Exhibits

Interactively inspiring

Dinosaurs among us ARRIVing Memorial Day Weekend 2024

Explore the link between birds – living dinosaurs – and their extinct ancestors. Visit our gardens and the Education Center throughout the summer for the Dinosaurs Among Us exhibit, dinosaur family scavenger hunt, educational activities, and expert speaker events.

Plan to join us for these exciting presentations:

Archaeopteryx
Yutyrannus - © AMNH/R. Mickens

The next time you watch a Red-tailed Hawk circling in the Colorado sky, or spot a Ptarmigan while hiking in the high alpine, know that you just had an encounter with a modern dinosaur. Dinosaurs never really vanished from Earth. Most did go extinct, but their evolutionary legacy lives on all around us, in birds. The exhibition Dinosaurs Among Us will highlight the unbroken line between the charismatic dinosaurs that dominated the planet for about 170 million years and modern birds. The panels feature large-scale color illustrations of familiar and newly discovered extinct dinosaur species as they would have looked in life.

Khaan fossils - © AMNH/M. Ellison
Khaan fossils - © AMNH/M. Ellison

Living birds belong to a group, or clade, called the Dinosauria. It includes the extinct dinosaurs and all their living descendants, which is why most scientists now agree that birds are a kind of dinosaur just like we are a kind of mammal. The more comparisons we make between birds and their closest non-bird relatives, the more connections we find. Using paleontological and biological evidence, audiences learn about the links between dinosaurs and birds by examining their reproduction, physical structures, and the evolution of flight, demonstrating that birds truly are the Dinosaurs Among Us.

About the Exhibit

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is pleased to present this exhibit courtesy of member donations and our sponsors.

Organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York with support from North Museum of Nature and Science, United States; Philip J. Currie Museum, Canada; Museo de Ciencias, Universidad de Navarra, Spain; and Universum Museo de las Ciencias de la UNAM, Mexico, Dinosaurs Among Us explores the practically obsolete boundary between the animals we call birds and those we traditionally called dinosaurs.

This edition of Dinosaurs Among Us is curated by Dr. Akinobu Watanabe, Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History and Assistant Professor of Anatomy at New York Institute of Technology. It is adapted from the Museum’s original exhibition of the same title, curated by Mark Norell, Curator Emeritus in the Division of Paleontology.

About the American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), founded in 1869 with a dual mission of scientific research and science education, is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions. The Museum encompasses more than 40 permanent exhibition halls, galleries for temporary exhibitions, the Rose Center for Earth and Space including the Hayden Planetarium, and the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. The Museum’s scientists draw on a world-class permanent collection of more than 34 million specimens and artifacts, some of which are billions of years old, and on one of the largest natural history libraries in the world. Through its Richard Gilder Graduate School, the Museum offers two of the only free-standing, degree-granting programs of their kind at any museum in the U.S.: the Ph.D. program in Comparative Biology and the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Earth Science residency program. Visit amnh.org for more information.

Exhibit archive

Rocky Mountain High

WINTER 2023

Do you miss alpine plants while they are covered with snow? Their beauty was displayed in the juried exhibition Rocky Mountain High, by the Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists. Betty Ford Alpine Gardens partnered with the RMSBA to illustrate 40 examples of Colorado’s smallest and toughest plants in amazing detail. The exhibit was on display at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Education Center during Winter 2023-Spring 2024.

Colored pencil drawing of flowering thorny plant
Colored pencil drawing of flowering thorny plant

Breaking Records!

Summer 2023

Recording and collecting plants from the world's coldest and highest places. The outdoor exhibit 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!

Tundra Explorer - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Orange Claret Cactus Flower - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Wild, Wild West!

Winter 2022

A juried collection of 36 artworks from the Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists. Featuring flora and fauna from the American West.

 

Children Exploring the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Celebrate the Alpine & the Disappearing Alpine

2022 Summer Exhibit

Celebrate the Alpine, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens' outdoor exhibit, features photographs or rare and unique plants and animals of the fragile alpine ecosystem.

Family can become alpine conservations and step into the boots of researchers in the Education Center. The Disappearing Alpine exhibit and activities encourage exploration of mountaintops and riparian streams tiny tiny plants and hardy animals that live in the alpine ecosystem.

From Platte to Peak

Winter 2021

Presenting illustrations of plant species collected 200 years ago by botanist Edwin James during 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.

Prickly Poppy Illustration - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Plants Are An Answer

Summer 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.

Plants are an Answer - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Alpines: Conquerors of the Cold - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

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.

A botanist takes a picture of a plant with her phone for iNaturalist - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Colorado Botanist Explorers

Summer 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.

 

Colorado Botanist Explorers - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Lost in the woods illustration - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Lost in the Woods

Winter 2019

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.

Women Farmers - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Women Farmers

Summer 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.

Red Russian Kale Microgreens - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

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.

Stickwork

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.

Stickwork: Summer Palace - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
H2O = Life - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

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.

Adajeania Vexatrix Fly Pollinating Yellow Flower - Betty Ford Alpine Gardens | NAGB Alpine Strategy

The Year of the Pollinator

Summer 2017

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.

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