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Adventure at Chatfield Farms

Kate Goodman

Looking for a little late summer fun? The Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms is a 700 acre facility complete with historic homesteads, working farms, huge gardens, and butterflies.The Butterfly House at Chatfield is a collaboration of Denver Botanic Gardens and the Butterfly Pavilion, and has been running since 2014. It houses native butterflies from Colorado and butterflies that migrate through this region, which both live around four weeks. The Monarch butterflies are the only ones allowed to reproduce at the Butterfly House. The rest of the butterflies are shipped there dormant in cold envelopes. This amazing collection of 300 butterflies is open until the end of September, so hurry and see these fascinating creatures before they’re gone.
The pioneering homesteads at Chatfield are also a very interesting attraction. The Green Homestead is used as staff facility, and the Hildebrand Homestead is still set up in its 1910-1915 state. It even has farm animals, such as geese, chickens, goats, and sheep.The Hildebrand homestead is on the National Register for historic sites. Moreover, Chatfield uses volunteers in every field. Things like animals, butterflies and all the plants are hand-cared for by volunteers and staff.
The plants here are everything from cultivated rock gardens with ceremonial uses in weddings to untamed bits of wilderness. These bits of forest are weeded of invasive species and that’s about it, transporting you back to what this area would have looked like before the Age of Exploration. These outdoor wonders change much from the beginning to the end of the season, according to senior horticulturist Jennifer Trunce. A horticulturist is someone who professionally grows ornamental flowers and plants. Trunce got her degree in horticulture from Colorado State University. Plant life all blooming and changing at different times create a different atmosphere each time you return.
Chatfield also has a variety of events. These include a Pumpkin Festival on the second week of October and a Corn Maze starting on September fifteenth. There is also a Lavender Festival in early summer and a winter Santa’s Village light show. This outlet of the Denver Botanic Gardens hosts private events and even has a playground for kids.
This is an incredible experience for people of all different backgrounds, interests, and ages. It is truly unique in its unbelieveable mixture of history, wildlife, beauty, fun, and culture. I couldn’t compare this blend to any other garden I have ever seen.