The Lions Roar

Denver's Big Four are getting even bigger.

Denver Botanic Gardens

Operating budget: $7 million; approximately $3.3 million comes from the SCFD, and $700,000 comes from the City and County of Denver.

Annual attendance: 400,000

Plans: The Denver Botanic Gardens has undergone many changes in the last year, most notably a 42 percent turnover in full-time employees; a new horticulture director completely redesigned and replanted more than twenty gardens this past summer, and just a couple of weeks ago, Michael Blake defected from Colorado's Ocean Journey to assume the new position of associate director at the Botanic Gardens. Executive director Brinsley Burbidge, who was hired two years ago, says he wants to make the gardens more attractive to children; to allow visitors to see more of the plants that are currently out of view in glass houses; and to open the west gates that separate the gardens from Cheesman Park in order to create a new neighborhood entrance. But the Botanic Gardens, which is fifty years old this year, doesn't have enough money to do the things it wants, Burbidge says. "We're just beginning to put together plans for a capital campaign," he explains. "By May we will determine exactly what we want to do, how much it will cost and how to fund it."

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