Let’s Explore Olde Town Arvada with Zeb the Duck

Olde Town Arvada is fun to explore.   Only a few miles northwest of downtown Denver,  Olde Town Arvada is a great place to meet friends, wander, shop, and eat.   The plaza here has tables for us to sit and chat, or enjoy a treat from great restaurants and snack shops.

Don’t you love to sit outside on sunny spring days.

Looking down the street, you will see brick buildings from more than 100 years ago.

A quiet weekday morning in Olde Arvada, Colorado

I like these murals on the Army Navy Surplus store.

Murals of Colorado

We are proud of our Colorado history.   Let’s explore one of the small shops here.

A store devoted to socks.

This store is dedicated to socks.    Just so you remember that we are in Colorado, we have a buffalo head in our sock store.

The buffalo is watching you and the socks

I’m sitting on Toe Sox.   Almost gloves for feet.       And still more socks.

More socks

You really need to visit this store.  Socks of all lengths, colors, designs and more.   This really is a fun store and the employees are so nice. After the sock shop we continued wandering.   Silver Vines is our winery.

Silver Vines winery.

We didn’t stop here today, but maybe another day.  After all, shouldn’t we support all our local businesses?   Arvada even has an old water tower.

Water tower in Olde Arvada

It is just perfect to see a water tower in Olde Town.   We are going to visit this coffee shop.   It is Global Goods.

Global Goods coffee shop

This group serves coffee and great tea blends.    And the pastries…  What can I say.   I love the muffins.  Global helps people from war torn countries.   The profits from food and beverages help those in need.   The small gift shop features items made by the victims of war.

So many choices

Those necklaces next to me use beads that are made of paper, usually pages of a magazine.   Before ducks, mom spent 3 weeks in Uganda and we have some of these necklaces at home.   These pictures on the wall are made by people affected by war.

Intrigued by the pictures on the wall

Great baskets and purses.   Global Good also operates a thrift store further north, on 88th Avenue.   We like helping others and we love this store and the refreshments.   We will be back here soon.   Next time we will show you more of Olde Arvada.   It is a great place to explore and eat.   Maybe we will see you there soon.

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Denver’s Chili Verde for lunch with Zeb the Duck and Chanel the Bear

Let’s go to lunch.   I, Zeb the Duck, love to go out for lunch.   And even more so if my friend, Chanel the Bear, is with me.   We took our moms to an authentic Mexican restaurant, Chili Verde.

Chili Verde. Let’s go inside.

According to their website, two brothers normally vacationed in Denver with their parents.   They lived in Puebla, Mexico.   (Home of the Cinco de Mayo battle, resulting in that holiday).   The family could not find food from their native Puebla, so in later years the brothers started this restaurant.   The brothers now live in Colorado, but visit Puebla, Mexico frequently, refining recipes and techniques.   Today our moms both ordered flautas.   These are small taquitos, meat filled small tortillas, rolled and then fried.   One mom ordered chicken and another mom ordered beef.   Both were very tasty.    While waiting for our lunch, we enjoyed chips and salsa and also a warm bean dip.

Flautas, chips and salsa with warm bean dip.

We really like this restaurant.   Unfortunately, our moms liked their lunch too much and did not save room for dessert.   Here we can watch talented cooks preparing lunch, and the dessert menu is right there.

Did you read that dessert menu?

But did our moms save room for dessert?   No, they did not.   The main entree was so flavorful, they ate it all.   We have heard so much about the Tres Leches Cake, that we will be back soon. Chanel and I sat in front of the colorful tile wall for a short rest and a private chat.

Friends chatting without moms listening.

Sometimes we like to be on our own.   The well stocked bar featured some good handicrafts on the top shelf.

Bar features selection of Mexican liquor and great handicrafts.

We like to see new things.  On another wall, we admired various pictures.

Colorful pictures.

These are for sale for $350 each.   Looking closer, this is a different type of art.

Colorful and unusual

Everything seems to be made of bumps or bubbles.   Our waiter told us that one of the brothers often visits Bali in the country of Indonesia and knows the artist.

Andry Aila from Bali created this pictures.

Andry Aila is the Indonesian artist.   He creates these masterpieces with a medical syringe.   We believe the syringe injects air into the paint to create these bumps or bubbles.   We were not familiar with this technique, so we wanted to look closer.

Let’s look closer

These pictures are really bright and cleverly done.   Chili Verde has an outside patio.   What a great place to eat in warmer weather.

Cute outside patio, but not for today. Still a little fresh snow

As you can tell, we had some new snow during the night, but our Colorado sunshine is causing rapid melting.   So, eating inside for us today.   Maybe outside dining next trip.   Leaving Chili Verde, we had to stop to admire (and sit on) this piñata.

We love piñatas

Chili Verde is located at 2311 Federal Boulevard in Denver, Colorado.   Maybe we will see you there soon.   It is really good.

Colorado Mountains in Winter with Zeb and Eider Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, wanted to show my cousin, Eider Duck, our Colorado Mountains in the winter.   Eider lived in North Pole, Alaska, near Fairbanks, until recently, so Eider knows about winter snow.   But our Colorado winters are different.   We have so many days with bright sunshine, so our snow melts much faster.   We drove west on I-70 from Denver.   Our first stop was Dillon Reservoir.

Dillon Reservoir, frozen

We drove through the Eisenhower Tunnel, under the Continental Divide.   But, the tunnel is still more than 11,000 feet above sea level.   This reservoir has many sailboats in the summer.   This is also a source of water for Denver.   In the winter, this frozen reservoir is beautiful and serene.   Continuing west on I-70, we stopped to watch humans skiing on the groomed snow slopes of Copper Mountain.

Copper Mountain ski area

We went into Copper Mountain resort, but from I-70 you can see many trails with skiers.   Copper Mountain resort consists of three villages, each with hotels, restaurants, ski lifts and several trails.   This is looking through the entrance to Center Village.

Entrance to Center Village, Copper Mountain, Colorado

Thousands of skiers are here at any time, so many services are needed.   And this is just one of several ski areas in Colorado, along I-70.   Colorado, because of the Rocky Mountains, has many more ski areas further from the interstate highway.   A little further west on I-70 we stopped at this rest area on Vail Pass.   From inside a building at the rest area, the view through the window shows snow to the windows and ice on the top of the window.

Through window of rest area at Vail Pass

There is a designated recreation area here at the rest area also.   Humans enjoy exploring on snow machines.

Snow machines at Vail Pass

Looking back east toward the Continental Divide, from Vail Pass, we like this view.

Continental Divide from Vail Pass

We are still less than 100 miles from our home near Denver, Colorado.   But mom says we need to head back home.   About 20 miles from Denver there is a buffalo herd that lives near I-70, at Genesee Park.  A tunnel beneath the highway allows the herd to move from one side of the highway to the other.  Today they were in the area best for viewing.   We pulled off the highway and admired these buffalo.

Buffalo herd near Denver, Colorado

There is a fence since buffalo are huge and they are wild animals.   We just want to admire these magnificent animals.   They are fun to see, don’t you agree?  Near Rocky Mountain National Park, we often visit Estes Park.   In the summer Lake Estes is a great water recreation area.   In the fall, we often see elk herds in the adjoining picnic area and sometimes drinking from the lake.   But this winter day the lake is partly frozen, the boaters are gone and the elk have moved to their winter areas.

Lake Estes in the winter

Today, another serene scene for us to enjoy.  Today our Colorado sky is a vivid blue.   Peacefulness of winter.   Another favorite winter trip is 20-25 minutes from our house.   Coal Creek Canyon follows the South Boulder Creek.   We often follow this creek and road to the town of Pinecliffe.   Let’s travel into this canyon today.

Entering Coal Creek Canyon

Close to Denver there is not much snow today.   The intense Colorado sun has melted most of last week’s snow fall.  We ducks love sitting by the creek, listening to the water.   Further into the canyon, another stop is appreciated as we admire the snow capped mountains.

View snow capped mountains from Coal Creek Canyon

Our blue skies are beautiful and we like watching the white clouds moving in.   In Pinecliffe, Colorado, we view the frozen South Boulder Creek.

Frozen South Boulder Creek in Pinecliffe, Colorado

Again, we must head home.   One last view of the sun streaming through the trees as Zeb and Eider relax on a fallen pine tree.

Sun filtering through trees in Coal Creek Canyon

Hard to see in this photo, but our pine tree perch had many tiny pine cones.   We love pine trees, pine cones and the fresh smell of pine.   Winter in the mountains is beautiful and peaceful.   But at times falling snow, wind and avalanches are treacherous.   Please, when visiting mountains in the winter, be prepared (carry water and warm clothing) and be careful.   Check weather conditions before you go and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.   Precautions can keep you safe and let you enjoy the beauty, serenity and enjoyment of winter in the mountains.  Have fun!

Casa Bonita with Zeb the Duck and Chanel the Bear

Our moms said we are going to Casa Bonita!   Exciting and we have never been there.   Moms have been there many times and now we can go.  Both our moms were teachers and this was a favorite place to bring students for lunch after visiting a museum or special performance.

Casa Bonita Restaurant in Denver, Colorado

Wow!  A big pink castle.   Entering the building, we follow the walkway.   Things look like Old Mexico.   Great decor.   Menus are available along the way.   We all order the beef deluxe dinner.   With this dinner we can get more of any item on our plate, whenever we want more.   We order, then continue along the walkway, get our tray, silverware and napkin.   Our very hot plate is placed on the tray, then our beverage is added; we continue along the path, and soon we are met by an employee that guides us to our table.   We are seated by the edge of the diving pool.   Diving pool in a restaurant?   Oh yes, this is Casa Bonita.   A waitress brings us beverage straws and chips and salsa.   We ask for our warm sopaipillas now also.

Lots of food for us. The raised red flag indicates we need our waitress.

This looks good.   These are sopaipillas.

Warm sopaipillas

Our moms love them.   After one taste, Zeb and Chanel are big sopaipilla fans also.  This is one of those restaurants that you don’t visit just for the food.   We think the food is fine.   It is not a small family run restaurant with the best green chili, but it is as good or better than Taco Bell.   And we bet you eat there.   Casa Bonita serves good food, but the entire experience is unique to Casa Bonita.   We have never been to any restaurant that has so much to see and there are so many places to explore here.   First let’s look at the pool.

Pool inside Casa Bonita. 30 foot waterfall here.

The waterfall, and one diving platform is 30 feet (9.1 m) high.   Frequently (about every 15 minutes) there will be a show above the pool, or a diver will perform for the guests.   The restaurant is similar to things you may see in Mexico, including the Acapulco cliff divers.   This man performed a dive where he twisted and turned before entering the water.

Diving into pool

We love water and we love watching the divers.  A gorilla stars in one of the short skits performed above the pool.

Short skit with gorilla.

Some skits result in one of the employees landing in the pool also.   We have eaten enough.   We all ordered extra tacos and lots of warm sopaipillas.   Honey on warm sopaipillas is delicious.   Now we will explore more of Casa Bonita.   This is where those addictive sopaipillas are made.

Where sopaipillas are made

Heading down the stairs, past the lower arcade (yes, there is another arcade on the upper level), we find the Quien Sabe Mine.

Entrance to Quien Sabe Mine dining room

Entering we discover another dining room resembling the inside of a mine.   The lights by each table offer plenty of light.

Table inside Quien Sabe Mine dining room

What a great dining room.   Leaving the mine, we soon enter this dining room with a fairly large stage.

A stage for entertainment while dining

Plenty of seating for diners here.   Each area has been decorated differently.   And very carefully to give a varied experience.   You could return and eat in a different room and have a different experience.   You can order the deluxe, all you can eat, dinner as we did, order other Mexican platters, try a salad, chile rellenos or fajitas.   American chicken fried steak or fried chicken breast is available, and also a kids menu.   We visited the dining room decorated as a cavern.   The stalagmites and stalactites were very realistic.   Here is a jail.

A Mexican jail

Moms are putting us in jail??

Zeb and Chanel are in jail??

But mom…   It is OK.   They got us out of jail.   Back up the stairs, past our dining area by the pool, into another room to the stage for the puppet show.

Stage for puppet show

Maybe we are performing here?   The stadium style seating is nice, but we are sitting under a gorilla to watch the puppet show?

Watching puppet show under a gorilla

There is another wall with a huge head of rock, but only one eye.   Rather close we discovered Black Bart’s Hideout.

Entrance to Black Bart’s Hideout

This is a favorite with guests.   We liked it also.   Next we wandered behind the waterfall that goes into the pool.   There are even tables for eating behind the waterfall.    This balcony reminds us of some seen in Mexico.

Mexican balcony. Another great dining location

Another great place to eat.   Up the stairs, we discovered more dining rooms and a different decor.   So many choices for dining here.   This restaurant can seat 1,100 guests at any time.   And with multiple dining rooms, you don’t feel crowded.   As we head toward the exit, we loved this stack of small plates.

We loved this stack of plates. Red flag is up. Zeb and Chanel want more sopaipillas.

We just had to smile seeing them.   Zeb and Chanel raised the flag; more sopaipillas, please??  But moms said no, time to go.   But, maybe just a quick look through the gift shop.   Some of my duck relatives live here.

Some relatives at Casa Bonita

There is so much more to see at Casa Bonita.   Strolling musicians, great mariachis entertain as you dine. Perhaps watch a magic show.  You can have a picture drawn, try the arcade games, see what the fortune telling machine predicts for you and explore even more areas of this restaurant.   Casa Bonita opened in Lakewood, Colorado in 1974 and has been entertaining visitors since. We had a wonderful afternoon at Casa Bonita.   We hope you visit, eat, explore and enjoy some time here also.

 

Creatures of Light Exhibit with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

These creatures light up.   We don’t.   Yesterday at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, we saw animals with bioluminescence and biofluorescence, from tiny fireflies to strange creatures in the ocean depths.

Let’s see the Creatures of Light

Let’s explore!  That is a giant firefly.   You will notice that it is dark in here, so pictures of us with these lighting creatures just doesn’t work well.   So what does this bioluminescence mean?    Bioluminescence is visible light generated by a living organism through a chemical reaction.  Eighty percent of all bioluminescent groups are in the world’s oceans.   Not so many on land. There are some fungi and insects, but no flowering plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians or mammals that glow.   Look at this glowing mushroom.

Glowing mushroom. With Eider duck

It exists in eastern North America, where it grows on decaying wood in the forests.   This is a huge model of the mushroom.   They are really much smaller, just a normal mushroom size. And a glowing variety of a millipede.

Variety of millipede

We have never seen these, but they are fascinating.   And a dark New Zealand cave with simulated glowworms.

Cave with glowworms

In the cave, fungus gnat larvae drop sticky “fishing lines” from the cave roof.   Glowworms give the light and the sticky lines attract and catch food.    Most glowing creatures are found in the ocean.    Ponyfish also glow.  Here is the sign that explains a little about the glow.

Ponyfish

Ponyfish are called Sapsap in the Philippines, where there are caught in huge numbers for soups and stews.   Guess they don’t glow when cooked.   These jelly fish, if poked or jostled, light up their rim.

These jellyfish also can light up

The jelly fish have both bioluminescent and fluorescent lighting.   This female anglerfish is a serious predator.

Female anglerfish

Have you ever heard of siphonophores?

Siphonophores

Well, here is one and do you know how big they can grow?    Some are 130 feet long (40 meters).  That is longer than the largest known blue whale.   They attract fish for food by twitching and using light.     And the dinoflagellate became our favorite.   This model is huge, but a real dinoflagellate is about the size of the head of a pin.

Dinoflagellate. Really the size of a pin head.

When something bumps into a dinoflagellate, the impact triggers a chemical reaction that ends in a burst of light.  This is very active in Mosquito Bay, a quiet lagoon on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico.   When you touch the waves at night, your hand leaves a trail of sparks in the water.   The more activity, the more bright lights.   We have never seen this, but mom, we want to.   Can we go to the Caribbean??   There is so much more to see here and you will learn so much.   The exhibit runs until June 10, 2018.   When it leaves Denver, it may be coming near you.   We hope you see this exhibit.  In Denver, the exhibit is free with your paid admission to the museum.    But beware, as the ducks said, you will want to visit everywhere and see some of these creatures for yourself.   But take the risk and visit this exhibit.

Zeb and Chanel Love the Aquarium Restaurant

Clear water, fish, a mermaid and great food.   What more could Chanel the Bear and Zeb the Duck want?   Our moms took us to lunch at the Denver Downtown Aquarium.

The Denver Aquarium

There is a really good restaurant inside.   And the restaurant has its own aquarium.   Walking outside to the aquarium restaurant, we stopped to visit with Sharky, a new friend.

Chatting with our new friend, Sharky.

He is nice.   Let’s go inside the restaurant now.

Let’s go inside to the restaurant.

Before we even enter the restaurant, we see the aquarium.

We love fish

Beautiful.   Inside we admire this painted pillar.

Inside decorations

The glass spears are like seaweed in the ocean.   Our table is next to the aquarium.

We could watch fish all day.

Those fish are swimming very close to us.   We, Chanel and Zeb, love the active fish.   Our moms ordered our lunch, but we aren’t sure about this.

Delicious lunch. Slightly crispy. Perfectly flakey. We get hungry remembering.

Moms, should we really be eating fish in an aquarium?   Are we eating their relatives?  But our moms said it is OK.   No relatives being eaten.   We have shrimp and tilapia.   And they are delicious.   Did you notice the salt and pepper shakers on our table?   They are seahorses.   Isn’t that just perfect for an aquarium?   This is part of Landry’s Seafood Restaurants.   Yum!  Look!!   A mermaid.   She is swimming right by our table.

Our mermaid!

She comes up to the glass and waves and throws kisses to bear, duck and human children.

She likes us the best

We think she likes us the best.  There is a nice variety of fish inside the aquarium.

Love the fish

Here is another type of fish.

Fish of a different color

More colors.   Even the lights hanging from the ceiling are fish.

Love these lights

Notice the small light on the belly of each fish?   All these small lights really give a lot of light, but do not detract from the fish in the aquarium.   Very nice.   Lunch was delicious and the restaurant is fun to explore.   But moms said we must go.   Lucky for us, the exit is through the gift shop.

In the gift shop, but our moms are not selling us.

We love these stuffed animals, but Chanel and Zeb are the cutest on this display.   Chanel and Zeb will perform on this outdoor stage.

An outdoor stage. Featuring Chanel the Bear and Zeb the Duck

Well, maybe we will return during warmer weather for our performance.   Our aquarium has a theater also.

Theater at the Denver Aquarium

We did not go inside the main aquarium today, but we saw a lot fish while savoring our lunch.   Maybe another time we will visit the entire aquarium, but we really loved our time here.   We hope you visit the Denver Aquarium or an aquarium near you.   Fish and water are soothing and we love watching the beautiful fish swim and we think you will enjoy it also.

Breckenridge, Colorado Snow Sculptures 2018

Zeb the Duck is back!   The International Snow Sculpture Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado, one of my favorite festivals, was last weekend.   Let’s go look.

Let’s go see the snow sculptures!

This one did not win an award, but I loved it.

Mindful from Team Turkey

Team Turkey says the mind is an amazing machine.   When a man and a woman develop a relationship, they become connected at the deepest level and their minds work as one even when they are apart.   The bumps on the top are a zipper to put the two minds together.

Team Turkey’s Mindful. Other side

Here is the other side of this sculpture.   Even the pupils of the eyes are carved in snow.   These sculptures, carved from 25 ton, 12 foot tall blocks of snow were finished and judged Friday evening.   We visited them Monday.   And look what happened over the weekend.

Team USA Wisconsin. 3rd Place but now fallen

This creation from Team USA Wisconsin, A Dance Devine, collapsed after being awarded 3rd place.   This was three leaf like figures dancing within a vine structure.   At 9,600 feet (2,926 meters) above sea level the intense Colorado sun can be brutal on snow sculptures, but the sun with 30 degree (F) temperatures are delightful for human and duck spectators.   The Thinker crafted by Team China earned 2nd place this year.

Thinker. Created by Team China

The Thinker also won Kid’s Choice award.   The apple represents wisdom in the Bible and it represents gravity in Newton’s law.   In modern times it represents technology.   The orangutans represent humans.   This design means thinking is a necessary part of human evolution.  To enter the competition each team submits their design and a brief explanation of their sculpture.   We appreciate the help understanding everything the artists are trying to express in their sculptures.   First place went to Team Mongolia-Erdene.

Team Mongolia Erdene. Secret. First place winner

This is titled Secret.  Women talk about a lot of things.   But they sometimes save their secrets.   They save secrets and mystery in their minds.   It’s like a locked chest.

Team Mongolia Erdene. Secret

A side view of this creation.   Secret also won People’s Choice Award.  Glad this do not melt and fall.

The Artists’Choice Award was bestowed on Time.

Time by Team Mongolia Tserendash. Artists’ Choice Award winner

This sculpture by Team Mongolia-Tserendash was a favorite for me, Zeb the Duck.   Time is the most powerful thing in the world.   It is honest because no one is given more than 24 hours a day.  It is immutable because no one changes the rhythm between minutes, seconds, and doles.   It is forceful because no one can survive from death; even the smartest one, the strongest one, and the most beautiful one eventually gives up along the time that goes gradually and endlessly.   But, the humans use time in their own rhythms, in relatively different way.   How they use time develops who they are.   This 28th Annual International Snow Sculpture Championships was presented by Toyota.

Toyota. Cosponsor of event

And by Breckenridge Brewery.

Breckenridge Brewery. Co sponsor of event

You may remember from prior years here, that no power tools are allowed in the creation of these snow sculptures.   All hand tools, sometimes as small as a potato peeler, are used on these snow blocks.   So interesting to see and notice so many little details.  There was one more sculpture I want you to see.   Catch & Release by Team USA Breckenridge, Colorado.

USA Breckenridge. Catch & Release

It is about the adventure, not just the prize.   Taking a journey down to the river in pursuit of catching a fish is less than the whole story.   This fisherman says after the fight, you finally reach down to collect your prize, unhook your lure, smile at your accomplishment and then just turn around and release this magnificent award back to nature.   At the end of it you take home nothing more than a sense of relaxation, a picture and a few fish stories.   Catching and releasing; a way to ensure that the fish will be there the next time to strike the fly and create the next memory.

Team USA Breckenridge, CO Catch & Release

The fisherman is done for the day, and so am I, Zeb the Duck.   We hope you are exploring and enjoying your home town and our incredible world.