VAIL — Established in 1997, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens has grown into one of the most beautiful and informative outdoor experiences in Eagle County. From grandparents to toddlers, the roster of activities will keep families engaged for hours if not days. Adult programs begin this week.
Guided tours are available on Mondays, Thursday and Saturdays beginning at 10:30 a.m. through Labor Day weekend. Knowledgeable guides provide in-depth information about the flora and history of the gardens. With over 3,000 plant species, the Alpine Gardens can be overwhelming; the guides understand the complexities of the mountain ecology and the plants that thrive in the alpine environment.
Every Thursday from July 10 through Aug. 14, the very popular cooking demonstrations Chef in the Gardens inspires even the most unenthusiastic cooks to try something new. In the demonstrations, top local chefs share their culinary secrets working with local and organic foods. Following the show, samples of the dish are served. The demos start at noon; space is limited and the cost is $5 per person.
“This is such a delightful venue for a cooking show and the chefs’ creations are delicious,” said Nicola Ripley, the executive director for the Alpine Gardens.
YOGA IN THE GARDENS
Yoga in the Gardens is also a very popular activity. Most indoor yoga studios try to create a peaceful ambiance by dimming lights and broadcasting pleasant sounds. Yoga at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens helps create a natural connection of the mind, body and spirit. Performing yoga outdoors can intensify any yoga practice. Nature helps with focusing on awareness, breathing deeply and practicing stillness.
“You are directly grounded to the earth,” explained Minturn resident Jena Skinner, “and surrounded by the sounds and scents of our environment. It’s just an amazing journey.”
Vinyasa yoga classes are held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 to 10:15 a.m. beginning this week. Mats are available and the cost is $12 per person. Instructors Emily Moyer and Tara Murphy conduct the classes.
Award-winning photographer John Sheppard conducts photography workshops on Wednesdays, June 25, July 9 and 23, Aug. 6 and 20 from 3 to 5 p.m. The workshops teach about the use of light, composition, exposure and framing. Dave Stevens, a photography workshop student from Sun Lakes, Arizona, remarked, “I learned much more than I expected about outdoor photography. John explained about using depth-of-field to enhance scenery photos, shutter speed to enhance water effects and more.”
Participants are asked to bring a camera and tripod. The workshop is free but donations are encouraged.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, located in the heart of Ford Park, is the highest botanical garden in the world providing free access to an estimated 100,000 visitors annually. The gardens are open to the public from dawn until dusk throughout the year. In addition to its adult programs, the gardens engage youth by exploring and experimenting with nature. A complete list of activities and events is available at www.bettyfordalpine gardens.org or by calling 970-476-0103, ext. 3.