From vintage speedsters to enormous locomotives to vehicles straight out of science fiction, Denver’s transportation museums are fun for all ages.
"Anything on wheels" is the Forney Museum of Transportation's motto, and the museum boasts a one-of-a-kind collection of more than 500 exhibits relating to historical transportation. Highlights include "Big Boy," the world's largest steam locomotive, legendary aviator Amelia Earhart's Gold Bug Kissel and a rare 1916 Detroit Electric Opera Coupe, one of the world's first electric cars.
MUST-SEE: The amazing Amphicar, the world's only mass-produced passenger amphibious vehicle designed for everyday use.
Located in a 180,000-plus-square-foot, 1930s-era former Air Force hangar, Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is heaven for families and aerospace enthusiasts alike. The museum houses more than 50 aircraft and space vehicles, including a hulking B1-A Lancer, massive B-52 Stratofortress and the ever popular Star Wars™ X-Wing Starfighter, signed by many members of the original cast and crew including Harrison Ford and George Lucas.
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MUST-SEE: The Uniform Room exhibit features flight suits, helmets, and accessories from various eras and is accompanied by an audio tour featuring little-known facts about some of the artifacts.
Trace the evolution of the automobile at this beautiful museum in south Denver. What started out as a small family car collection grew into something more permanent, featuring autos from key points in history such as the prohibition, classic muscle and modern exotic car eras. Check with Vehicle Vault before you visit to make sure it’s not closed for a special event.
MUST-SEE: A Stutz two-seat roadster.
Author Clive Cussler is best known for his gripping thrillers, such as Raise the Titanic! and Sahara, but he's also a classic car nut. At the Cussler Museum in nearby Arvada, visitors can check out Cussler's impressive collection of more than 100 antique autos, ranging in years from 1906 to 1965. "Someday [the cars will] be looked upon as mechanical masterworks of art and receive the admiration that is given to the Van Goghs and Rembrandts," Cussler says.
MUST-SEE: Cussler's oldest automobile is the 1906 Stanley Steamer, which could reach the incredible speed of 127 mph!
Housed in a replica of an 1880s-style depot, The Colorado Railroad Museum is a delight for train lovers of all ages. Enjoy thousands of rare photographs, artifacts and documents illustrating the colorful histories of the railroads that have served the state for more than 125 years. Then head outside to explore 15 acres of sprawling grounds with more than 100 narrow and standard gauge locomotives, cars and other rolling stock.
MUST-SEE: On the museum's lower level, check out the Denver HO Society's "Denver and Western" large operating model train layout. Open to the public until 9:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month, it features HO, HOn3 and electrics that represent Colorado rail history in miniature.
Located 45 minutes south of Denver, the Air Force Academy was sanctioned in 1954 to produce future military leaders. The Academy experience is free to the public, offering self-guided tours, a visitor center, aircraft displays, a gift shop and a snack bar.
MUST-SEE: Guided tours provide an in-depth look at Cadet Chapel, Honor Court, Arnold Hall and other sights along the beautiful campus.