as any of you who have been reading my blog for more than a year know, each October I meet up with some good friends from college in a town where one of us lives. the first annual was in Vegas, followed by San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and, this year, Denver. starting with the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, we started a tradition of finding crazy, odd-ball, or definitively kitsch tourist-trap sites for our weekends. you know, the kinds of places you probably wouldn’t ever go if you didn’t have the right kinds of friends in town visiting. in Santa Cruz, I convinced everyone to go to the Mystery Spot and, later, we rode the Giant Dipper on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
this year, thanks to the excellent day-planning skills of our host, one of our first stops was the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys. it has a meticulous replica of the childhood home of a Denver scion, as well as period and regional displays — pueblos, a 16th century German town store, a hacienda — all very impressive. but in addition to these fascinating miniature displays, the museum hosts an odd assortment of classic toys and games (a very early model E-Z Bake Oven, board games from the 1950s, superhero figurines in original blister packaging) and three giant teddy bears. while either the papa or mama bear came over from England (where all three were made) in the belly of a jetliner, as would your average piece of freight, the smallest (standing at least 5 feet tall), crossed the pond in a first class seat. who knew such enthusiasm existed for such things?
the location and museum staffer added to the atmosphere, too. upon seeing five twentysomethings waiting outside the front door, the gentleman taking tickets seemed rather uncertain as to how to cope with such a large group of unexpected early-Friday visitors. he offered us makeshift clip-boards for a scavenger hunt and wished us well. the museum itself is located in the historic Pearce-McAllister cottage and displays take up most of the rooms … including two bathrooms. the toilets in both bathrooms have ribbons over the top with notes admonishing visitors not to utilize them. we restrained ourselves and one of our party, so amused by the situation, took a clandestine photo of one of the toilets.
next year, the plan is for the House on the Rock which, pursuant to the criterion posed above that we go places one would never go unless with the right group of friends were in town.