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Tours

Gardens staff, instructors and docents share with you their knowledge of and passion for plants, horticulture and art. We offer a variety of guided tours at our urban site and throughout the Front Range.

 

Tours at York Street:

Guided tours are an insightful view of the Gardens and its collections. These informative conversations also allow you to share your thoughts, ask questions, and uncover lesser-known spaces.

 

Offsite Tours:

Explore the beauty of Colorado! These guided walks take you away from the bustling of the city to learn from and reconnect with nature.

 

Tour Policy:

Payment for pre-scheduled tours is required upon registration.

Payment for private group tours requires a deposit (15% of your total cost) at the moment of reservation and payment of the balance five business days before your tour.

 

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations more than one business week prior to a tour are subject to a 15% cancellation fee.

Cancellations with less than one business week prior to a tour are non-refundable.

 

Beginning Mushroom Identification

 

Whether you want to collect mushrooms to learn about them or to eat them, you will want to be able to identify them. These two evening lectures cover how to properly collect and identify mushrooms using their features and environment.

Take a field trip to collect mushrooms and practice identifying them. The location will be based on Ed's scouting trip the day before to ensure there are mushrooms available for collection.

 

August 27, evening lecture, 6-8 p.m.

September 3, evening lecture, 6-8 p.m.

September 5, scouting trip, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

 

Price: $67, $60 member

Instructor: Ed Lubow has been hunting mushrooms since the 1970s and has been volunteering in the Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi at Denver Botanic Gardens since 2008.

Special instructions: All levels welcome. Students will be notified of the location for the trip the day before the trip.

Recommended reading materials:

Mushrooms of the Rocky Mountain Region  by Vera Stucky Evenson & Denver Botanic Gardens

(This book can be purchased from many of different places, including the Shop at the Gardens)

 

 

 

 

 

Cherokee Fall Nature Tour - At Cherokee Ranch and Castle

Those lucky enough to have hiked Cherokee Ranch know that there are a wealth of habitats and a rich flora that distract your eyes downwards, even as the vistas of the rugged backbone of the Rockies and distant misty towers of downtown Denver tempt you to look further away.One thing is for sure, you will never be bored outside at Cherokee! This adventure is a walking tour, allowing time to observe and learn about the plants and birds found in this environment.

This year we are starting much earlier for better birding. But the plants will already be awake!

 

In Fall the Sumac and plums are turning color in the gullies, and the oaks are showing some burnished bronze. Fall is a fabulous season on Cherokee Ranch: Senecio, Aster and Goldenrod are everywhere. Blazing star paints purple spikes in the tousled mats of buffalo grass. The Spotted Towhee bird can be overlooked in the spring and summer, is more visible now since many of the spring and summer residents have started their fall migration. Two species of Jays – Scrub and Steller’s can now get the attention they deserve. They can be “missed” in spring and summer as we look at the other species.

 

Tour Guides: Panayoti Kelaidis and Lynn Willcockson

Price: $25, $20 member

Special Instructions: Please wear comfortable shoes and bring your own supply of water for a 2 hour adventure. Plants don't really care how you dress for the field trips but BIRDS DO!! It is easier to see birds if you DO NOT wear white or other very bright colors i.e. yellow, orange or red. Also, bring your binoculars: they can be used for both birds and plants.

Children over10 years of age are permitted in this program.

Directions and details for your hike will be emailed to your email address approximately one week before your hike.

Hike location:

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135

Cherokee Late Summer Nature Tour - At Cherokee Ranch and Castle

Those lucky enough to have hiked Cherokee Ranch know that there are a wealth of habitats and a rich flora that distract your eyes downwards, even as the vistas of the rugged backbone of the Rockies and distant misty towers of downtown Denver tempt you to look further away. One thing is for sure, you will never be bored outside at Cherokee! This adventure is a walking tour, allowing time to observe and learn about the plants and birds found in this environment.

Late summer is an excellent time to observe the bounty of both flora and fauna rolling through the hills of Cherokee Ranch: Aster and Goldenrod are everywhere. Blazing star paints purple spikes in the tousled mats of buffalo grass. Mid- summer bird activity continues at Cherokee as well. It is possible to see three species of hummingbirds as they stop to feed to store up energy on their way to Central America for the winter. The Mountain and Western Bluebirds have finished nesting and the young (juveniles) are seen throughout the Ranch property. There is no better place to soak up the sun than on a late summer plant hike and bird watching adventure at Cherokee Ranch.

 

Price: $25, $20 member

Special Instructions: Please wear comfortable shoes and bring your own supply of water for a 2 hour adventure. Plants don't really care how you dress for the field trips but BIRDS DO!! It is easier to see birds if you DO NOT wear white or other very bright colors i.e. yellow, orange or red. Also, bring your binoculars: they can be used for both birds and plants.

Children over10 years of age are permitted in this program.

Directions and details for your hike will be emailed to your email address approximately one week before your hike.

Tour location:

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135

Cherokee Winter Nature Tour - At Cherokee Ranch and Castle

Those lucky enough to have hiked Cherokee Ranch know that there are a wealth of habitats and a rich flora that distract your eyes downwards, even as the vistas of the rugged backbone of the Rockies and distant misty towers of downtown Denver tempt you to look further away.

 

Whoever says winter is the “dormant” season? Wise naturalists know that nature does not sleep, you can now SEE those birds flitting in the bare branches. Buds are set on everything, and there is much more than just bark, branches and berries to liven a walk. You can see two species of Chickadees and Nuthatches that never stop in their search for food and there are a few last lingering hints of flowers. You will be surprised at how many evergreens there really are; not just pines and junipers and Oregon Grape, but many of our native shrubs and forbs keep living foliage and rosettes through the winter: they are still hard at work chlorophyll pumping! You might also be surprised to know that some Dark-eyed Juncos fly all the way from the Pacific Northwest and even Canada to winter at Cherokee. Other winter species include Flicker, Woodpeckers and a resident Red-tailed Hawk. What better time and place than Cherokee Ranch in the bright, winter light. One thing is for sure, you will never be bored outside at Cherokee! This adventure is a walking tour, allowing time to observe and learn about the plants and birds found in this environment.

Price: $25, $20 member

* Plants don’t really care how you dress for the field trips but BIRDS DO!! It is easier to see birds if you DO NOT wear white or other very bright colors –i.e. yellow, orange or red. Also, bring your binoculars: they can be used for both birds and plants.

* Please wear comfortable shoes and bring your own supply of water for a 2 hour adventure.

Children over10 years of age are permitted in this program.

Directions and details for your hike will be emailed to your email address approximately one week before your hike.

Tour location:

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conifer Collection Walkabout

Experience the beautiful world of conifers in this two-hour walk through the Gardens. Discover ways to identify various genera through hands-on activities, and explore areas of the Gardens you may not have seen before in search of new and unusual varieties. We'll also discuss choosing the right plant for the right right place including growth rates and care requirements. This will be a walking-only class open to all skill levels.  

 

Price: $30, $25 member

Instructor: Pat Hayward has spent 40 years in the Colorado horticulture industry, serving on boards of the Colorado Tree Coalition and the Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association, and was a two-time winner of the CNGA “Person of the Year.” Most recently she was director of Plant Select, a nonprofit organization working with Colorado State University and Denver Botanic Gardens to trial (and make available) adaptable and beautiful plants for our high plains and mountain gardening conditions. She has taught the all-day “Conifers for Colorado Gardens and Landscapes” class for DBG for 21 years, and lives and gardens in Masonville.

Container Gardens Tour

Do you need fresh ideas for your pots and containers? Here at the Gardens, we have outdoor containers year-round that go beyond the expected with novel texture and color combinations. Explore the variety of fun and unexpected container gardens at the Gardens with a docent-led tour to learn how to create your own edible, fragrant or pollinator-attracting containers.

 

Price: $16, $12 member, $10 student

 

Special instructions: Tours are outdoors; dress accordingly for the weather. Water, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Please bring booking confirmation. Meet guide in the lobby of the Boettcher Memorial Center after entering through the Gardens main entrance.

 

Notes: Prices include admission to the Gardens. Tours with low registration are subject to cancellation.

Garden Guru Tour

Immerse yourself in the Gardens with a horticulturist as your guide. Gain insight into living museum collections and walk away with gardening tips from an expert. Please note that every tour has its own emphasis and is led by a different horticulturist.

 

Tuesday, July 7, 10 a.m.: “Annuals” with Bridget Blomquist, horticulture specialist - annuals

Wednesday, July 22, 10 a.m.: “Medicinal Plants” with Blake Burger, horticulture specialist

Tuesday, September 15, 9:30 a.m.: “Fall Garden Preparation” with Mike Bone, curator of steppe collections

 

Price: $19, $15 member

 

Special instructions: Tours can be both indoors and outdoors; dress accordingly for the weather. Water, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Please bring booking confirmation. Meet guide in the lobby of the Boettcher Memorial Center after entering through the Gardens main entrance. Tours are one hour long.

 

Notes: Prices include admission to the Gardens. Tours with low registration are subject to cancellation. These tours are not available for private parties.

Lavender Harvesting at Chatfield Farms

Learn how to harvest lavender on site in Chatfield s popular lavender fields. Discuss the uses and products made from Lavender.Each participant harvests themselves and will go home with a bundle to keep. All skills and no experience required.

 

Instructor - Zephrine Hanson

 

Midsummer Nights Tour

In Elizabethan times in England, midsummer’s eve (also known as the summer solstice) was a night to revel. This tour celebrates the long days of summer by focusing on the edible, medicinal and mischievous properties of the plants that played important roles in Shakespeare's works. Guided by quotes from his plays, expect to hear about the life and times of Elizabethan England and of plants such as love-in-idleness, tickle my fancy, gillyvor and heartsease.

 

Price: $16, $12 member, $10 student

 

Special instructions: Tours are outdoors; dress accordingly for the weather. Water, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Please bring booking confirmation. Meet guide in the lobby of the Boettcher Memorial Center after entering through the Gardens main entrance.

 

Notes: Prices include admission to the Gardens. Tours with low registration are subject to cancellation.

Petrified Wood Tour and Investigation - At Cherokee Ranch and Castle

Join members of the Cherokee Ranch Science Institute on a tour of one of the oldest petrified wood sites in North America. Large trees were deposited along the meandering river 55 million years ago. This petrified wood preserved cell structure allows scientists to identify several different families of deciduous trees and to make assumptions about the climate during the Paleocene Epoch.

Price: $45, $40 member

Tour Guides: John McKinney

Special Instructions: The hike is off trail and of moderate difficulty. Please wear appropriate clothing. Closed-toe hiking shoes and long pants are highly recommended. Please also bring plenty of water, your lunch, sunscreen and a hat.

 

Location:

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135

 

Seasonal Discoveries Tour

No matter the time of year, botanical treasures await your discovery with these guided tours of gardens at their seasonal peaks. Experience the Gardens’ landscape at its best, whether through the early bulbs of spring or the crackling beauty of fall.

 

Price: $16, $12 member, $10 student

 

Special instructions: Tours are outdoors; dress accordingly for the weather. Water, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Please bring booking confirmation. Meet guide in the lobby of the Boettcher Memorial Center after entering through the Gardens main entrance.

 

Notes: Prices include admission to the Gardens. Tours with low registration are subject to cancellation.

 

Wagon and Walk Explorations at Plains Conservation Center: Geology

Visit an interesting rock outcrop at the Plains Conservation Center as you join us for a tour of the property that will include a wagon ride (weather permitting) and some walking to specific locations on the property to explore the topic in-depth. Appropriate for all ages. Closed-toe footwear, water bottle, sunscreen and hat recommended.

Price:  $10/person, ages 2 and under free

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013

 

Wagon and Walk Explorations at Plains Conservation Center: Homestead

Visit the Plains Conservation Center's sod homestead and homestead garden as you join us for a tour of the property that will include a wagon ride (weather permitting) and some walking to specific locations on the property to explore the topic in-depth. Appropriate for all ages. Closed-toe footwear, water bottle, sunscreen and hat recommended.

Price:  $10, ages 2 and under free

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013

 

Wagon and Walk Explorations at Plains Conservation Center: Prairie Animals

Focus on the animals that call the prairie home at the Plains Conservation Center as you join us for a tour of the property that will include a wagon ride (weather permitting) and some walking to specific locations on the property to explore the topic in-depth. Appropriate for all ages. Closed-toe footwear, water bottle, sunscreen and hat recommended.

Price:  $10, ages 2 and under free

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013

 

Wagon and Walk Explorations at Plains Conservation Center: Riparian Scavenger Hunt

Explore the riparian area of the Plains Conservation Center and learn more about this important ecosystem as you join us for a tour of the property that will include a wagon ride (weather permitting) and some walking to specific locations on the property to explore the topic in-depth. Appropriate for all ages. Closed-toe footwear, water bottle, sunscreen and hat recommended.

Price:  $10, ages 2 and under free

Location: Plains Conservation Center, 21901 E. Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO 80013

 

Wild Wednesday Hikes Through Colorado's Life Zones - Alpine

Loveland Pass

Spend the morning with a guide learning about Colorado's alpine life zone and searching for wildflowers. This hike will start off at Loveland Pass, a high alpine pass about 60 miles west of Denver. Here we will see several different alpine plant communities, including fell fields, dry and wet alpine meadows, and snow fields. Dozens of species of wildflowers will carpet the tundra in a short but magnificent display of color. The pass hosts moss campion, phlox, alpine forget-me-nots along with dozens of others. Afterwards, we will drive a few hundred yards down the road to Loveland Lake where riparian alpine wildflowers like Parry's primrose, gentians, and roseroot are plentiful. This hike will be moderate at 4 miles or fewer (in total).

 

This hike will take place at very high elevation, from 12,000 to 12,500 ft so be aware you may be short of breath and experience altitude-related fatigue at this elevation!

 

Price: $25, $20 member

Instructor: Michael Guidi

 

Michael Guidi joined Denver Botanic Gardens in 2017 as a horticulturist where he manages the native plant themed Mordecai Children's Garden. Rock gardening and native plants are his main areas of horticultural interest, but he is broadly interested in alpine and aridland flora and ecology. Michael holds a B.S. in biology with a focus on plant physiology and ecology and currently sits on the board of directors of the North American Rock Garden Society.

Wild Wednesday Hikes Through Colorado's Life Zones - Subalpine

 

Lake Isabelle

Spend the morning with a guide learning about Colorado's subalpine life zone and searching for wildflowers. Lake Isabelle is situated at 11,000 feet in the heart of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Framed by Navajo, Apache, and Shoshoni peaks, this beautiful lake offers some of the most spectacular mountain scenery close to the front range. Just as spectacular are the abundant wildflowers along the trail and surrounding the lake. Along the way, the trail moves through subalpine forest of spruce and fir, crosses several wildflower-bordered streams, and eventually opens up to wide subalpine meadows surrounding the lake. Stands of bluebells, Penstemon, Erigeron, Paintbrush and Pedicularis will keep us busy on the 4.1 mile hike up to the lake.

 

This hike will take place at moderately high elevation, from 10,500 to 11,000 feet so be aware you may be short of breath and experience altitude-related fatigue at this elevation!

 

Price: $25, $20 member

Instructor: Michael Guidi

 

Michael Guidi joined Denver Botanic Gardens in 2017 as a horticulturist where he manages the native plant themed Mordecai Children's Garden. Rock gardening and native plants are his main areas of horticultural interest, but he is broadly interested in alpine and aridland flora and ecology. Michael holds a B.S. in biology with a focus on plant physiology and ecology and currently sits on the board of directors of the North American Rock Garden Society.

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