs, and a moray eel at the indoor Tropical Discovery exhibit. Or wander through the seven-acre Primate Panorama exhibit. From cold climate penguins to tropical flamingos, Bird World will inspire your appreciation of winged things. It is open 365 days a year.
Experience the great outdoors at Denver Botanic Gardens. Sprawling over three acres (nine hectares), this natural oasis is replete with several themed gardens. Stroll along bonsais at the Japanese Garden, or enjoy a fairytale-like experience with Winnie the Pooh and friends at the Storybook Gardens. Xeriscape Demo Garden is great to gather tips on home gardening and horticulture, while the Rock Alpine Garden showcases a unique topography. Take a guided tour and marvel at the verdant landscape dotted with exotic flora, lawns, waterfalls and ponds. In addition, these gardens offer several botanical exhibitions, illustrations and workshops that are both fun and interesting.
This museum is one of the city's most popular attractions, drawing almost two million visitors a year. There are permanent displays on North American Tribes, Egyptian mummies, dinosaurs, and minerals, all stunningly detailed and vast. The museum also hosts traveling exhibits such as Ramses II and Imperial Tombs of China. An IMAX cinema, gift shop and cafe are also on-site.
Balistreri Vineyards is the outcome of the passion and dedication of the Balistreri family, who painstakingly craft award-winning wines that are nothing short of perfection. The wines have no synthetic additives and are allowed to ferment in barrels of American oak. Pay a visit to the tasting room and get a chance to sample the hand-crafted wines, which are beautifully complemented by authentic Italian dishes. The Balistreri Ballroom or the Tasting Room can be rented out for private celebrations and events; the staff will be more than happy to assist you with the arrangements.
Denver's RTD system includes a program called Art-n-Transit, where commissioned statues, murals, and art installations are included at over 30 light rail and bus stations in the Denver metro area. The University of Denver light rail station features a piece entitled Reflective Discourse, created by John Goe and dedicated in 2006. Reflective Discourse is a series of blue metal panels that run along the wheelchair ramp up into the Park and Ride parking garage, covered in words chosen to reflect learning and education in conjunction with the station's university location. The panels continue inside the pedestrian tunnel inside of the station as well. Simple, yet inspiring.