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Immerse Yourself in Nature at Denver Botanic Gardens

June 28, 2023 By CityPASS

Escape the bustle of the city in the serene urban oasis of the Denver Botanic Gardens. Located in Colorado's exciting capital city, the gardens are the perfect place to connect with nature, discover diverse plant life, and enjoy a sense of serenity.

Step through the gates into a vibrant world of flowers and exotic plants that delight the senses. Explore different themed gardens, spot wild animals, and even discover natural pools and water features. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, planning a day of family fun, or simply looking to enjoy a meditative afternoon, the garden has something for everyone.

You'll find the main 24-acre garden at York Street in the center of Denver, but you can also visit another garden at Chatfield Farms south of the city. You can enjoy the gardens' permanent features and year-round events and exhibits and explore the visitor center and gift shop.

Read on to discover more about this truly immersive living museum.

Why Should You Visit the Denver Botanic Gardens?

There are many reasons to visit the Denver Botanic Gardens year-round.

The diverse plant life is one of the main attractions, as the gardens house seven living collections. The wide variety of plant species from around the world showcases the rich biodiversity of different ecosystems. The gardens even house one of the largest alpine collections in the country. You can discover unique garden landscapes, from the enchanting Japanese Garden to the native ecosystems in the Children's Garden. And you can step into the lush tropical rainforest in the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory.

But there's more to this Colorado botanical garden than plants. Discover two natural history collections, an arthropod collection, an art collection, and a library. Engage further through guided tours and check out regular art exhibitions at the Freyer - Newman Center. As a cultural hub, the gardens host events throughout the year, including summer concerts, winter light displays, and seasonal plant sales. They even offer days when admission is free.

Families flock to the Denver Botanic Gardens because it caters to everyone with its living exhibits, activities, and programs that engage and educate visitors of all ages. Finally, visiting the gardens helps support a vital community institution that promotes environmental awareness and sustainability through its programs.

Let Guided Garden Tours Take You on a Journey Through Nature

One of the most immersive ways to discover Denver Botanic Gardens is through a guided tour. There are various options, meaning you can design your own unique visit.

  • Seasonal Discoveries Tour: Explore the changing seasons at the gardens, showcasing the unique blooms of different times of the year.
  • Curator Conversations Tour: Discover the Freyer - Newman Center galleries and even go behind the scenes.
  • Exploring Exhibitions Tour: Be guided through the current exhibition at the Freyer - Newman Center.
  • At Home With Your Houseplants Tour: Get inspired by interesting and attractive plants and flowers that would look good in your home or yard.
  • Expert Explorations Tour: Explore the gardens' key areas, features, and species with expert guidance.
  • Herbaria Drop-in Tour: Learn more about natural history and the vascular plants and fungi found in the Southern Rocky Mountain Region.
  • Midsummer Nights Tour: Have a magical evening stroll through the gardens discovering Shakespeare's love of plants.
  • A Walk Through Thyme Tour: Discover plant stories that take you from early life in North America's plains to the present day.
  • Spanish Tour: This is a 30-minute introduction to the gardens in Spanish.

There is also a fun selection of self-guided tours online to make your trip more engaging, including a monthly walking tour.

Explore the Must-See Collections and Exhibits

There's plenty to see in the Botanical Gardens Denver, but you don't want to miss these three highlights.

The Mordecai Children's Garden

This area was designed specifically with young explorers in mind and is a magical three-acre space perfect for learning about and connecting with plants. The Denver Botanic Gardens spotlight plants native to Colorado. Visitors to the children's area can experience different ecosystems firsthand and see them change throughout the seasons, including the:

  • Alpine Tundra
  • Subalpine Habitat
  • Montane Forest
  • Pinon Juniper Woodlands
  • Foothills
  • Grasslands Wetlands Riparian Zone

The garden is an immersive and interactive natural playground. There are plenty of hands-on experiences and opportunities to learn through play. Kids will enjoy hours of fun connecting to nature.

The Japanese Garden

The tranquil Japanese Garden or Shofu-en (Garden of Pine and Wind) showcases Colorado plants in a Japanese style. Designed by Koichi Kawana, this meticulously crafted garden pays homage to the artistry and tranquility of traditional Japanese landscapes.

Discover 100 ponderosa pines shaped to look like floating clouds, some over 200 years old. There is a Japanese tea house used for events in the summer months. And stroll along the winding pathways, or sit on a bench for a moment of reflection in the contemplative spaces. Pause by the beautiful ponds with an island in the middle and have fun spotting the colorful koi, which are particularly popular with children.

The Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory

Enter a vast dome-like structure to discover a world of lush greenery, vibrant blooms, and tropical wonders. The Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory is a humid, botanical paradise that shows visitors a diverse collection of plants from far-off tropical and subtropical regions.

The range of tropical plants includes palm trees, banana plants, chocolate, and coffee. You can meander through the winding paths and immerse yourself in a tropical rainforest's sights, sounds, and scents. This fantastic experience is a feast for the senses and a valuable resource for education and conservation. It highlights the importance of protecting the fragile ecosystems on display.

Discover the Beauty of Nature at the Botanical Gardens

With your Denver CityPASS® ticket, visiting the top things to do in Denver such as the diverse wonders of the Denver Botanical Gardens couldn't be easier — or more affordable. Entrance to the Denver Botanic Gardens is included with your Denver CityPASS® ticket, giving you access to the outdoor spaces and visitor center. Don't miss this essential Denver experience; plan your trip today.

Denver Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in Denver, we recommend finding lodging near Denver's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

Header Image ©Denver Botanic Gardens. Photograph by Scott Dressel-Martin

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