1101 Little Raven St., Denver
HOURS: Daily 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Centennial Gardens is a lovely little example of the transformation of the entire South Platte Valley from urban wasteland to dynamic neighborhood. People jogging, bicycling, or sauntering along the paths parallel to the South Platte River can detour into the gardens with dozens of carefully pruned topiary trees and smell the lavender plants, listen to the fountains trickling, or watch birds flit from trees to birdbaths.
Centennial Gardens is a formal garden, inspired by the gardens of Versailles in France. In the 1990s, former Denver mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, Wilma, visited Versailles and wanted to create a formal public garden in Denver . What makes this small garden unique is the use of only native plant species and drought-tolerant plants in the neatly patterned five-acre space.
There is always a spot of brilliant color amongst the tidy green hedges; in the spring, yellow, purple, and white crocuses push up through native buffalo grass just before miniature irises and daffodils appear around deciduous trees and rows of junipers.
A small pavilion with benches provides shade in Centennial Gardens on warm days.