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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.

 

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.

 

Thursday, February 6, 2 p.m.: “Orchids” with Nick Snakenberg, curator of tropical collections and associate director of horticulture

Tuesday, March 24, 10 a.m.: “Spring Garden Preparation” with Dan Johnson, associate director of horticulture, curator of native plants

Friday, June 19, 10 a.m.: “Plant Select®” with Sonya Anderson, horticulture specialist, Plant Select and pollinator gardens

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: $17, $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.

Love Potions from the Vine Tour

 

Celebrate the month of love with a captivating tour of exotic plants that have inspired myths and tease the senses.

 

February brings Valentine’s Day with sweets and roses to entice our loved ones. Roses aren’t the only plants associated with love and romance, though – the steamy jungle has no shortage of plants thought to have powers to inspire, enamor or seduce. Escape the winter chill in the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory with this tour of purported aphrodisiacs and learn about the secret romantic lives of tropical plants.

Tour participants will receive a love-inspired gift.

 

Price: $14, $12 member, $10 student

 

Special instructions: Parental guidance advised; some tour content might not be appropriate for young children. Tours take place indoors in the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory. 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.

 

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

 

Plains Conservation Center Wagon Tour

Get to know the prairie in a whole new way. On our ride across the plains, participants watch for wildlife in the landscape, from prairie dogs to pronghorn antelope and birds of prey, beneath the great stretching sky while learning about the short grass prairie ecosystem along the way. With stops at the sod homes and Cheyenne camp, your group will experience what it was like to be a homesteader and a Cheyenne Indian living on the prairie in the 1800's. Take a guided tour of the sod homestead and see the sod homes, schoolhouse and blacksmith shop. Then visit the Cheyenne camp to learn about how the Cheyenne lived on the prairie and followed the bison as a seminomadic tribe.

Starting in September, the new later tours are scheduled to coincide with the spectacular sunsets at the Plains Conservation Center. Please refer to the calendar for start times.

Please note: Tours are weather dependent. If a tour is cancelled due to weather, you will be contacted.

Date: Select Saturdays

Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and seasonally adjusted afternoon or evening start times. Please refer to the calendar for start times.

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

 

 

Prairie Homestead Self-Guided Tour

Presented and Managed by the City of Aurora

Join us at the Plains Conservation Center for a self-guided tour of our historical sod village and tipis. See what a Native American tipi camp might have looked like in the early 1800s. Immerse yourself in a replication of an 1880s prairie homestead village with authentic artifacts and, depending on the season, real farm animals.

Please Note: All guests must check in at the PCC Visitor Center with purchase confirmation prior to beginning self-guided tour in order to receive site condition updates and the actual self-guided brochure.

For a more in-depth experience, sign up for a guided tour or program! Schedule a private tour by contacting Denver Botanic Gardens at pccinfo@botanicgardens.org or 720-865-3500.

The City of Aurora's Parks, Recreation & Open Space department's mission is to encourage active lifestyles and create healthy environments for people, nature and community.

 

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

 

Hours for Self-Guided Tours:

Monday-Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday-Friday: 1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relational Rewilding: Bird Language and the Quiet Mind

Rewild yourself, improve your birding success, and see more wildlife by learning the language of the birds! If you enjoy time watching birds, at some point you have probably wondered what they are saying. This spring morning outing is not about identification through vocalizations, but instead provides an introduction to a common language birds use to speak to each other about the landscape, predators, and even YOU. This ancient survival skill is about 'what' is being communicated - not 'who' is communicating. By learning some bird language basics, energizing your senses, and quieting the mind we can better understand the tweets, chirps, and whistles of our feathered friends while enriching life in practical and surprising ways.

 

Price: $30, $25 member

Instructor: Kimberly Beck is passionate about facilitating deep relationships between people, nature and animals. Kimberly holds a Masters degree in Counseling and a Bachelors degree in Outdoor Education and Plant Biology. Currently she is owner and operator of both The Canine Effect, her dog training business, and Relational Rewilding Nature Guiding. Kimberly has designed and led environmental and humane education programs at state parks, outdoor education centers and animal shelters throughout the country. She is a Master Naturalist, a Native Plant Master, and has participated in continuing education programs through Wilderness Awareness School, 8 Shields Institute, and The Tracking Project - training in cultural and natural awareness, animal tracking, plant studies, bird language, primitive skills, and community building.

 

Special Instructions: Walk will take place exclusively outdoors; please dress accordingly for weather, bring sunscreen, hat, water, and lunch if desired. Be prepared for walking and light hiking.

Class length does NOT include drive time to or from our meeting place to the hiking location.

Location: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. All location details and directions will be sent the week before class.

 

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.

 

Tropical Trails Tour

Denver may be blanketed with snow, but the plants in the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory enjoy a warm climate year-round. Enjoy the lush vegetation, vibrant flowers and warmth of the tropics as you stroll through the Gardens’ tropical collections. This is a one-hour tour led by experienced docents.

 

Price: $14, $12 member, $10 student

 

Special instructions: Tours are indoors. 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, children 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, children 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, children 2 and under free

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

 

Wagon and Walk Explorations at Plains Conservation Center: Prairie Plants and Flowers

Explore the shortgrass prairie at the Plains Conservation Center and learn about specific grasses and flowers 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, children 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, children 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 - Foothills

Foothills Native Plants Hike

Spend the morning with a guide learning about the foothills life zone and searching for foothills wildflowers. This hike will occur at the JeffCo Open Space Park, Deer Creek Canyon, which is approximately a 27-mile drive from Denver. Deer Creek Canyon Park boasts diverse plant communities including Gambel oak groves, ponderosa pine forests, Douglas-fir forests, grasslands, and riparian. The park is one of the choicest locations to see wildflowers in late spring, including larkspur, Yucca, locoweed, several species of Penstemon and Astragalus. The participants will be provided with a plant list which includes scientific and common names of some of the plants that may be encountered on the hike. The hike itself is approximately 2.5 miles and is rated as moderate, due to a few steep, rocky sections.

 

Price: $25, $20 member

Instructor: Jen Toews

 

Jen Toews joined the Gardens in 2015 as the Plant Recorder and is responsible for researching nomenclature and the accessioning of all plants entering the Gardens. She is an author of the recently published field guide Wildflowers of the Rocky Mountain Region (2018) and has developed content for and taught native plants classes at the Gardens. She holds a BA in Biology from Metropolitan State University of Denver, an MA in English from CU Denver, and is a Native Plant Master®. Outside of work Jen enjoys hiking and photographing Colorado's diverse plants and their habitats and writing about nature-themed adventures in her blog, Telesonix Times.

Wild Wednesday Hikes Through Colorado's Life Zones - Montane

Montane Native Plants Hike - Reynolds Park

Spend the morning with a guide learning about the montane life zone and searching for wildflowers. This hike will occur at Reynolds Park, which is approximately a 40-mile drive from Denver. This park showcases ponderosa pine forests, a riparian corridor, scenic overlooks, and an array of wildflowers including paintbrush, pinedrops, wild currants, scarlet gilia, and native thistle. The participants will be provided with a plant list which includes scientific and common names of some of the plants that may be encountered. Exact trail TBD, but will be moderate and 4 miles or fewer.

 

Price: $25, $20 member

Instructor: Jen Toews

 

Jen Toews joined the Gardens in 2015 as the Plant Recorder and is responsible for researching nomenclature and the accessioning of all plants entering the Gardens. She is an author of the recently published field guide Wildflowers of the Rocky Mountain Region (2018) and has developed content for and taught native plants classes at the Gardens. She holds a BA in Biology from Metropolitan State University of Denver, an MA in English from CU Denver, and is a Native Plant Master®. Outside of work Jen enjoys hiking and photographing Colorado's diverse plants and their habitats and writing about nature-themed adventures in her blog, Telesonix Times.

Wild Wednesday Hikes Through Colorado's Life Zones - Plains/Steppe

Green Mountain - William Frederick Hayden Park

Spend the morning with a guide learning about the plains life zone and the flora of Colorado's prairie wildflowers. This hike will take place at William Frederick Hayden Park which encompasses Green Mountain, a 6,800 foot mesa on the west side of Denver. Expect to see beautiful wildflowers including Oenothera, Astragalus, and Lupine as well as learn to identify some of the major grasses and shrubs of the plains life zone. This hike will take us to the summit of Green Mountain and along the way we will see different exposures and microclimates in which dramatically different plant communities exist; these ecotones (transitional biological communities) will represent a transition between plains and foothills flora. The participants will be provided with a plant list which includes scientific and common names of some of the plants that may be encountered on the hike. This hike is 6 miles in length with 500 feet of elevation gain.

 

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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