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Good For Kids
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not sure what these were but colorful
Denver Botanic Gardens
Closest available address
1007 York Street Denver, CO 80206
Generally open 9:00am-4:00pm
Best time to visit
Summer, Fall, Spring
A good place to stop and smell the roses
Denver Botanic Gardens is a popular and diverse botanical garden. There are actually three separate locations, but the main location and the focus of this review is a 23 acre site in downtown Denver. While plants and flowers are the main attraction, the facility also has two restaurants, a children’s garden, gift shops, an outdoor amphitheatre and a science center. Also, a variety of special events are offered such as summer concerts, lectures, gardening workshops, exercise classes, and cooking demonstrations. The plant variety is good with plenty of tropical, arid, and temperate types. Flower diversity is most impressive from late spring to early fall. A Christmas lights display takes place in winter.
Established in 1951 in another Denver city park, the garden moved to its current location in 1959. The present location is somewhat eerie in that it used to be a graveyard. Most of the bodies were removed at the time but it’s something that definitely can send chills down your spine if you ponder it too much. A building for tropical plants was added in 1966. More recent facilities include a children’s play garden as well as the science pyramid which opened in 2014.
While the weather was delightful in September and there were plenty of flowers in bloom, the garden was completely packed on a weekend visit. Parking was only available on a residential street about 5 blocks away, and privacy in the garden was very limited. If you can manage a visit during the week, it should help enhance your experience, especially during the school year. Although the garden footprint is relatively small, it maximizes the available space well, so there were many varieties of plants and flowers to see. An impressive and colorful Chihuly glass exhibit was installed at the time and added to the overall beauty of the place. Since it is easy to walk around here and the sections are clearly marked, one can zero in quickly on areas or plants of most interest. The tropical plant section was lush and cleverly designed with water pools and wooden bridges, but was too hot and muggy so was only visited briefly. Also interesting and decidedly more comfortable was an outdoor Japanese section and some nearby cool Bonsai trees. Several ponds with large lily pads also had some appeal. A rose garden, though modest in size, was enjoyable. Native plant ecology is emphasized both in terms of plants and educationally. The science pyramid was still under construction but has information on ecosystems and conservation. Given the number of visitors and range of activities, this garden seems to be a hit with the locals. It's also a good choice for tourists, whether solo or in a group. Even if flowers are not your thing, this is a good place to stop and smell the roses.
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