If you like to spend time outdoors during your free time, a great place to unwind is in public gardens. The colors and aromas create a relaxing environment where you can enjoy the flowers and greenery or sit and observe the garden’s insects, birds, and other wildlife. Many gardens have pathways or trails where you can take a stroll and picnic benches where you can stop for a spot of lunch. Some are the grounds of a historical building or have some form of visitor or education center, so there are additional activities to enjoy during your visit. If you live in Colorado or you are visiting the state, there are some amazing gardens to visit that all have unique features. Here are the 10 gorgeous gardens to check out in Colorado.
10. Andrews Arboretum, Boulder
Andrews Arboretum in Boulder is one of the smaller gardens in Colorado, but that takes away nothing from its beauty. It is filled with both native and exotic plants that create a peaceful oasis that belies its urban surroundings. If you are just passing through, there is a central path leading through the arboretum where you can take a quick stroll. However, there are pathways leading off the central pathway for those who want to explore more of the gardens.
9. Yampa River Botanic Park, Steamboat Springs
You will find the Yampa River Botanic Park just outside Steamboat Springs in Colorado. It is situated at 6,800-feet above sea level and spans six acres. The park is divided into more than 50 different garden displays, each of which has a different theme or botanical category of plants. There are also ponds, benches, and sculptures. Yampa River Botanic Park is open from May to September, and there is free admission.
8. Chester M. Alter Arboretum, Denver
Located on the University of Denver campus grounds, the Chester M. Alter Arboretum has a fascinating display of native plant life. The gardens feature more than 2,100 species of trees, including the Giant Sequoia, Cedar of Lebanon, Dawn Redwood, Umbrella Pine, Bald Cypress, and many species of maples and oaks. It differs from many other botanical gardens, which only feature living plants, as there is also a collection of fossilized plants discovered in the Rockies.
7. Tagawa Gardens, Centennial
If you are in Centennial or the surrounding area, include a visit to Tagawa Gardens in your itinerary. The garden has been open to the public for more than 30 years, and it features both indoor and outdoor gardens. It is arranged into different themed areas of stunning garden environments. Families visiting the gardens love the Fairy Garden, which has plants and fairy houses arranged to create a magical setting. Tagawa Gardens is used as a venue to host an array of music and arts events throughout the year.
6. Shambhala Botanic Gardens, Red Feather Lakes
One of Colorado’s more unusual botanic gardens is the Shambhala Botanic Gardens in Red Feather Lakes. The gardens are 8,000-feet above sea level, and they cover 600-acres of the Shambhala Mountain Center campus. It boasts a wide assortment of high-elevation plants arranged over four areas that represent four climate zones. There is also a zen garden, a vegetable and cut-flower garden, and a garden with more than 100 plants species native to the Rocky Mountains. Visitors can also visit the gardens’ bird sanctuary.
5. The Hudson Gardens, Littleton
One of the best places to see unique displays of Colorado plant life is at The Hudson Gardens in Littleton. It is a non-profit garden spanning 30-acres, so there is plenty to explore. The gardens are categorized into themed areas, including the Chocolate Garden, which features plants with the aroma of chocolate. Like many of the botanic gardens in Colorado, The Hudson Gardens hosts concerts and events, so check out what is on before your visit.
4. Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Vail
The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens’ claim to fame is that it is the highest botanical garden in the world. The gardens sit at an elevation of 8,200-feet in the Rocky Mountains. It attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year, as people want to experience seeing beautiful botanical environments at high altitudes. As you tour the gardens, there are more than 2,000 plant varieties to enjoy. You will find Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail, Colorado.
3. Montrose Botanic Gardens, Montrose
When you visit Montrose Botanic Gardens in Montrose, you can enjoy strolling around themed areas such as a native plant garden, cactus garden, xeriscape, rock, and valley garden. Younger visitors can enjoy spending time in the Happy Hollow Children’s Garden. There is also an event space, an environmental education center, and a covered amphitheater. The gardens are set against the stunning backdrop of the San Juan Mountains.
2. Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, Grand Junction
One of Grand Junction’s top attractions is the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens. It is a 15-acre site with areas including a herb garden, a cactus garden, a rose garden, and an orchid display. There is also a children’s garden to keep children entertained during their visit. An interesting feature of Western Colorado Botanical Gardens is the butterfly house.
1. Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver
According to Best Things Colorado, one of the best gardens in Colorado is Denver Botanic Gardens, and it is the most popular botanical garden in the state. The 24-acre attraction is open all year round, and visitors can explore the gardens alone or take a guided tour. There are five main garden areas, each of which has multiple subsections. The gardens include water gardens, gardens of the west, shady gardens, internationally-inspired gardens, and ornamental gardens. Some other features of the garden include a conservatory and a sunken amphitheater. The latter is a venue for concerts in the summer. Furthermore, you can visit the Helen Fowler Library, grab a bite to eat at Offshoots Café, and pick up souvenirs from the gift shop.