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Denver Botanic Gardens - What, How, Why

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I recently got access to a delightful amenity, based on where I live. I’ve been sharing it with others as quickly as possible, because they too have access to it.

From here on out, when I reference “botanic gardens” or “the gardens”, I’m referencing the Denver Botanic Gardens, next to Cheesman park.

The purchases are for a year, so it works out to $100/year. Botanic gardens as a thing have colonialist origins, so there’s some total downsides to these particular gardens and what they represent. Also, they were built on a mass grave, and have generally been reserved as a privilege for economic elites. If you end up getting a key fob let me know and we’ll go on a walk and I’ll rant more about it then. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’m happy to get this great tool/amenity into the hands of the everyperson in Denver. I’ve shared this info with others I live near, but manually cutting/pasting links via SMS isn’t super efficient. Now this page serves as a reference for all.

Here’s where the gate is, some spots to sit when the weather is nice/not as nice:


The lines are where I’ve ridden my scooter/walked while running Strava. Long story, here’s a starting point:,%20-104.968804

How I use them #

I can take about 3 minutes on my scooter to ride from where I live to where I park my scooter right next to the gate into the gardens from Cheesman. I can easily walk and often do, or bring Eden - it’s far enough that a stroller or jogger is best for everyone, too far for her to walk unaided, and lots of the walking is crossing dangerous streets, unfortunately.

but once you’re close enough to the gardens, it’s lovely

In the winter, there’s a ‘conservatory’ that stays warm and humid. In the summer, there’s cool spaces.

Lots of people walk to them, or ride their bike. It’s not super accessible via car, so I reserve my strongest endorsement for this plan only if you don’t plan on ever driving.

I go here by my self, with friends, with my daughter, all the time. Sometimes I bring a frisbee and toss for a few minutes outside the gardens, if I’m there with friends. I might bring a kindle and laptop and pack a lunch and buy a $1.80 espresso at a cafe and work for a bit.

I’m writing and publishing this post from the gardens, before my laptop battery dies.

written at the gardens

“Key Fob” Access via the Cheesman Park Gate to the Botanic Gardens #

It’s a two-step process to get the full experience. An online purchase, then an in-person purchase.

Step 1: Become ‘digital member’ of the gardens #

If you ‘become a member’ of the Denver Botanic Gardens:

Go to, and select/pay for the $75 Individual Plus membership.

Buy online and it’s $10 less, so really $65. Renewals are less.

Step 2: In person, purchase the key fob membership upgrade #

It’s hard to find on the website, but go read here:

There’s a service counter near the front of the gardens, tucked sort of ‘behind’ the Copper Door coffee shop. Go there, ask for the key fob, pay $35 for the fob, it’s supposedly $15 to renew subsequent years.

You’ll get a little plastic key fob. Congratulations, have a wonderful time. Most days the gardens are open 8a to 8p, and that key fob seems to open the door from Cheesman even as late as 7:45p, which I didn’t expect. YMMV.

Questions? Let me know. I’ll update this post as makes sense.

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