For more than a year now, driving on I-25 through the center of Denver has included a pique in curiosity as the towers at the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus were built and then painted. Now, on June 4, that $2.3 million exhibit is opening to the public as Adventure Forest — a 500-foot long aerial adventure course with immersive art.
Although there are the obstacles you might find in other courses — rope swings, nets to creep over, prism slides and a “slinky crawl” — this one distinguishes itself. Throughout the hieroglyphs of a made-up speech, a message is a message to inspire wonder, curiosity, empathy and explorations of identity.
Of course, since the Adventure Forest is part of the Children’s Museum, it s for Kids. Or is it? The immersive art that covers every inch of the structure, inside and outside, was beautifully made by the museum’s artist-in-residence Wes Sam-Bruce. Sam-Bruce has engaged in many programs and community projects that allow his art to become the centerpiece for discovery. He considers that “art education” — such as the Adventure Forest — “is a social instrument for justice, empowering your skills of asking questions that are great and growing, to become a better listener to the world around you. ”
Though some of the younger children won’t understand the ideas that fuel the art in the Adventure Forest, their interactions with the course prove that Sam-Bruce is onto something. Instead of the cold bars of a playground, every surface of Adventure Forest is full of something mesmerizing. Handwritten words cover the floorboards in a number of rooms, glass cabinets hold antique-store treasures, a game with flags and letters connects people on the floor with people in the atmosphere, bundles of found objects hang from the ceilings — it’s a cornucopia of sensory immersion.
The Children’s Museum expects to open the Adventure Forest to adults on particular “Adult Nights” so everyone can take part. After working for three years with the contractor Bonsai Design, the artist Sam-Bruce and Denver Parks and Recreation — it s something the museum, and the staff who helped is proud of.
The bonus of Adventure Forest? It has one of the best views in Denver.
The Children’s Museum is located at 2121 Children’s Museum Drive.
All photography by Karson Hallaway
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