Denver Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens is a typical botanic gardens located in the center of Denver. The Botanic Gardens is located just a few miles from downtown Denver, near Cheesman Park, on Josephine Street. Admission costs $12.50 for adults and $9 for kids. Kids 2 and under are free. The Botanic Gardens, of course, has acres of flowers, plants, and trees.

denver botanic gardens flowers

One of the most interesting thing about the Botanic Gardens in Denver is its Tropical Conservatory. One of Denver’s first wealthy families was the Boettchers. You have seen their name on things if you have been sightseeing in Denver at all. In fact, today’s Governor’s residence is in, you guessed it, Boettcher Mansion. The Boettchers made their money in cement, supplying the building materials during Denver’s boom. So, when the time came to build something to house tropical plants, the Boettchers donated it, and cast the whole thing out of cement.

denver botanic gardens tropical conservatory

Inside, the tropical forest has live, towering jungle trees, flowers, coffee trees, and more. There are also some ducks. Stairs in the center take you up three stories to the top of the jungle canopy. It’s worth the price of admission on it’s own.

Next door, a newer addition has a warm, moist area for a collection of orchids and other plants.

orchids at denver botanic gardens

Outside, wide open trails and a friendly attitude make it a great place for a stroll, with or without kids. Around the edges are “hidden” paths off of the main paved trails. There is also a science pyramid, a bonazi garden, lilly pad ponds, beautiful fountains and more. The Botanic Gardens had a very successful show of Chihuly glass art in 2014. When the show left, the Gardens bought a beautiful, permanent, glass work to display. You’ll find it near the Gardens southeast corner.

permanent chihuly glass sculpture at denver botanic gardens

As an added treat, there is a Botanic Gardens Cafe near the entrance. The pastries and quiches here are very good, and definitely worth a stop. The cafe in the middle of the gardens near the Japanese ponds is more hit or miss, but if you need a burger, or slice of pizza, it’s your place.

botanic gardens lilly ponds

Across the street on top of the parking  structure, is a Children’s Garden. It has fun paths, including a simulated hike up to 10,000 feet, and hearty plants. The main draw for most kids is the, go ahead and play in it, simulated stream in the center of the Children’s Garden.

Around Christmas time, the Denver Botanic Gardens does an extensive Christmas light show using the trees and plants in the Gardens. It can get cold at night in Colorado during December, so check the weather and bundle up.

Usually, the Botanic Gardens is not crowded and a great, relaxing experience. However, the Botanic Gardens offers free days that get very crowded, and they have big plant sales a few times each year which bring out the crowds as well. If you want the gardens to yourself, you’ll want to avoid those days.

The Denver Botanic Gardens hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m from Mother’s Day until Labor Day and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the winter months. They are open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

If you want a less sculpted, more outdoorsy experience, there is another branch of the Botanic Gardens south of Denver at Chatfield Reservoir.

Funtastic Fun Denver Indoor Amusement Park Winter Hours

Funtastic Fun is a fun place to take kids in Denver. Funtastic Fun discounts can be hard to come by, but it never hurts to search for coupons online or for printable coupons. If that doesn’t work, try taking a peak at all of those free parenting magazines that that put out all over town.

funtastic-fun-denver-amusement-park-hours Like many Colorado attractions, Funtastic Fun has different hours for summer and winter. In the summer, when kids are out of school are parents are looking for something fun to do with kids in Denver, they look for playgrounds, amusement parks, rides, and carnivals. Many of them end up at Denver’s Fantastic Fun on those summer days when it is too hot to be outside, because Funtastic Fun’s best feature is that it is INDOORS with air conditioning.

However, when fall rolls around and the kids head back to school, a big chunk of Funtastic Fun’s target age group becomes unavailable Monday through Friday, and so like many other kid-friendly places in Colorado, Funtastic cuts back the hours it is open during the week.

This is too bad for the parents of young children who either are not in school yet, or who are in half-day Kindergarten, because everyone knows that it is the busiest on weekends. The good news is that Funtastic Fun is open two weekdays in the Winter and Fall. The standard weekday Winter hours for Funtastic Fun are open on both Thursday and Friday at 10:00 AM. If you have preschoolers, this is the perfect time to take them for some uncrowded fun on carnival rides like a Ferris wheel, teacup rids, and for some jumping and running in a bouncy castle.

Of course, they are open on weekends too, also at 10:00 AM. Older kids can accompany younger siblings then. Even though it makes sense to be inside on a cold winter days, Funtastic Fun is still busier in the summer than in the winter, so don’t hesitate to drop by, even if it is a weekend day.

With it being off season, you might have better luck finding online coupons for Funtastic Fun or printable coupons with discounted admission to Funtastic Fun.

New Denver Public Library Location Selected

Although it will be a couple of years before Denver area residents and visitors can enjoy the newest edition to the Denver Public Library system, the new library location has been selected. The Denver Library Commission voted unanimously to build the new library on West Colfax Avenue at Irving Street. The new library should be a welcome addition to the list of fun places for kids in Denver.

(For those of you non-Denverites familiar with Colfax Avenue’s seedy reputation, keep in mind that, that is in reference to a very specific (and short) stretch of East Colfax Avenue, and that reputation is significantly overblown. This location is west of downtown Denver. )

new-denver-library The new library location was selected to help fill in the sizable gap between the Woodbury Library and Barnum Library branches on the western side of Denver. The library’s funding comes from the 2007 Better Denver Bond Program which Denver voters approved to help fund a whole slew of capital construction projects. The bonds were designated both for the construction of new libraries and the remodeling and retrofitting of existing libraries, some of which where aging dangerously past current building safety and code standards.

Although Denver Library hours have been cut drastically due to budget cuts, the commission felt that the service need for the new facility outweighed the drag of additional costs.

Free Events For Kids Denver Area

The Denver Library system doesn’t have as many free activities for kids as it used to, but still offers plenty of fun summer programs for children in Denver. The Summer of Reading Program is underway, which is a great incentive to get kids to read over the summer vacation holiday.

In addition, story time and story hour is still on at most library branches. Story time at the downtown library comes in multiple flavors that are age-based story readings for kids at the library. There is Book Babies for infants, Tales for Twos for that in between age, and Tot Tales for older children.

There are also fun upcoming events for adults in Denver as well, including a Bike Mechanic course seminar held at the Central Library branch downtown. Sundays, June 27 and July 25, 1-3 p.m.

See the Denver Library website for more details.

Downtown Denver Public Library

Denver-public-library-books-graphic The Denver Public Library Downtown Branch is located on the Southeast edge of the main downtown Denver area next to the Denver Art Museum and Civic Center Park with both the Colorado State Capitol Building, and the Denver City and County Buildings near by. Branch libraries are located through out the city.

The library building itself is something of an interesting architectural piece. On one hand, the building is composed of perfectly normal building shapes and colors, just like you would draw in a picture, and that is its genius. Of course, real buildings typically don’t look like the ones drawn on paper, but this one does. It is pastel colored with each segment of the building forming a perfectly drawn shape, cylinders, rectangles, and squares.

Inside, the Denver Public Library book collection sprawls across four floors. The library Children’s section is on the first floor, as is the Reference Section, and the popular fiction and multimedia section. The top three floors contain the bulk of the library’s books and are categories in the traditional Dewey Decimal System manner.

The library has numerous computer workstations with public Internet access. This can make finding a free one can be difficult despite time limits placed on consecutive usage, as many people camp out for as long as they are allowed online. For that reason, it is advisable to search the library’s card catalog online prior to visiting if you are looking for something specific. Otherwise, a handful of computers scattered throughout the library are marked as being either Card Catalog Only, or No Internet Access. These stations are generally not occupied.

Residents of Denver can use the online catalog to not only search for materials, but also to place books, DVDs, and CDs on hold. The great thing about the system is that in addition to reserving the materials, the user may also choose where to pick up the materials, meaning that there is no need to drive all over town to a specific library to get the book you want. Simply place a hold on the book and select your nearest Denver Library Branch to pick it up.

Denver Public Library Hours

The main downtown branch of the library is open every day, although only for a half a day on Sundays.

However, all local branch library locations are closed on Sunday. Additionally, falling tax revenues have caused Denver and the library system to endure major budget cuts. Unfortunately one money saving method being used is closing branches for additional days. The 2010 Library Schedule of hours has most branches closed on Sundays and two other days each week, so check the Denver Library Hours prior to venturing out.