Vail’s Betty Ford Alpine Gardens introduces new treasure hunt activity |

Vail’s Betty Ford Alpine Gardens introduces new treasure hunt activity

Daily staff report

With summer in full swing, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens introduces its new Garden’s Treasure Hunt. Although the program is designed for young children ages 5-12, adults are also discovering features in the gardens they never knew existed.

The treasure hunt occupies young minds and bodies creating a labyrinth of learning in the gardens. Participants will better understand what a watershed means, recognize various animal prints and understand characteristics of native plants including perennial and dry mountain plants.

“The treasure hunt is fun and educational for kids and their parents,” said gardens supporter Elaine Kuntz. “I enjoyed it a lot.”

The treasure hunt begins at the Gardens’ Schoolhouse Gift Shop where they will be given an instruction sheet, a letterboxing index card and the first clue. Hunters then travel throughout the Gardens to locate six different letterboxes. In each box is an additional clue that leads to the next box. Along the way, individuals mark their index card with the letterbox stamp. At the end of the hunt, participants collect their treasure by turning in their card to the gift shop.

“This is both a fun and educational activity that we have added to the Gardens we invite the public to come and enjoy it,” said Nicola Ripley, garden director.

The Schoolhouse Gift Shop is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A $5 donation is suggested.

In addition to the self-guided activity, the Gardens provides supervised gardening programs, Gardens “Learn and Grow” program takes place Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon until Aug. 15. The drop-in activities are held in the Children’s Garden amphitheater and designed for children ages 5 to 10 years old. Weekly themes engage children to better understand our natural environment and include “The Power of Pollinators: Butterflies, Bees, and Humming Birds,” “Dig it! The Secrets of Soil” and “Discovering Watersheds.”

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is a Colorado non-profit organization funded mostly by individual contributions. The gardens, located in the heart of Ford Park, is celebrated as the highest botanical garden in North America and provides free access to an estimated 100,000 visitors annually. The garden is open to the public from dawn until dusk throughout the year. In addition to its youth programs, the gardens engage adults through culinary, artistic and wellness programs. A $5 donation is appreciated.

A complete list of activities and events is available at or call 970-476-0103 extension No. 3.

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