Interactively inspiring guests with thought provoking and relevant exhibits in conservation and exploration.
Featuring rotating exhibits in the Education Center and outdoor displays throughout Ford Park, each year, these exhibits are centered around a new mission-based theme.
$20 suggested donation
The 2023 Outdoor Exhibit theme focuses on the science of Phenology, simply the study of nature over time. Illustrations of the world's longest phenological plant series data demonstrate the great acceleration that has occurred since the 1980's.
Inside the Education Center family friendly activities follow Arctic Explorer Knud and his sled dog team as he heads for the Ultima Thule- the furthest north!
A juried collection of 36 artworks from the Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists. Featuring flora and fauna from the American West, the exhibit ran from November 2022 - April 2023 in the Education Center.
From Platte to Peak
November 2021 – April 30, 2022 Education Center
Presenting illustrations of plant species collected 200 years ago by botanist Edwin James during the Stephen H. Long expedition. James collected 700 plant species, 140 which were entirely new to science.
This exhibit, organized by the Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists, intends to honor and celebrate the explorers that discovered these species.
Each scientifically accurate piece is created in traditional botanical illustration media: watercolor, graphite, pen and ink, colored pencil or hand pulled prints. The resulting renderings are exquisitely detailed, able to illustrate far more detail than found in photographs.
Celebrate the Alpine & The Disappearing Alpine
2022 Summer Exhibit Education Center and Ford Park
Celebrate the Alpine, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens’ outdoor exhibit, features photographs of rare and unique plants and animals of the fragile alpine ecosystem. The exhibit is displayed throughout Ford Park.
Families can become alpine conservationists and step into the boots of researchers in the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Education Center. The Disappearing Alpine exhibit and activities encourage exploration of mountaintops and riparian streams with tiny plants and hardy animals that live in the alpine ecosystem.
Plants Are An Answer
June – October 2021
Plants are an answer to climate change. They are nature’s reservoirs for absorbing carbon dioxide as they grow. Practical plant-based solutions to a warming climate based on today’s technology are highlighted in the Education Center. The exhibit is inspired by Project Drawdown, a plan of eighty solutions developed by a coalition of researchers and scientists to reverse global warming.
Outdoors in Ford Park, a Plants Are an Answer exhibit and family scavenger hunt will demonstrate how a plant-based diet is one of the big ways we, as individuals, can positively impact the climate.
Alpines: Conquerors of the Cold
June 2020 – April 2021
The harsh alpine ecosystem is too brutal for trees to live. Explore intimate photographic portraits of survivors, from lichens to pikas, that have evolved strategies to endure in the world’s toughest environment.
Colorado Botanist Explorers
June – November 2020
2020 was the 200th anniversary of the Long Expedition, the first scientific exploration of Colorado that included botanist Edwin James. He, and those that followed, opened up the stunning world of plants unique to Colorado. This outdoor exhibit explored the impact of these scientists and what the botanic world can attribute to their early discoveries.
Lost in the Woods
November 2019 - April 2020
A juried exhibition of contemporary botanical illustrations featuring the majesty and mystery of trees. The 31 original works of art, presented by the Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists, encourage an appreciation for the wide diversity of trees and meet criteria for scientific accuracy, aesthetics, and technical mastery.
The Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists (RMSBA) is an open and diverse group of artists, collectors and admirers who share a love for the practice and perpetuation of botanical art and illustration with a fond focus on plants in the Rocky Mountain Region.
RMSBA encourages and participates in educational outreach, juried and non-juried exhibits, lectures, workshops and regular chapter meetings. They are proud to be the very first chapter affiliation of the international organization, the American Society of Botanical Artists.
June – October 2019
A photographic exhibit of women farmers around the globe displayed in all 4 local Eagle County libraries.
National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson has beautifully captured these farmers in their fields who make up the majority of worldwide food harvest.
Exposed: The Secret Life of Roots
June – October 2019
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens was the FIRST in the country to re-create the US Botanic Garden’s most popular 2015 exhibit, Exposed: The Secret Life of Roots. A powerful visual display with 20 foot long roots hanging from the floor to the ceiling were grown at the Land Institute in Kansas. The exhibit featured in-depth interpretation exploring the critical dilemma of how we will sustainably feed the growing planet. Guests explored how the development of perennial crops could save the future of America’s farmlands. “Agriculture is the world’s worst mistake” said Jared Diamond. Dramatic panels by world-renowned National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson installed in the Education Center and in the gardens highlighted the hidden world of roots.
June – October 2018
Photography exhibit of Stickwork sculptures by renowned environmental artist Patrick Dougherty. “For over 35 years, the public has been mesmerized by Dougherty’s whimsical sculptural creations in botanical gardens, museum grounds, universities and other settings around the world. He has honed his craft at bending and weaving natural materials into over 285 monumental interactive sculptures for an unforgettable experience.”
Dougherty created a Stickwork art installation outside the Gardens in Ford Park that lasted just under two years.
H20 = Life
June – October 2018
More than 90% of all mountain wildlife species depend on rivers at some time in their lives. What makes rivers like Gore Creek so important? The riparian ecosystem is a web that connects organisms to the river, forest and each other. Visitors will learn about the plants and animals that live amid the water, how these organisms help or hinder the river’s health, and what we can do to improve the health of Colorado’s rivers.
The Year of the Pollinator
With the addition of the Pollinator Garden built on the Northeast side of the Education Center, 2017 focused on unfathomable processes we have pollinators to thank for and how we can help them continue their inmeasurable work.