Children’s Nature Exhibit to open November in Fruita |

Children’s Nature Exhibit to open November in Fruita

Grand Valley Zoological Quest (GVZQ), a local nonprofit focused on education through hands-on learning for all ages, will open a children’s nature exhibit this fall, likely sometime in November. It will be located at 404 Jurassic Ave., near Fruita’s popular Dinosaur Journey Museum, and the exhibit will feature a variety of live animals, insects, fish and reptiles.

“The children’s nature center will consist of several educational-immersion exhibits both with and without animals,” a news release said. “Phenomenal exhibits such as the coral reefs, living fossils, rainforests, animals of western Colorado, and arthropods will provide opportunities for both formal and informal education.”

According to GVZQ Executive Director Janet Gardner, “It will be an education center with qualified zoological staff. Since January 2011, we’ve had 16,000 people (both kids and adults) participate in our education programs,” primarily in schools. “It will be nice to finally have a center where people can visit us.”

Though GVZQ’s long-term goal is to build a larger zoo on 10 acres of land near the Dinosaur Journey Museum on Raptor Road in Fruita, having a smaller-scale set up now will benefit future growth and give the Mesa County educational organization a home base.

“The goal is to use the center as a stepping stone,” Gardner said.


To get the children’s nature center ready for public use, there’s currently a call out to local and regional artists for room-specific art submissions — murals or otherwise.

Art is needed for the stingray touch tank zone, a rainforest zone, a living fossils zone, an arthropods zone, a wetlands zone, as well as other public areas inside and outside the center structure, a news release noted.

Fruita Arts & Culture Board Chairman Kyle Harvey said artist proposals are due Sept. 10, and can be sent via email or snail mail. Harvey asks that artists be specific about their proposals and include related artistic examples of their work.

And though art submissions will essentially be donated to the new children’s nature center, Harvey said artists “would be able to sell their work from the gift shop.”

“I’m an artist myself; it’s going to be a pretty big attraction, there will be a lot of traffic through there, and it will be a good way for an artist to self-promote,” Harvey added.

To submit an art proposal, send one to three examples of work with a written proposal. Please include contact information and title the submission: “YOUR NAME ­— GV Zoological Quest Artist Proposal.”

Email proposals and questions to

For more information about Grand Valley Zoological Quest, visit

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