From vintage speedsters to enormous locomotives to vehicles straight out of science fiction, Denver’s transportation museums are fun for all ages.
Forney Museum of Transportation
"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.
Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Museum
Located in a 150,000-square-foot, 1930s-era former Air Force hangar, Wings Over the Rockies is heaven for the aerospace enthusiast. The museum is home to more than three-dozen historic airplanes and space vehicles, including a massive B-52 Stratofortress, a 1926 Eaglerock "longwing," and - Star Wars fans take note - an X-Wing fighter.
MUST-SEE: The Avionics and Radio Exhibit is a wonderful collection of beautifully restored examples of period radio, telephone and avionics technology.
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!
Colorado Railroad Museum
Housed in a replica of a 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.
United States Air Force Academy
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 the Cadet Chapel, Honor Court, Arnold Hall and sights along the beautiful campus.