City Park: Zoo, golf, museum, IMAX, concerts and kayaks
In 1878, Colorado legislators allowed the city to acquire state land that would be the foundation of a municipal park system. First up: City Park, fashioned after New York City's Central Park. City Park offers the most activity options of Denver’s urban playgrounds, beginning with the expected landscaped open space, tennis courts, bandshell and ballfields. But add golf, the Denver Zoo, the Museum of Nature & Science, IMAX Theater, planetarium and water activities…and it's an entertainment haven.
Located just five minutes from downtown, City Park is a mile-long between its Colorado Boulevard and Steele Street borders and three-quarters of a mile wide between 17th Avenue and 23rd Street. City Park Golf Course is on the north side of 23rd Street, with 18 holes featuring tight, tree-lined fairways that frame gorgeous vistas of downtown and the Rocky Mountains. The views are so appealing that TV crews needing shots of Denver head to the course to capture the urban skyline with its mountain backdrop.
Landscaping includes permanent flowerbeds and historic statues at the main entrance on 17th Street. Tennis courts, soccer fields and a baseball diamond are scattered about the park and there’s a one-mile trail that runs from the Museum of Natural History to Steele Street. A landmark boathouse highlights signature Ferril Lake with paddleboat and kayak rentals. From land or water, views here are in the picture-postcard echelon. The smaller Duck Lake is located in the northwest quadrant of the park.
Denver Zoo has been a City Park icon since 1896, and continues to expand and improve with native, outdoor habitats replacing traditional animal cages. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science continues to attract popular traveling exhibits alongside its permanent collection, and the adjoining IMAX Theatre and Planetarium continue a variety of programs year-round (visit www.DMNS.org for tickets). During summer months, City Park is the sight of concert band and jazz concerts, as well as an outdoor movie series.
HelloDenver Tip: If you’re driving through the park, be patient and pay attention. Not only do joggers use the roads alongside vehicles, but closed gates regulating traffic flow may suddenly appear when you least expect them.
Posted on February 13, 2012 by Lisa Perry