The annual Noon Year’s Eve celebration at the Children’s Museum of Denver includes kids making noise-makers and party hats along with a
The annual Noon Year's Eve celebration at the Children's Museum of Denver includes kids making noise-makers and party hats along with a sparkling ball that is lowered as kids jump on a carpet of bubble wrap, serving as a giant noise-maker to ring in the new year. (Kathryn Scott Osler, Denver Post file)
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CRITICS PICK

Blast into 2012 with two fireworks shows

Saturday arrives with a bang at downtown Denver's annual New Year's Eve fireworks display. Snag a spot on the 16th Street Mall for the best view of this year's display —10 DJs will be set up along the Mall to spin tunes before the countdown begins. When the fireworks are ready to launch, they'll sync up their sets to accompany the sparkling show overhead. Families with youngsters can come for an early show at 9 p.m.; revelers waiting for the official turn of the calendar will get their own show at the stroke of midnight. 9 p.m. Saturday and midnight Sunday. Downtown Denver. Free. downtowndenver.com  Kathleen St. John

FAMILY FUN

Celebrate early at the noon year's eve for kids

Saturday. It's become a tradition all its own: Noon Year's Eve takes over the Children's Museum of Denver, ringing in 2012 with kid-friendly festivities. The New Year arrives early with Times-Square-style ball-drops every hour, on the hour. Dance to music on the museum's plaza and jump on sheets of bubble wrap to create flame-free "fireworks." Little ones can also listen to stories, work on art projects and, for $2, take rides on Vern's Mini-Train. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Children's Museum of Denver, 2121 Children's Museum Drive; 303-433-7444. Activities included with museum admission: $8 for guests ages 2 to 59; $6 for 1-year-olds and seniors age 60 and older. mychildsmuseum.org

Count down the hours with zoo year's eve

Saturday. New Year's Eve gets wild at the Denver Zoo's "Zoo Year's Eve." Part of the seasonal Zoo Lights celebration, Zoo Year's Eve features DJ Curtis spinning danceable tunes in the Gates Wildlife Conservation Education Center, plus face-painting and New Year's-themed crafts. Zoo Year's Eve is a good idea for families with young kids who might not make it to midnight — count down the final seconds of 2011 a few hours early, beginning at 9 p.m. Remember: Sunday brings the last night of Zoo Lights until the 2012 holiday season. 5-9 p.m. Saturday. The Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele St.; 303-376-4800. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors age 65 and older, $5 for kids ages 3 to 11. Get $1 off admission with a nonperishable food donation. denverzoo.org

Extreme rodeo lassos four daredevil events

Saturday. Celebrate the New Year in true Western style at the New Year's Eve Extreme Rodeo in Loveland. The holiday hoedown features cowboys competing in four daredevil events: bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding and freestyle bullfighting. To save a little cash, special $8 tickets for kids age 12 and younger are available in advance at the Budweiser Events Center box office. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Budweiser Events Center, 5290 Arena Circle, Loveland; 970-619-4100. Tickets are $12-$25. Buy tickets at comcasttix.com or call 877-544-TIXX. beclive.com

Rocky Mountain Tenors concert mixes it up

Saturday. Head south for a classy New Year's Eve with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. The "Three Rocky Mountain Tenors" concert — starring Max Ferguson, Matt McMahan and Joseph Mikolaj — includes a mix of classical works with fun, poppy tunes. For instance, Donizetti's "Una furtiva lagrima" gets thrown in the mix next to "On the Street Where You Live" from the musical "My Fair Lady." 8 p.m. Saturday. Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts, 190 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs; 719-520-SHOW. Tickets are $19-$57, with children's tickets starting at $12. To buy tickets, call or visit ticketswest.com. csphilharmonic.org

Exhibit showcases Jonathan Hils' works and Corvo Brothers' photos

Jonathan Hils, an associate professor of sculpture at the University of Oklahoma, has been a regular presence on the Denver art scene for about a decade, showing first at Studio Aiello and since 2006 at Walker Fine Art, 300 W. 11th Ave.

He creates large, abstract, often rounded forms, some suggesting recognizable objects such as buoys. These welded-steel works, with an array of surface treatments, have open, latticework walls, constructed with often quasi-organic patterns.

Although these works sometimes verge on the decorative, the craftsmanship is always impeccable, and it is impossible to deny Hils' unerring sense of space and form.

(Provided by Walker Fine Arts)

Nine of Hils' latest sculptures, including three wall pieces and stand-alone works as tall as 90 inches, are contrasted with digital photos by the Boulder-based Corvo Brothers in an exhibition at Walker Fine Art running through Jan. 7.

The gallery will be closed this weekend for the New Year's holiday, but the show will be on view Tuesday through its closing, with extended hours from 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 6. Free. 303-355-8955 or walkerfineart.com. Kyle MacMillan