Imagine a place that’s one part Denver Zoo, one part Denver Museum of Nature & Science, one part Denver Art Museum, and free to visit. Too good to be true? Wait until you check out Colorado State University’s new campus full of educational, family-friendly opportunities. CSU Spur is settling into Denver’s Globeville/Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods with the goal of connecting the public to the university system’s achievements in health, agriculture, and water management.
Spur’s first building (out of three), Vida, opened January 7, 2022. Here, visitors can observe horse-assisted physical and emotional therapies at the Temple Grandin Equine Center, watch horses walk on underwater treadmills at the equine rehabilitation area, and view pet exams and surgeries at the new Dumb Friends League Veterinary Hospital. Spur staff are on hand to facilitate live question-and-answer sessions with the experts performing each service.
“I’m excited to see our youngest people coming through the doors and getting inspired by animal sciences,” Kathryn Venzor, Spur’s director of education says. The center provides an outlet for newfound interests—kids can test their veterinarian skills by taking vitals, administering vaccinations, and bandaging limbs of stuffed animals in a mock clinic. Art installations and a nine-foot interactive kitten statue that purrs or hisses depending on how you approach it add to the beauty and fun infused in the space.
“What we are showcasing is the animal and human connection: the bond that we build with animals, the health benefits that come from taking care of animals, and [the fact that] healthy animals usually leads to healthy humans and a healthy planet,” Venzor says.
Need to Know: Spur’s Vida building is free to visit and open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.