Denver Botanic Gardens – An Outdoor Escape
The Denver Botanic Gardens are the city’s outdoor escape. Founded in February 1951, the 23-acre York Street location showcases garden designs that thrive in typically western climates; art exhibitions are included with admission.
The Gardens also have a smaller location at Chatfield Farms that focuses on Colorado native flora. Both are great places to spend a day with kids, especially if you’re taking advantage of their current collaboration with Meow Wolf. Read on to learn more.
What to Expect
Most botanic gardens feature a lot of walking and standing. Make sure that everyone in your group wears comfortable shoes that can handle a lot of walking and are dressed appropriately for the weather. It’s also a good idea to bring a water bottle and sun protection.
The Gardens are full of gorgeous plants from all over the world. They’re also home to a few pieces of internationally recognized art. For example, they’re currently displaying a giant orange and red Chihuly sculpture and So Proud of My Children, a carved stone piece that depicts maternal love by Zimbabwean artist Nicholas Kadzungura.
The Gardens are free to visit on certain days throughout the year. Consider becoming a member of Denver Botanic Gardens to get the most out of your visits. This tier includes 3 one-time-use guest passes, entry to Members Mornings, a subscription to the Garden’s magazine, and the monthly Botanic newsletter.
In an era when kids spend less time outside than ever before, the 23-acre Denver Botanic Gardens is a fresh-air adventure that nurtures their minds and bodies. Stroll the gardens at your own pace or join a tour that dives into a particular aspect of the park. Explore the conservatory on a tropical plant tour, dig in with a child’s garden exploration, or take part in a mindfulness and meditation class.
There’s even a children’s playground and a small stream where kids can splash about and dig in the sand. You can also take a stroll around the lake or visit the nature center to learn about the animals that live in the surrounding area.
The gardens also offer special events, including pumpkin festivals and corn mazes, flower shows, and lavender festivals. Check the website for more information. Kids can also explore the southwestern-themed Garden of the West, home to plants that thrive in Colorado’s arid climate. Here is another spot to visit.
From a Western-themed garden to a collection of rare orchids, the Gardens offer a variety of unique spaces for viewing and learning. The Helen Fowler Library contains an impressive collection of botanical and horticultural literature on Rocky Mountain plants, as well as similar regions around the world.
An alpine garden celebrates Colorado’s mountain ranges and features ponderosa pine and quaking aspen. The Gates Montane Garden showcases low-growing conifers, a group of evergreen cultivars that grow slowly and can be used in small spaces.
Dryland Mesa exhibits low-water plants introduced by Plant Select, a collaboration between Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado State University, and the Green Industry. These plants have been tested with minimal water, in order to be marketed as suitable for the high-plains and intermountain regions.
The Fragrance Garden uses plants to create scents, from roses and lilies of the valley to aromatic herbs like oregano and marjoram. The Gardens also feature an extensive water garden and host the International Waterlily and Gardening Society’s annual symposium.
The gardens are open year-round but spring is the best time to visit, when tulips reach peak bloom and the rose garden bursts with color. Other highlights are the lily pool inspired by Monet’s water lilies and Colorado high plains grasses and wildflowers, as well as rock alpine, herb, and romantic gardens. The domed Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory is home to thousands of tropical plants. The Denver Botanic Gardens also offers a variety of tours.
Community outreach and scientific research are important parts of the facility’s mission, with classes on botanical art and illustration, day camps for kids, and lectures for adults. The recently opened Freyer-Newman Center at York Street and East Eleventh Avenue features a 277-seat auditorium, art galleries, classrooms, a Helen Fowler Library, and laboratories. Next article.
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