dbgchatfield1I’ve stumbled across an excellent reason to play hooky from work on Friday: Entry to the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield is free for Colorado residents from 9-5 p.m.

While you’re there, mosey around one of the many nature trails, stop by the 19th-century, one-room schoolhouse, and check out the working beehives.

Bonus: Be sure to throw your bike on the back of the car and head over to Waterton Canyon before or after your trip to the gardens for a ride up to Strontia Springs Dam—13 miles round trip. Pack a picnic; there are plenty of shady tables at which to stop, snack, and take in the scenery.