Unwind: After-Hours Event Takes Root at DBG

Denver Botanic Gardens kicks off the second year of Unwind, a series of three summer evenings that bring together botany, art and creative cocktails and munchies. The first Unwind of the season takes place Thurs. June 11 from 6 to 9 p.m.
The Denver Botanic Gardens' aptly named Unwind gives locals an opportunity to savor a drink in one of the city's most spectacular settings.

Communications Manager Erin Bird says the event first came about with three sellouts during last year's record-breaking Dale Chihuly exhibition. "We launched the series last year and are bringing it back for round two," she says. "Since so many of the other museums and cultural facilities in Denver have after-hours nights, we just wanted to offer something as an audience-builder to attract a younger crowd and a more diverse crowd."

That means the events are 21-plus and designed to present a different point of view of the gardens -- one that includes a cocktail or glass of wine in hand as the sun sets -- with a few tweaks from the first year. "We lowered the ticket price a bit from last year and the ticket now includes three drinks instead of two," says Bird.

The events are designed as an "audience-builder."There are three Unwind nights in all before the end of the summer, and each event has a different theme with its own appetizer menu, special drinks and offbeat entertainment. On June 11, the theme is Escape, with creative spins on movie snacks -- think candy bars with 3D wrappers, gourmet nachos and wasabi-tinged popcorn -- wine and beer, and stiltwalkers and other roving performance artists.

For the July 16 event, the Elements theme will go "back to the basics of nature," says Bird. Perhaps Denver's best new building for 2014, the Science Pyramid will live up to its name for the evening as a venue where guests will extract DNA from strawberries, nosh on food frozen in liquid nitrogen and take a few hits from the oxygen bar. The cocktail? Cucumber vodka mixed with basil lemonade and black cherry boba. The final Unwind, Explore on Aug. 13, will showcase international cuisine, but the menu and other details are still being worked out.

For all three events include a look at the special Deborah Butterfield exhibit, "The Nature of Horses," with a mellower atmosphere than regular hours. "It's a totally different vibe," says Bird.

Tickets for Unwind ($35 for DBG members or $40 for non-members) are available in advance here.

Read more articles by Eric Peterson.

Eric is a Denver-based tech writer and guidebook wiz. Contact him here.
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