One of the advantages of being in the mountains is regular access to a night sky unobstructed by pollution or pesky city lights. Thankfully, the Chamberlin Observatory in south Denver has been saving Denver residents the schlepp into those mountains for over a hundred years.
Twice a week (and sometimes more if there’s something special going on in the sky) the observatory holds a public night where astronomers from the nearby University of Denver give short lectures on the stars and planets, answer whatever pressing astronomical questions you may have, and let you have a peak through the telescope. It’s quite a unique experience, as not every day do you get to check out the stars through a telescope so old that it was on display at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair — the same expo that dubiously declared Pabst to be America’s finest beer (hence the blue ribbon).
In return for this opportunity, the observatory asks for a $3 donation ($2 for children) to keep the facilities running. They also ask that you make a reservation. It’s not usually necessary to do so farther than a day or two in advance, although the events do generally fill up.
[Photo courtesy of Denver Astronomical Society]