A Front Ranger recently asked me if the Botanic Gardens was “worth it,” to which I nearly guffawed but instead kindly replied, “Abso-freaking-lutely!” I’ve been to this little slice of paradise in Denver dozens of times, and no two visits are ever the same. There are thousands of plants, both from Colorado and around the globe, lovingly placed in about 50 meticulously designed gardens over 24 acres. This Mile High landmark has been a haven for Denverites since the 1950s and is a locale that can (and should) be visited over and over again!
The self-proclaimed mission of Denver Botanic Gardens is "to connect people with plants" and to provide "delight and enlightenment to everyone," and as an avid Garden goer and lover, I'd say they've achieved their primary goal and then some.
The Gardens actually started in City Park in 1951 next to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science then moved to their current location on York Street in Cheesman Park in 1959. (Photo circa early 1950s).
And boy howdy, have they come a long way, now with 11 facilities and 50 gardens spanning over 24 glorious acres of serenity and sensorial pleasure.
Sprinkled throughout the property are seven wondrous water gardens, which display over 450 species and varieties of aquatic plants, including waterlilies, cannas, and cattails.
The water gardens provide a perfectly picturesque opportunity to reflect...
...and meditate. Well, you get the picture.
Whether you enjoy your sweet solitude or sit with a love and talk for hours, the water gardens offer moments of healing and respite in an urban oasis smack-dab in the middle of the city.
Adjacent to the Four Towers Pool, is the Science Pyramid, which "showcases the scientific foundation of Denver Botanic Gardens and invites you to see the world of plants through a scientific lens," using interactive technology.
Along with the water gardens are dozens of other gardens containing a diverse assortment of native and adopted plants which thrive in our arid, high altitude climate. The design is inspired by gardens from around the globe, including the English countryside, Asian woodlands, South African steppe, and Colorado Rockies.
I implore you to wander and discover your own private Eden among the gardens.
There are tea houses and pavilions, shady lanes and oak groves, perennial walks and waterways, all awaiting your arrival.
Secret treasures can be found around every corner and down every passageway.
Not only do the Gardens offer thousands and thousands of beautiful plants to behold, but it also exhibits amazing art collections throughout the grounds, including this magnificent glass work acquired from the Dale Chihuly exhibition in 2014.
Currently on display are 13 masterworks from the Walker Art Center entitled "Stories in Sculpture," including this piece by Barry Flanagan...
...and this intriguing bronze "Walking Man" by George Segal circa 1988.
One of my favorite not-so-hidden oases of the Gardens is the massive Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory, displaying exotic plants from tropical and subtropical regions around the world.
Across the street from the main facility is the charming Mordecai Children's Garden, designed with a family-friendly focus in mind. Explore six unique Colorado ecosystems across three acres of gardens and interactive exhibits.
The Gardens proudly hosts many events throughout the summer, like their Evenings al Fresco which runs through August and includes half-off admission, dinner specials, and more!
Enjoy the Gardens' Summer Concert Series from now until September, with big talent like Steep Canyon Rangers, Trout Steak Revival, and Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers.
As if that wasn't enough, sunrise and evening yoga sessions are also offered throughout the summer and fall! Namaste.
When in need of refueling and refreshments, stop by the lovely Hive Garden Bistro (seen here) or the indoor Offshoots Cafe by the Conservatory for sips and sundries.
Sun salutations from the California poppies...
...and the hybridized waterlilies...
...and the Kaleidoscope orchids...
...and the riotous red tulips...
...and the beloved Colorado blue columbine.
So what are you waiting for!? Grab a friend or a lover, a book or a camera, and meander for hours at the magnificent Denver Botanic Gardens!
Like what you see here? Then you should also pay a visit to their truly amazing and unique
Chatfield Farms, which spans over 750 acres along Deer Creek in Jefferson County. Happy Gardening!