Trip to the Tropics: 5 Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Denver

Adrift Tiki Bar

Adrift Tiki Bar

Yesterday was one of those gloomy, wet days that makes you forget all about the tantalizing, 80-degree weather the day before (yep, this is Colorado). Fortunately, marginal employment affords me a pretty flexible schedule these days, so instead of lamenting the dreary weather, I spent my Monday chasing tropical pursuits around the city:

1. Denver Nature & Science Museum: This is always a good standby when you’re going stir crazy and need to get out of the house during rainy/snowy weather. Yesterday, we checked out the Lizards & Snakes exhibit, which had more than 60 live snakes (silent scream!) and lizards. My favorite was the chameleon, which really does change colors when it walks onto different foliage (in case you were wondering). Tip: I happened to discover by dumb luck that around 1:45 p.m. on a weekday is the best time to visit. That’s when field trip buses depart, taking gaggles of screaming children back to school and leaving behind a quiet, line-free museum.

2. Adrift Tiki Bar: I don’t know if it was the smiling hula girl paintings or the retro exotica music playing in the background, but this South Seas hideaway on South Broadway was just the tropical escape I needed yesterday. Their menu is packed with Polynesian-inspired small plates and classic (read: high-octane) cocktails like mai tais, zombies and (my favorite) the Macadamia Nut Chi Chi: a sweet, nutty blend of macadamia nut liqueur, vodka, coconut cream and pineapple juice. Other things to order: the carnita pork slider with charred pineapple and green onion aioli, and the mofongo chips, which are basically smashed green plantain patties that are fried and drizzled with a sticky-sweet coconut rum glaze. Yum.

3. Sweet Action Ice Cream: Okay, true, ice cream probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when it’s all gloom and doom outside, but maybe it should be (especially when it comes to Sweet Action). What better way to brighten your rainy day than a scoop of brightly-colored blood orange sorbet or vegan jalapeño lime ice cream?

Two More Tropical Things I Wish I Did Yesterday:

4. Denver Botanic Gardens: Between the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory, Marnie’s Pavilion, Greenhouse Complex and the Orangery, this flower powerhouse touts a number of indoor areas with lush, exotic foliage.

5. Downtown Aquarium: According to the aquarium’s website, they have sharks, coral reefs, mermaids and tigers (really, tigers?). Sounds like a tropical adventure to me.

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