Sleeping giant.

Sleeping Giant in a Sombrero

Field review by the editors.

Denver, Colorado

In the 1970s Bear Creek Park in Denver added a concrete playground slide custom-built in the shape of a giant Mexican hat. It was painted red, and popular with kids, although some adults whispered that the sombrero also looked a lot like an oversized part of the female anatomy.

Decades passed, and the city became increasingly uncomfortable with the hat's anatomical and "sleepy Mexican" connotations. The slide was too popular to remove, so the city paid a design company a half-million dollars to do something with the sombrero. The solution, unveiled July 7, 2009, was to accessorize it with a pair of jean-clad knees and the toe of a size XXXXL cowboy boot, suggesting that a half-buried, Bunyan-size USA cowpoke had settled in for a nap beneath the playground's cushioning bed of cedar shavings.

This merger of South of the Border and The Awakening is clever, but it doesn't fool everyone. "I've lived here 30 years," said a mom we met at the slide. "We always call it Mexican Hat Park."

Sleeping Giant in a Sombrero

Bear Creek Park

3550 South Raleigh St., Denver, CO
Bear Creek Park. Access from W. Hamilton Place and Raleigh St. Drive south under US Hwy 285 into Bear Creak Park, at the west end of S. Raleigh St.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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