Denver Zoo Map
January 9, 2017


Poignant exhibit of art made from ocean debris leaves January 16

Denver Zoo’s latest traveling exhibit, “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea,” presented by CH2M, will end its run on Monday, January 16. This leaves visitors one week to view the poignant exhibit, which features 15 large-scale sculptures of sea life made almost entirely from debris collected from beaches. Guests who visit from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., January 14 to 16, will also have the opportunity to create their own recycled material artworks in the Gates Center.

Developed by the nonprofit group The Washed Ashore Project, the exhibit is meant to create awareness about ocean debris and plastic pollution though art.  Almost all of the sculptures represent species that can be found in oceans, such as a sea turtle, tiger shark and sea jelly. From afar, the larger-than-life sculptures can be viewed as intricately-detailed art pieces. Up-close, visitors notice the discarded items the artist used to create them, such as brown flip flops that cover a baby sea lion’s face or toy truck tires that make up part of a blue marlin’s eyes. Sometimes the individual pieces of garbage are easily identifiable, other times they require closer looks. Guests are even encouraged to touch the sculptures to discover more.

Denver Zoo partnered with local non-profit RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching) and Michigan-based non-profit Art Road to provide the recycled materials for the “create-your-own art” event. Art Road is responsible for the five Great Lakes fish in the Washed Ashore collection. The fish were created from trash collected along Michigan’s beaches and represent the impact pollution can have on fresh water species, as well.

Opened in late September 2016, this was the first time the exhibit came to Denver, as well as the first time it was be hosted by an inland, non-coastal zoo. The exhibit, as well as the “create-your-own art” event, is included with regular price of admission to Denver Zoo.