Driving between Boulder and Denver on route 36 you’ve probably passed signs for Westminster’s Butterfly Pavilion. Known for its butterfly rainforest exhibit, this invertebrate zoo and research facility has a lot to offer both kids and adults.
What are invertebrates?
Invertebrates are critters that don’t have a backbone or bony skeleton. They live all over the world in all types of environments – both aquatic and land. Insects (like butterflies), spiders, worms, slugs, snails, jellyfish, squids, crabs and even coral are just a few types of invertebrates. The Butterfly Pavilion is home to a variety of these important animals.
With hands-on learning, staff interpretation, virtual reality, and interactive technology, there are learning opportunities for people of all ages. You’ll learn about different types of invertebrates and their habitats, their incredible adaptations, and crucial conservation efforts. Here’s what to expect from each of the five main exhibits.
Colorado Backyard (Indoor): Learn about our state’s invertebrate residents. This immersive exhibit teaches visitors about the invertebrates that live throughout Colorado’s varied ecosystems. You’ll find play structures for active learning as well as live animals to explore visually.
Wings of the Tropics (Indoor): Walk through an indoor rainforest teeming with butterflies and over 200 plant species from different parts of the world. One of the most magical experiences at the Pavilion!
Crawl-A-See-Em (Indoor): We believe everyone deserves a chance but if you really hate spiders, you may want to skip this section. Here you’ll visit with a variety of different arthropods – invertebrates with an exoskeleton, a segmented body, and paired jointed appendages – such as spiders, praying mantis, and millipedes. Visitors are also invited to play with Rosie the tarantula (with guidance from staff).
Image courtesy of the Butterfly Pavilion
Water’s Edge (Indoor): Learn about the multitude of marine invertebrates living in coral reefs and other coastal habitats as well as those who thrive deep on the ocean floor. You can even shake hands with a sea star!
Outdoor Gardens & Nature Trails: Take a walk outside through the Butterfly Pavilion’s trails where you’ll find specially designed gardens that attract beneficial butterfly and other insect species.
Activities and Events
In addition to daily visitation, the Butterfly Pavilion hosts a variety of events. These include adult yoga, children’s yoga, photography workshops, musical experiences with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, girl scout and boy scout days, camps, and beekeeping workshops. Check out all the ways to learn and participate on their Learn Page.
Location, Hours and Tickets
The Butterfly Pavilion is located in Westminster at 6252 W. 104th Avenue, less than 30 minutes from both downtown Denver and Boulder. Tickets are $13 for adults, $11 for seniors, and $9 for children between the ages of 2-12 (kids under 2 are free). To learn more and purchase tickets, check out their Visitor Information page.
Until next time!