Made famous by South Park, Casa Bonita in Lakewood, CO is one of the most entertaining (and downright weird) dining experiences in the world- literally. Pegged the "greatest show in Denver," this Mexican restaurant slash amusement park is over 52,000 sq.ft. of fun for kids and adults alike and part of a new category of restaurants known as eater-tainment. Literally translating to a "beautiful house," it's not the food you come for in this all you can eat buffet (although the saving grace was the deliciously flaky, sweet sopaipillas).
A Colorado landmark, the 85 ft. pink tower is hard to miss. Besides the notable architecture, the dome is covered with 22-karat gold leaf and features a statue of the last Aztec emperor - Quahuatomec. Inside, the 30 ft. high thundering waterfall was designed to resemble the cliffs of Acapulco. Arguably their biggest draw, the restaurant was made famous by the all-day indoor cliff divers.
Be sure to check out the old time photo studio to get your picture taken in your best western wear. Catch a show at the theater once visited by the Fray. Go gold mining for real gold flakes embedded in the rock formations or visit the Silver Mine - intentionally a few feet lower because silver is mined deeper in the ground than gold. If you haven't gotten the sense already, these folks care about the details.
Catch the strolling mariachis, flame jugglers and visit Black Bart's secret pirate hideout full of mystery and intrigue. Complete your once in a lifetime dining experience with puppet shows, arcade games and a trip to the "haunted tunnel." But be prepared, with so many things going on at once, your head will spin with what to look at first. For all you ADD folks out there, it's a trip. Imitation Casa Bonita's were opened in Arizona and Illinois, but don't be fooled - there is only one original.
And you thought you needed a babysitter to eat out?
6715 West Colfax Ave. 303-232-5115. http://www.casabonitadenver.com/