Appreciate Life & Earth at Denver Botanic Gardens
A sprawling 24 acres of beautifully cultivated gardens, the Denver Botanic Gardens in Colorado fits right in with a state known for its scenic views and breathtaking natural splendor. From international gardens bursting with florae from Japan, South Africa, and China, to ornamental gardens that showcase the brilliant blooms of flowers like daylilies and irises, there is nary a spot in the entire site that doesn’t embrace the glory of nature. Formed by the Colorado Forestry and Horticulture Association in the 1950s, the Denver Botanic Gardens have been enthralling visitors for decades with a wide selection of trees and plants from all over the world. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the alluring beauty of the Denver Botanic Gardens.
What to see at Denver Botanic Gardens
The Denver Botanic Gardens groups its individual plots into five themed gardens:
- Gardens of the West — Filled with regional plants from the steppe climate, this 17-garden region of the Denver Botanic Gardens showcases everything from cacti to dwarf conifers.
- Internationally Inspired Gardens — Despite the difference in geography, plants that traditionally grow well in Asian and African climates also thrive here. Wander through a traditional Japanese stroll garden featuring 130 character pines or examine the fancifully named "lion’s ear" annual in the South African Plaza.
- Ornamental Gardens — This section hosts a fragrance garden, a sensory garden that allows people of all abilities to engage with the plants, and even a Victorian garden featuring hardy plants that capture the look of a tropical escape.
- Shady Gardens — If you visit the Denver Botanical Gardens during the summer or early fall, these gardens provide a much-needed respite from the heat. Take a stroll down the Birds and Bees Walk or Woodland Mosaic, where you’ll experience the beauty of low-light plants that populate the forest floor.
- Water Gardens — Admire the aquatic plant collections in the Four Towers and Monet Pools, both of which are brimming with brightly colored tropical and hardy waterlilies.
Meander down paths that neatly separate each of the 50 gardens from their next-door neighbors, and don’t forget to check out indoor seasonal plant displays housed in the Orangery and Marnie’s Pavilion. If you’re visiting with younger kids in tow, the Mordecai Children’s Garden (part of the Gardens of the West) is a wonderland for hands-on playing opportunities that highlight six unique ecosystems. Both children and adults will leave with a newfound appreciation for plant diversity and the marvels of nature.
Finding Your Way Around the Gardens
With two-dozen acres to wander through, a Denver Botanical Gardens map is a lifesaver. Pick one up at the gardens themselves or download a digital version on your phone.
If you’re not into a self-guided visit, you can always take a docent- or staff-led tour from April through September for an additional cost. Each tour has its own theme and is only available on specific days and times, so make sure you register before you arrive to secure your spot.
Seasonal Activities and Events
The Denver Botanical Gardens offers an array of seasonal activities for visitors for an additional fee. In addition to plant and flower exhibits, there’s the Chatfield Corn Maze, and you can also find sculpture displays and art exhibits, depending on when you go. Make sure to check the website before your visit so you know which attractions will be open during your visit.
Parking at Denver Botanical Gardens
Parking for Denver Botanical Gardens can be a little challenging, as there is only limited free parking in the complex between York and Josephine and street parking in Cheesman or Congress Parks nearby. Note that RVs and vans are not allowed in the Botanical Gardens parking complex. However, bike lovers will be happy to find the site easily accessible on two wheels.
Denver Botanic Gardens Tickets and Membership
Tickets for the Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street can be purchased online via the official website, or through Denver CityPASS, which offers deeply discounted tickets to Denver’s top attractions. If you’ll be in the city for at least a couple days, try a CityPASS to get the most out of your time there. You can visit enthralling spots like the Downtown Aquarium and Denver Zoo for much less than the list price.
Denver residents and those who can’t get enough of the gardens should consider investing in a Denver Botanical Gardens membership. Available for individuals as well as families, a membership delivers benefits like guest passes, exclusive early entry to the gardens during Member Mornings, and even two tickets to Blossoms of Light.
Whether you’re an avid nature lover or you have an urge to escape the hubbub of the city for a few hours, you can’t go wrong with the Denver Botanical Gardens. It’s tranquil, spacious, and truly fosters an appreciation for the incredible diversity of our planet.
Experience the Denver Botanic Gardens for Less With CityPASS
Why pay full price when you can visit the Denver Botanic Gardens plus some of Denver’s most famous attractions for less with CityPASS? Choose from a three-, four-, or five-attraction pass and experience the Downtown Aquarium, Denver Zoo, Denver Art Museum, and more for up to less. Buy your Denver CityPASS and get ready to explore Denver.
Header Image © Denver Botanic Gardens. Photograph by Scott Dressel-Martin