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Denver Botanic Gardens
There’s more to the Botanical Gardens in Denver than just the pretty face of its landscaped grounds and beautiful flowers. It’s also a world-class research center with a mission to connect people with plants (especially the plants endemic to the Rocky Mountains) and to encourage understanding of the ecosystems in which they thrive. The 23-acre location on York Street has a variety of gardens (many based on typically western climates like mountains and plains), popular exhibits, and a shop; it additionally hosts a summer concert series and nighttime events. The institution’s second main location, at Chatfield Farms on the southwest edge of greater Denver, focuses on native flora and agriculture; there's a working farm on its 700 acres. Both spots offer extensive educational opportunities as well as incredible events like York Street’s Blossoms of Light holiday show.
By Cameron Martindell, AFAR Local Expert
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One of the best art exhibits I've ever seen took place at the Denver Botanical Gardens where at the moment they are exhibiting the fabulous work of Dale Chihuly. It is still going on until November 30th so if you are in the Denver area do check it out.
Nature and Art
If you are ever in Denver, spend a relaxing day wandering through the Botanic Gardens. Every kind of landscape imaginable is just a few yards in any direction, from Kakaw trees with cocoa beans in an enclosed jungle, hot desert landscapes, to a well manicured Japanese garden, Denver has it all. And everywhere you look, interesting art by some of America's best sculptors, like Alan Houser from Santa Fe.
While visiting the Denver Botanic Gardens this spring, there was a Stephen Talasnik installation that consisted of all these woven sculptures floating on the ponds. It was a little surreal and very mesmerizing. The Denver Botanic Gardens is filled with lovely, lovely plants and always worth a visit!
I love the play of dark and light that you get when you are in a tropical rain forest and the Denver Botanical Garden has managed to recreate that sensation. I could almost convince myself I was back in Hawaii! The light hit this plant so that some of it was brilliantly exposed and some was completely shrouded in darkness. I wanted to keep that sense of mystery in the photo.
Just Like Being in the Desert!
I love cacti of all sorts, but I especially love them when they are in bloom. That's something I don't get to see very often, living in Minnesota, and I've never done very well at timing my trips to Arizona to catch the cacti in bloom there. Imagine my delight at finding all the cacti in bloom when I visited the Botanical Gardens in Denver! What an unexpected treat.
Stop Action Shot of a Bamboo Wave
Ok, so it wasn't hard to stop this wave in action, as a bamboo wave isn't going to go very far. I still love the feeling us suspended movement. The Denver Botanic Garden has been hosting an installation of enormous bamboo structures by Tetsunori Kawana - all of which look like so many different giant waves frozen in time.
Beautiful Gardens in Denver
The Denver Botanic Gardens provide a beautiful, sweeping escape into nature, with no less than 42 individual gardens covering a range of ecosystems. The Gardens also host a summer concert series, plus they offer yoga in the park, and even a school of botanical art and illustration. Indoor gardens and the Helen Fowler Library make it a great visit any time of year.
A Full Day Away at the Denver Botanic Gardens
If you're anything like me, you're probably a little skeptical when it comes to visiting a botanic gardens—you've had just enough amazing experiences that encourage you to visit more, but a few true disappointments when you pay to see no more than two arrangements of plants that bloomed a month ago. The Denver Botanic Gardens is a success story. There is so much to see that your visit could last the entire day—and you will still have undiscovered corners to see another time. The gardens integrate meandering pathways with various gardens, water elements, and artwork. With something interesting to look at around nearly every corner, you will also find plenty of plants that are flowering to add a generous sprinkling of color to the greens. The Gardens also hosts a number of fascinating classes and activities including tea, painting, and photography among the flowers. There is a conservatory, cafe, and even a generous children's garden that offers a number of exploration and educational benefits for kids. I visited in July and was drawn to the Gardens for the Dale Chihuly exhibit that adds so much art, color, and intrigue to each garden. Chihuly's work is on display for the summer and autumn of 2014. Admission for adult (non-members) is $15.
By Andrea Rip, AFAR Local Expert
1007 York St, Denver, CO 80206, USA
Sun - Sat 9am - 5pm