Culture is big business in Metro Denver
The area is the cultural capital of the Rocky Mountain region and is home to the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the nation’s largest arts complex under one roof. Visitors can attend the symphony, ballet, opera, theatre, and touring productions there, and at numerous exhibiting institutions and performance venues throughout the area.
Citizens in Metro Denver support arts and culture through the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a voter-approved sales tax earmarking one cent of every $10 in retail sales to support art, culture, and scientific organizations in the seven-county Metro Denver region. A national model for funding culture, in 2014 the SCFD distributed more than $52 million to 270 arts and culture organizations.
More than 13.2 million Metro Denver residents and other visitors attended cultural events in 2014, according to the SCFD. And recent venue expansions and construction of new facilities further illustrate the vibrancy of Metro Denver's cultural scene.
The Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus recently completed a $16.1 million expansion, bringing six new exhibits such as the Teaching Kitchen and the Art Studio. The museum emphasizes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines with displays that explore issues like water and energy. With more than 327,000 children and adults visiting the museum in 2014, the renovation also doubled the amount of space.
According to travel guide FodorsTravel.com’s 2015 list, the Denver Zoo is one of the top 10 zoos in the country, and its Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit was singled out. The Denver Zoo was partly responsible for tourism's banner year in Denver last year, when a total of 15.4 million people visited the area and spent $4.6 billion.