The Hudson Gardens & Event Center

Hudson Gardens is a multipurpose public garden and event center located in Littleton, Colorado. Carrying on the legacy of its founder Evelyn Hudson, it is first and foremost a place of beauty, providing the community with opportunities for enjoyment, recreation, and education amidst a backdrop of stunning botanic displays and natural open spaces. Each year, Hudson Gardens connects nearly 160,000 people with the natural world and one another through offerings such as musical performances, nature programs, garden exhibits, community events, public art, and holiday lights.

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Beekeeping Program

Class

Environment 

Beneficiaries

Animals
General population

Description

The objectives of the Beekeeping Program are:
1. To provide outreach to the local community to promote interest in honeybees and beekeeping;
2. To provide educational opportunities to learn about honeybees and beekeeping;
3. To disseminate information on honeybees and beekeeping;
4. To maintain beehives that will promote the pollination of The Hudson Gardens;
5. To maintain beehives that will enhance the propagation of native plants and crops in the local community.

To accomplish these aims, the Beekeeping Program is inclusive of the following elements:
• A Community Apiary (one of the first in the nation), which provides opportunities for volunteer Community Beekeepers to practice their craft in a community setting. Community Beekeepers own and maintain their hives within the Apiary, serving as advocates for honeybees as well as an educational resource for Hudson Gardens and its visitors.
• A comprehensive series of beekeeping courses designed to prepare new beekeepers for their first season of beekeeping.
• Community outreach events throughout the year, designed to provide outreach to the local community to promote interest in honeybees, beekeeping, and the importance of pollinators.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

The success and impact of the Beekeeping Program is reflected in the following guest feedback:

I continue as a Community Beekeeper for the extensive knowledge that I gain from my fellow beekeepers as well as enjoying the social aspect of interacting and sharing bee experiences with them. Having the interaction with the public is also a high part of the enjoyment of having a hive at Hudson Gardens. The beekeeping world is so fascinating that it's fun to help educate the public of its importance. ~Community Beekeeper

My family loves spending time at Hudson Gardens. We particularly enjoy the Meet the Beekeeper sessions and talking with visitors to The Gardens. We also enjoy the beekeeping community at Hudson Gardesns and helping out new beekeepers. ~Community beekeeper

[I] have enjoyed the associations and continued learning opportunities at Hudson Gardens. I also love the opportunity to volunteer, specifically in education, for the community. ~Community Beekeeper

I love being part of Hudson Gardens and the Beekeeping Program. I continue to learn from other beekeepers but my favorite part is teaching the school classes that come through. Sharing my love of beekeeping and the importance of community hives continues to grow. ~ Community Beekeeper

Community Outreach

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children ages 5 to 21
Military/Veterans
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged/Indigent
General population

Description

Community outreach is intended to serve and engage community members with Hudson Gardens and its mission. These efforts are multifaceted and include community events, community partnerships, and a volunteer program.

Community Events:
On an annual basis, Hudson Gardens produces two free events dedicated to serving the community:

• AirLife Memorial: Held in honor of the everyday heroes in EMS as well as those who have passed away in the line of duty. Donations and proceeds from this event are used to support scholarship funds and provide charitable assistance for the families of EMS professionals who have passed away in the line of duty. This event is offered free of charge to the public and has been held at Hudson Gardens for twenty consecutive years.

• Veteran's Fair: The largest free event for veterans in Colorado, the Veteran's Fair has been held at Hudson Gardens for four consecutive years. This event connects approximately 800 veteran servicemen and servicewomen with organizations and services that serve the military community.

Community Partnerships:
A variety of community partners and nonprofit groups are engaged to support and enhance our programming. Notably among these:

• Artistic and cultural organizations. Hudson Gardens partners with fellow artistic and cultural organizations through the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) and Scientific and Cultural Collaborative (SCC) for exhibit development and the presentation of cultural events and programs.

• Horticultural groups. The Colorado Water Garden Society, the Denver Rose Society, the Herb Society of America, and the Colorado State Extension Service - Arapahoe County Master Gardener Program are deeply involved as partners in garden exhibit design, maintenance, and the delivery of associated educational programming. Without cooperative efforts from these volunteer groups, many garden exhibits and community outreach programs would not be possible.

• City of Littleton. The City of Littleton is a key local government partner, supporting Hudson Gardens by co-producing events such as the Brews & Views Beer Fest, promoting the organization and providing marketing opportunities, and leveraging financial support.

• Arapahoe Community College. Students from neighboring Arapahoe Community College attend and partner with Hudson Gardens for coursework, field sessions, mentorship, and service-learning opportunities.

• Other notable partnerships: Altitude Tickets, Arapahoe County Open Space, Entercom Communications, Friends of AirLife, Littleton Marketing Partners, South Platte Working Group, Directors of Volunteers in Agencies (DOVIA).

Volunteer Program:
The volunteer program currently engages nearly 100 regular community volunteers in defined positions within various departments throughout the organization. One-time volunteers also play an important role by providing support for special projects and events. Volunteers contribute approximately 4,100 hours of service per year.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

The success of community outreach is reflected in the following guest and partner feedback:

I am - and always have been - a real believer in Hudson Gardens. You have supported me in my ups and downs, and I will try to keep helping you. ~Ann, volunteer for 15+ years
It is my pleasure to be a part of Hudson Gardens and supporting this wonderful gift to the community. I love it! ~Deb, volunteer

This has been such a wonderful partnership. The fresh produce is usually gone within a week of receipt. ~Jean, Integrated Family Community Services

As a field inquiry-based class, having a close to campus sampling site makes the field portion of [my class] "do-able". Most students have cars and can drive to off-campus locations, however, they get lost frequently, even with detailed maps from campus to the site. Having a site that is within walking distance and close to campus avoids this predicament. It is beneficial to have real-world experiences that fulfill my vision for the field aspect of our labs. I also need to stay within the time constraints of the lab period. For these reasons, I am grateful for the opportunity for [my] students to utilize the Gardens to enhance our student's educational experience. ~Rosann, Professor at Arapahoe Community College

It is my honor and pleasure to serve our community. Thank you for my opportunity to do that through Hudson Gardens. I am thankful I am part of the extended Hudson Gardens family. ~Bob, volunteer

Special Events

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Families
General Public

Description

Special events support Hudson Gardens' overall mission, goals and objectives and elevate the image of Hudson Gardens, while also providing an entertaining experience and the highest levels of quality and value for Hudson Gardens' patrons. Special events of varying scales, success rates, and complexities have been held at Hudson Gardens since 1998. Special events currently include the following:

• A Hudson Christmas: A premier outdoor holiday light show, with thousands of twinkling lights, visits with Santa, wagon rides, and music.
• Brews & Views Beer Fest: A community event co-presented with the City of Littleton and Hudson Gardens. Elements include craft beer tasting of over 30 local craft beers, live music, and lawn games.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Each of the aforementioned ticketed events has a positive revenue stream and stable levels of attendance. In addition, they are strongly supported by volunteers in a variety of capacities, indicating strong community support. The success of special events is also reflected in the following guest feedback:

Last year…I had my first visit here at Christmas. What a magical evening. I can still close my eyes and hear the music and laughter, I will be back again. ~Stacy

We visited last night and had a great time! Every single employee/volunteer we encountered was extremely polite & friendly. Even though it was below freezing outside, they all seemed happy to be there. It was also nice to hear "MERRY CHRISTMAS" over and over. We also visited Santa, my husband and I were extremely impressed! Santa and his helper were fantastic! They both took their time to make sure our reluctant toddler was comfortable. They both spoke to us and really made an effort to get us several fantastic pictures. Santa even shook both our hands! This experience was much more enjoyable & positive than a recent trip to a nearby shopping districts 'North pole'. We appreciate the efforts of everyone from the parking directors to Mr. Clause! This was our first visit to this venue and it has earned a permanent spot in our new little families Christmas traditions! ~Leah

I love walking in Hudson Gardens all year long. We have had a family membership for several years now. The Christmas lights are simply breathtaking. ~Karla

I enjoyed myself and I enjoyed seeing the kids have fun! I think it was a great activity [pine cone bird feeders]. Thank you again, I look forward to the next event I may be able to participate in! ~Britny

Gardens & Exhibits

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Families
General Public
Outdoor Recreationists

Description

Hudson Gardens' 30 acres are comprised of horticultural displays and attractions, open space, and public art. Highlights include the Rose Garden (with 200+ unique Rose varieties), Victoria Water Lily Pond, a G-scale garden railroad, fourteen permanent art sculptures, a tree collection featuring over 1000 trees, flourishing aquatic displays, a working Honey Bee apiary, and more. These exhibits are available to guests free of charge, 365 days a year.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

A variety of recent achievements reflect the successes of the gardens and exhibits:
• Since eliminating Garden admission fees in 2012, daily Garden attendance has increased by over 200%.
• Hudson Gardens was recently voted "Best Park in Littleton" by Colorado Community Media.

The success of the gardens and exhibits is also reflected in the following guest feedback:

We came here on a whim last weekend to take a walk. The gardens are beautifully maintained and it's a great place to come to enjoy and explore with friends and family or alone if you just want a bit of solitude. ~Amanda

There is always something different anytime you visit. Chances are you will likely have to go at least a handful of times to experience the different gardens they have in all their glory. This place is deceivingly small from the outside but has many beautiful picturesque spots throughout…as if it couldn't get any better, except for the concerts admission is FREE. I'm so excited that after eight years of living in Colorado I finally found my "happy place"! ~Cass

Education

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children ages 5 to 21
Families
General Public
Outdoor Recreationists

Description

The objective of educational programming is to foster appreciation, understanding, and connection with the natural world by providing diverse educational, engagement, and stewardship opportunities. Many educational programs stem from Hudson Gardens' unique garden features and exhibits, strong community partnerships, and invaluable support and leadership provided by volunteers. Educational programming has four branches:

• Field trip offerings include self-guided programs, guided programs, and self-directed programs, all of which align with both National Science Education Standards and Colorado Department of Education's life science academic standards.
• Adult programs include offerings such as nature appreciation classes, gardening classes, and recreation and wellness programs (such as outdoor yoga and tai chi sessions).
• Children's and family programming is the most diverse of the branches, offering self-guided and guided program opportunities for families, small groups, and scouts.
• Outreach programs are aimed at creating awareness of Hudson Gardens' educational programs and offerings and increasing brand recognition in the community.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Last year, Hudson Gardens served approximately 10,000 people through educational programs, including over 7,100 school children who participated in field trip programs. The success of educational programming is also reflected in the following guest feedback:

We loved the freedom to move at our own pace and I could tailor the curriculum to my students' individual needs. The gardens were beautiful and the staff friendly and welcoming. Also, the whole facility was accessible to my wheelchair student and his self-care needs. Thank you so much! ~Special Education Elementary Teacher

Our childcare center brought a group of 27 school-age students (ages 5-11) here this past week, and I could not have been more pleased with the experience...We rented educational packs for our Frog Hunt theme, which included models of eggs, tadpoles and frogs, materials to dress students like a frog, a book about the frog's life cycle, binoculars, and other educational information. Our students searched high and low for all things frog related and found varying sizes of tadpoles and frogs. We also found a fish over a foot long, many ducks and geese, and even a turtle. There were plenty of places to sit for a "shade break" which also gave us opportunities to explore items in our educational pack. A lot of colorful plant species provided additional beauty to our amazing experience. I can't wait to return with my own family! ~MaKenzie

I've really enjoyed and am learning through the Hudson Gardens [bird] walks I've attended… I really look forward to attending more. Your terrific follow-up emails immediately prompt me to get my books out again, to dig, explore and continue to learn. ~Pamela

Concerts

Class

Arts, Culture & Humanities 

Beneficiaries

Adults
General Public
General population

Description

Statewide, Hudson Gardens is recognized as a premier concert destination featuring the increasingly popular Summer Concert Series. The Summer Concert Series is traditionally presented on Sunday evenings during the months of June, July, and August. It predominantly features classic rock artists from the 70s and 80s. Past performers include Foreigner, Joe Walsh, Boz Scaggs, The Temptations, Lynryd Skynyrd, Heart, Gladys Knight, Donny & Marie, YES, and Chris Isaak, among others.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Since its inception in 1999, the Summer Concert Series has entertained over 675,000 visitors. Its popularity is owed in large part to the increased caliber of the bands that perform at Hudson Gardens each summer, in addition to value-based ticket pricing, affordable food and beverage pricing, a beautiful and pristine park-like setting, family-friendly entertainment, quality production, and a commitment to excellence.

The success of concert programming is also reflected in the following guest feedback:

Great place. Good entertainment. Reasonable price. What's not to like about a picnic on a summer evening, in the gardens, with music? ~Sally

What a great fireworks show! The concert was good, the fireworks display the best I have ever seen, and the staff did an amazing job of moving the large crowds quickly and pleasantly in and out of the venue. Thanks, Hudson Gardens! ~Margaret

Perfect outdoor venue for a million outdoor concerts throughout the summer? CHECK. Super Diamond anyone? CHECK! Food on event nights? CHECK.10 + food trucks for a wide variety to choose from? CHECK! Beer/wine served? CHECK! All in all, Hudson Gardens was the perfect location to kick of 4th of July weekend with my parents! Nothing could beat the warm summer air, perfect yard seating, yummy food [picnics are encouraged!], booze and fireworks to top it off! ~Katie

It was a beautiful evening and two great bands! Hudson Gardens is a beautiful park with a stream and a lake and lots of wildlife. They set the stage in an open area. The venue is small and they only allow a certain amount of people general admission. One of my favorite concert venues. Always on a Sunday night most of the time. Tickets are reasonably priced. ~Phyllis

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