Hidden Elves – Denver, CO


The Hidden Elves can be found lurking inside the diorama murals at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science located at 2001 Colorado Boulevard in Denver, Colorado.

The elves (8 to be exact) were painted by artist Kent Pendleton when he was commissioned to paint the diorama scenery at the Science Museum in the 1970s. In lieu of a signature, he used elves and other images like that of bird flying in the sky to sign his final works.

Here is a list of where the surreptitiously hidden elves can be found in the museum exhibits. We found six painted gnomes, a gnome constellation, two 3D gnome figurines.

  • Space Odyssey on Level 1. Go to the far right side of the Mars Candor Chasma diorama. You will see a ceramic elf.
  • North American Wildlife Hall. Locate the Springtime in the Great Smokies diorama. The elf is sitting on a rock just below the branch. He’s wearing green and has a white beard.


  • The Hoh River Rain Forest diorama. The elf is peeking from behind the fifth tree. His hat blends with the scenery, so you will mostly see his face.
  • Edge of the Wild. Locate the Pronghorn diorama. A ceramic red-bearded elf wearing a green suit is peeking out from behind a bush.
  • White-tailed Deer diorama Look just below the branch and just above the wild plum bush. There’s the elf, hiding in the grove and dressed in brown.


  • Large mural in the IMAX Theater lobby on Level 2. you’ll see an elf hiding among the fish, just below the jellyfish. He has a white beard and is wearing a blue cap. There are also several painted pictures hidden on the walls relating to Star Wars (Yoda).
  • Lowland River diorama. The elf is resting against the tree where the branch and painting meet. This white-bearded fellow is wearing a green suit.


  • Dinosaur Exhibit Crustaceous Creekbed:: There is an elf riding the back of a dinosaur. Also during a video in the Prehistoric Journey area you will see a cluster of stars toward the middle of the screen that resembles an elf. The elf will travel to the left and onto the second screen as the animation progresses.

In addition to the elves, there are two butterflies in Edge of the Wild diorama with wings that move. They are the only moving objects in the Museum’s dioramas.

NOTE: For those willing to hunt for the elves, the museum provides visitors with a Seek and Find Brochure from the museum information desk to guide you on your search for these mythological creatures.

Although, some refer to the elves in the dioramas as gnomes or leprechaun, the official museum brochure uses the term elves.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science
2001 Colorado Boulevard
Denver, CO 80205

Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Website)
Google Map (Chart)


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Thomasville, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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