First Advisor

Michael Ghedotti

Second Advisor

Kristofor Voss

Third Advisor

Amy Schreier


Regis College

Degree Name

MS Environmental Biology

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

75 pages


The study of visitor use in museums, zoos, and aquariums is an important aspect of understanding visitor engagement and evaluating the function of the institution. Here, visitor demographics such as age, group size, and number of children were assessed to see their influence on time spent and number of stops visitors made while visiting the Denver Botanic Gardens in Denver, Colorado. This study evaluated differences in time spent and number of stops made among different gardens by observing visitors and mapping their paths and activities through each zone. The results show that older visitors and larger groups spent more time and made more stops than younger visitors and smaller groups. Spatially, visitors made many more stops within the first zones of the main gardens, and the physically separated children’s garden. These results show how different visitors use the gardens and how features hold visitor attention, allowing better informed decisions to improve visitor engagement. For example, children were frequently observed in focal groups in the Mordecai Children’s garden, but not in the main garden. This suggests that changes can be made to the main gardens, like added interactive activities throughout, would increase the engagement and improve the experience of groups with children. Finally, this study highlights the need for the framework used to be tailored to botanic gardens because of the unique structural differences, like the ability to enjoy the gardens without stopping, from other institutions like museums, zoos, and aquariums where visitors generally stop to appreciate what is being displayed.

Date of Award

Spring 2018

Location (Creation)

Denver, Colorado

Rights Statement

All content in this Collection is owned by and subject to the exclusive control of Regis University and the authors of the materials. It is available only for research purposes and may not be used in violation of copyright laws or for unlawful purposes. The materials may not be downloaded in whole or in part without permission of the copyright holder or as otherwise authorized in the “fair use” standards of the U.S. copyright laws and regulations.