Anytime there is a Chihuly glass exhibition in town, people come swarming. And that was no exception this weekend at the Denver Botanic Gardens. If you aren’t familiar with Chihuly glass, the best way to describe it is: exquisite, large blown glass structures of various shapes and colors that almost look like their own species. It was hard being amazed with the urban oasis around me when the glass structures were so prevailing.
I learned lots of tips on this weekend’s adventure and I am eager to pass this information on to someone who hopefully will learn from me and enjoy it at it’s maximum enjoyment capacity. First of all, I am the type of person who will do something regardless if I have an adventure companion or not. I’d like to think I am independent and can enjoy doing things just as much by myself. I was completely wrong this time. There are so many interesting displays that I really missed having someone there to point things out to. So even if your friend complains, “Really, plants?” you should drag them along anyway.
Another tip is to go really early or much later in the day. I went at 2:00pm and it was so bright out and there were so many crowds of people that I didn’t get too many great pictures. And it was hot! When I left around 5:30pm, it was perfect for capturing vibrant pictures and there was a nice, cool breeze. The crowds were also dwindling down by that time. The park closes at 9:00pm so that should be plenty of time to peruse through the gardens. Also, don’t go on the weekend. (Unless you really have to!) At first I turned it into a game by finding the best way to dodge around people, but towards the end, I was getting really hot and annoyed. Especially when learning the person holding everyone else up along the path was because she couldn’t walk in her high-heels. (Tip: Don’t wear high-heels)
I don’t want to give away too much for those who are wanting to expect the unexpected, so I will keep my pictures to a minimum. I started my journey in the Perennial Fiori, which the inspiration came to look like a Victorian garden. It uses an optical illusion called “forced perspective” to make it look longer than it actually is.
The Romantic Gardens was next along the path and may have been one of my favorite scenes, because it looked just that: romantic. This reminded me of the gardens at the Palace of Versailles in France.
Even though there was no fancy glass, the Herb Garden welcomed me with the scent of sage and mint. It was interesting seeing the common herbs we use in the kitchen coming to life in the garden. I found my favorite scent and broke the rules a little by brushing the fragrance on my skin.
Following another various path, I landed myself in a pretty rose garden. I couldn’t believe how many different roses existed. My favorite, called the Darby Rose, looks like something I would see at an elegant wedding.
The Shofu-En Japanese Garden is one not to miss. Shofu-En, meaning “Garden of Pines and Wind”, encourages tranquility as you stroll amongst the ponderosa pines and ginkgo plants. In my opinion, it was the most picturesque. With all this beautiful glass everywhere, I kept wondering to myself: what are they going to do if a hailstorm rolls through Denver?
There was also a very orderly vegetable garden and a sign that stated the produce goes to hunger relief organizations. The aroma of peppers was abundant here and I enjoyed seeing vegetables I’ve never heard of before. I was just waiting for Peter Rabbit to run out with a cabbage in his mouth.
After trying to chase down the butterflies for a picture in the vegetable garden, I decided to head up to the Hive Garden Bistro to get myself a panini that everyone else seemed to be indulging in. The cafe had something called “Aqua Fresca” which is water infused with herbs from their herb garden. More herbs? I’m sold! That day’s infusion was raspberry and basil. I must say, this is now on my top ten most delicious beverages I have ever tasted. I would seriously consider going back to the Botanic Gardens just for this “Aqua Fresca”. Not only did I have some refreshing treats, but this cafe had a nice shady area for relaxing and people watching.
Before I left, I made sure to visit the Tropical Conservatory. It was nice being out of direct sunlight, but the Tropical room was just as hot but with the added humidity. I didn’t last too long in here, hence the lack of pictures. The air conditioned Visitor’s Center was my last stop and I liked how they were playing a short video about the artist, Dale Chihuly. With his out of control hair and eye-patch, Chihuly is truly a one-of-kind, unique artist who described himself as “the choreographer of glass blowing”.
I really loved my visit at the Botanic Gardens. I believe the Chihuly glass incorporated with the beautiful gardens added a special touch that made it a more memorable experience. I hope they bring this exhibit back next year, as I would love to go again, but with a person to “ooh” and “ahh” with. At only $14 for General Admission, it makes for a pleasant, inexpensive half-day. Next time, I will be better prepared and I may even sign up for a guided walking tour!
Details: The Chihuly exhibit runs until November 30, 2014. General admission into the park is $14 and the Chihuly Exhibition Tour is $17 which includes admission. The park is opened from 9:00am – 9:00pm on the weekdays and 8:00am – 9:00pm on the weekends.
Getting There: Click here for a printable map and directions.