Denver Botanic Gardens (free days)

Category: Museums & Zoos Last Updated: Saturday, 14 January 2017



Free days for Colorado residents are held throughout the year at both the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield.


The Botanic Gardens are filled with flora from around the world, as well as beautiful and inspirational artwork. For a great way to relax and enjoy our incredible environment, I highly recommend spending a day at either the Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street or Chatfield Farms in Littleton.




Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street, Denver Free Days 2017:

The York Street Denver Botanic Gardens is located at 1005 York Street. Map

  • Monday, Jan. 16
  • Monday, Feb. 20
  • Wednesday, March 22
  • Sunday, April 2
  • Wednesday, June 14
  • Monday, July 17
  • Tuesday, August 29
  • Friday, Nov. 10
  • Saturday, Nov. 11

 Check their calendar for more info: go

Chatfield Farms Free Days 2017:

The Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms is located at 8500 Deer Creek Canyon Road in Littleton. Map

  • Tuesday, Jan. 3
  • Tuesday, Feb. 7
  • Tuesday, March 7
  • Tuesday, April 4
  • Tuesday, June 6
  • Saturday, July 15
  • Tuesday, Aug. 1
  • Tuesday, Nov. 7
    (Butterflies at Chatfield admission is not free)

Check their 2017 Chatfield Farms Free Days information for more info: go

Denver Botanic Gardens Trip Report:

When my young daughter and I went to the Denver Botanic Gardens, I was a bit worried that she would become bored. In fact, the day couldn't have been any more fun for her. I didn't know that there is a children's area full of hands-on activities. The Mordecai Children's Gardens were amazing, we must have spent an hour playing in the stream before we moved on to the puppets and then the sand play area. It began raining, and according to my daughter it was our job to track down all the puppets and stuffed animals to put them away safe in their little rock shelter.

The layout is a bit unusual and you might have a hard time finding the Children's Gardens, but it's across York Street on the top floor of the parking garage. After my girl was tired from playing, I placed her in her small umbrella stroller and went down the elevator and across York Street to the main gardens. On free days, the gardens staff directs visitors to use an alternate entrance, so be prepared to walk around and through the parking area to get in. This is a nice way to enter the museum because it immediately takes us past the tranquil fountain and waterfall feature. In fact, we decided this was the best place to stop and have our picnic lunch.

After lunch, we toured the main grounds of the botanic gardens, and to my surprise it was difficult to keep my little girl in her stroller, she wanted to check out everything! The indoor conservatory makes even an adult feel like Alice in Wonderland, with towering plants and trees densely populated among narrow walkways. The outdoor exhibits feature Bonsai, lily pads, and even a section devoted to Colorado ecosystems. How they get sub-alpine trees and plants to grow in downtown Denver, I'll never know, but it's an amazing sight.

We grow a vegetable garden at home, so the sight of growing peppers and other vegetables was really interesting, and we learned a few growing tricks as well. 

For those who don't pack a lunch, there are restaurants in the indoor conservatory as well as a summer outdoor restaurant near the large center pond.

I was surprised at the perfect balance of hands-on activities for play and exhibits to slowly walk through and enjoy in a peaceful setting. This is definitely a free day for the kids as much as the adults, and one I highly recommend.

Chatfield Farms Trip Report:

Many people in the Denver area and the front range are familiar with the huge pumpkin patch held at Chatfield Farms every October. Very few of those visitors get to see the farm in it's pristine state, quiet and peaceful with hints of Denver's farming era on display for education and reflection. Most Denver free days are crazy crowded, but not Chatfield Farms. The environment is relaxed and the crowds haven't found out about this beautiful place (yet). We took a free day tractor hayride through the grounds as soon as we arrived. This provided an overview of areas we would later want to explore on foot. There is a visitor center right at the entrance with maps and information about the various areas to visit.

With my little one in tow, we first set out for the play area. The play area is set in a treehouse-type structure and my daughter played there for at least an hour, making some new friends in the process. 

Eventually we moved on to the working farm, across a small footbridge that had a snake slithering across it. We watched the chickens and ducks before heading over to the corral and barnyard to see the goats and horses. Luckily we were just in time to take a tour of the old farmhouse before it closed for the day. The farmhouse brings back memories for us older folk, perhaps memories of being in grandpa's farm house decades earlier.

A stroll along the wooded trails rounds out our day, and we leave hoping to come back again when it's this tranquil.