Denver Botanic Gardens
One of the top five botanic gardens in the nation, Denver Botanic Gardens is an oasis in the city, offering year-round events, Mordecai Children’s Garden, lifelong learning opportunities and research to preserve Colorado’s precious natural resources. The Denver Botanic Gardens’ 24 acres feature a whopping 50 gardens for visitors to explore. This expansive facility in downtown Denver’s Cheesman Park treats travelers to a variety of different environments, from a traditional Japanese garden (complete with bonsai trees) to the South African Plaza blooming with exotic plants like asparagus fern and torch lilies. Meanwhile, art aficionados will also appreciate the gardens thanks to the numerous sculptures that grace the grounds; the facility also plays host to touring exhibits that have included works by such artists as Stephen Talasnik and Dale Chihuly. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all the gardens have to offer, consider tagging along on a guided tour. Docent-led tours (which cost $14 for non-members) focus both on the flora and the art found throughout the facility. Recent visitors said the gardens are enjoyable no matter the season, describing them as “stunning” and “mesmerizing.” They also highly recommend perusing the gift shop.
Throughout the year, the Denver Botanic Gardens hosts a variety of festivals, including a summer concert series and a Christmas festival. There is limited free parking available in the garden’s parking complex between York and Josephine streets. Street parking is available in Cheesman Park or Congress Park. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, you can use RTD routes No. 24 or No. 10 to access the gardens. The Denver Botanic Gardens is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 or 8 p.m., depending on the season; general admission to the gardens costs $12.50 for adults, $9.50 for seniors and $9 for students and children ages 3 to 15 (kids 2 and younger can enter for free). The Chatfield Gardens are also open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., though access will set you back $5 (per vehicle). As for the Mount Goliath location, you can visit whenever the Mount Evans road is open, and you’ll need to pay the $10 fee to access the route.