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Deals: Summer reading program, library’s used book sale and more

Reading rewards

Barnes & Noble’s Summer Reading Program rewards kids with a free book, after they’ve taken eight literary adventures. With help from their parents, kids keep track of the books they’ve read in an “Imagination’s Destination Reading Journal.” Once the list is completed, readers in grade one through six can take it to any participating location and pick out their well-deserved reward from a limited selection of children’s books through Sept. 2.

Drink up art

The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (1485 Delgany St., 303-298-7554) hopes to entice more visitors with its just-launched “Museum-Quality Drinking,” a mix of discounted admission, premium cocktails and live music in the rooftop garden. Throughout the summer, the museum will stay open until 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with admission just $5 after 5 p.m. Every Wednesday, visitors can sample tasty cocktails and foods from local businesses, and on Friday nights live music will fill the air.

Senior special

Age has its privileges. On May 31, the 25th annual “Salute to Seniors” fills the Colorado Convention Center’s Mile High Ballroom from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day starts with morning exercises and continues all day with a 1960s vintage car show, live music, bingo, a photo booth, variety shows, a health and fitness center, food samples and resource fair. This year, for the first time, admission is free. Reservations are suggested by calling 855-880-4777, but everyone is welcome. And how’s this for service? Free parking is available at the Pepsi Center, along with free shuttles to the Convention Center’s front door.

Laura Daily and Bryan K. Chavez


Whale call

Friends of the Jefferson County Public Library present its annual “Spring Whale of a Used Book Sale” offering more than 100,000 books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks and videos May 30 through June 1. Most items are priced 50 cents to $2.50. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 30-31 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 1. June 1 is Bag Day, bring your own grocery-size bag and fill it for $6. Book sale proceeds fund various literacy programs. A Friends Preview Sale is 6 to 8:30 p.m. May 29. Members get in free, and new members are invited to join online (details on the website) or at the door starting at 5 p.m. Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 15200 W. Sixth Ave., Golden, 303-403-5075, e-mail [email protected],

Creature comforts

Every Creature Counts has reduced its cat adoption fees through June 8. Cats 6 years and older are $25, $50 for ages 1 to 5 years and $75 for cats under 1 year. All cats have been spayed or neutered, have vaccines, testing and a microchip. ECC’s animals are offered through a partnership with PetSmart, Chuck & Don’s and Petco. A list of locations and animals available is on the website.

H2o is the way to go

The Colorado Water Garden Society is gearing up for its Annual Plant Sale June 1 offering various water lilies, bog plants, floating plants and tropical and hardy marginals along with potting materials, supplies and “pond critters.” Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free. CWGS staff members will be on hand to offer advice and answer questions. Members get in the door at 9 a.m. Hudson Gardens, 6115 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, 303-423-9216,

Free days

June 2: Denver Museum of Nature & Science,

-Vicki Heath




Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Maya Exhibit Goes Back in Time

I’m feeling very kid-in-a-candy-store as I push through the door into “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed,” a massive exhibit in the new wing of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. The familiar, mysterious forms of limestone steps and jaguar masks come into focus as I turn the corner and begin my journey.

I travel to the Maya region often — to Belize, Guatemala and parts of Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras. Each archaeological site in these countries is unique: Tikal’s steep temples in the highlands, Chichén Itzá’s wide ballcourt in the Yucatan; Copán, the Athens of the Classic Period kingdoms (A.D. 250-900). Each place has its own history, style, energy and purpose, and to see them all in one place and in relation to each other is a rare archaeological smorgasbord for an amateur Mayaphile like myself.

The exhibition, which is the largest of its kind ever to be shown in the United States, was co-created with the Science Museum of Minnesota and a network of museums and archaeologists in the Maya countries. It begins with a replica of an active archaeological dig and goes backward in time from there, spanning the Classic Period through today’s modern Maya communities (there are still some 7 million Maya, speaking 30 distinct languages).

I wish I’d had the opportunity to explore these interactive displays before my trips south, to bone up on the area’s unique history and on modern Mayan greetings and phrases, but I find it works the other way around, too.

As I carry on, I stumble upon the famous succession of kings on Altar Q from Copán; the crystallized skeleton from the sacrificial cave, Actun Tunichil Muknal; and the “lidar” aerial image of Caracol archaeological site in Belize (courtesy of NASA laser technology) that is causing a small revolution in archaeology.

I’m struck by how the displays focus not just on objects and factoids — what we know about the Maya, but also, in the words of Michele Koons, curator of archaeology at DMNS, how they delve into “how we know what we know.”

This feeling of discovery is central, I think, as I continue into a low-lit room with dripping-water sounds. Jaime Awe, director of archaeology of Belize, greets me from a screen in the “Dead Tell Tales” display, explaining how, as an extended period of drought set in, the Maya made greater and greater sacrifices, deeper and deeper inside these sacred caves.

It is not difficult to draw parallels to our modern times of drought and climate change, and to wonder what sacrifices we are making today — and what archaeologists of the future will say when they dig up our lost cities and buried bones.

Joshua Berman