What’s the Story with the Giant Sleeping Cowboy at this Colorado Park?
There are dozens of different playgrounds throughout Colorado, all designed to be fun in their own unique way. But a certain outdoor play area in Denver's Bear Creek Park tends to get more attention than other sites around the state.
The reason is because of the playground's unusual slide - a feature that's been a topic of discussion among Denverites since the 1970s.
When the slide was first built, the custom bright red concrete design was supposed to be representative of a Mexican hat, also known as a sombrero.
Although kids loved the slide from the start, adults grew increasingly more uncomfortable with the anatomical shape of the slide. There were also concerns that the structure was negatively representing the Mexican culture because of its placement, causing it to have a "sleepy" connotation.
The complaints continued, but the slide was too popular to remove, so in 2009, the city of Denver came up with another solution.
A company was paid $500K to work the concrete slide into a new architectural design that would still be a part of the playground. A pair of jean-clad knees and the toe of one giant-sized boot were added in front of the red hat.
The new design looks like a Bunyan-sized cowboy that settled in for a nap at the park. Panels telling the story of the western cowpoke and how he came to be were also added during the park's 2009 makeover. The words read “On the plains of Colorado roamed a giant cowboy… He traveled across the land, herding cattle from town to town…Upon seeing Bear Creek, the giant rested along the water's edge and called it home.”
Even though it's changed a bit over the years, this playground remains a fun roadside attraction for people of all ages in Colorado.
Visit Bear Creek Park and The Sleeping Giant at 3550 South Raleigh Street in Denver.