Perfect for the little ones!

The weather here in Colorado has been a little uncooperative lately.  It feels more like the Midwest with days and days of overcast skies and unending rain.  I’m wondering what happened to the over 300 days of sunshine a year Colorado receives on average .Butterflies

Butterflies My trip to Mt. Evans has been once again thwarted due to the storms, not to mention a trip to the botanic gardens to see the Chihully display.

Last spring, I had the greatest of plans to be out and about exploring all parts of Colorado this summer.

You know, spend two weeks here, two weeks there, a few days here and a few there ….. but life happens, responsibilities beckon, and being available for loved ones seem to take center stage.Butterflies spiders tarantula

I’ll admit I was somewhat disappointed when hubby and I decided to park in Denver for the entire summer, but I’m discovering the upside to staying in one location for an extended period of time especially when the weather is less than agreeable.

ButterfliesBeing a believer in the mantra, “things happen for a reason” … I’ll admit, I’m actually glad we’re spending the entire summer camped in one spot.

It has allowed me the opportunity to explore Denver like never before as well as discover some hidden gems in and around the area.  Oh, and I can’t forget about the time I’ve had to reconnect with friends which has been absolutely wonderful.

So back to the lousy weather and discovering hidden gems; where to go and what to do on a rainy day?  With camera in hand, I’m off to the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado.  It’s only a ten minute drive away from our home base at the Westminster Elks Lodge.Butterflies

Tarantula spiderThis is a fantastic place to visit with children, especially ages 2-14.  After paying my admittance, my first stop is at the Crawl-A-See-Em exhibit; a journey through invertebrate habitats – home to “Rosie”.

Rosie is a Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula accustomed to lots of visitors and attention.

tarantulaI took a pass on holding Rosie and stuck to looking at her from behind my camera lens.  I was impressed with all the little kids more fascinated by this hairy creature than afraid.  The curator was fantastic with the children and handling of Rosie.

horseshoe crabMoving on, I entered the Water’s Edge exhibit; explore water environments. This area had tanks filled with corals, sea cucumbers, jellies, lobsters, and more.

There was an area to touch a sea star or one of their horseshoe crabs.

tropical rainforestThen it was on to the real reason for MY visit…. Wings of the Tropics exhibit; travel through a tropical rainforest with over 1,000 butterflies.

As soon as I passed through the doors, I was greeted with hot, humid air feeling like I was indeed in the tropics.  The pavilion is filled with lush vegetation.

The tall glass ceiling is outfitted with a series of pipes providing on again off again misting and rain, simulating the tropics.Butterflies Several times I found it necessary to protect my camera by stuffing it under my T-shirt to protect it from the rain.  Hmm, rain outside and now rain inside!  Whatever was I thinking?

Butterflies The pavilion is a flutter with butterflies of all kinds and colors.  Touching of any kind is discouraged for the health of the butterflies, but it was somewhat common for the butterflies to land on people.

It was particularly entertaining to see the butterflies land on the heads of little children.  And yes, there were LOTS of children.

I was so engrossed with the butterflies flying either at eye level or higher I failed to look low to the ground for other hidden creatures until a sweet little 4 year old girl exuberantly exclaimed, “Look mommy, a turtle”.  Ah, Ingrid…. remember to look around!


Not only did I enjoy photographing all these unique beauties, I had fun playing photographer for several families as cameras and phones were handed to me so all members of the party could be in a photo together.

This is a place I definitely would’ve taken my kids when they were young and for a bit I did enjoy observing all these young minds, but without my own children in tow and after about an hours tour I’d had my fill and made my exit in hopes of exploring the outdoor garden.Butterflies

The exterior Garden looked beautiful even in the rain and worth exploring on a sunny day.  If I can catch a morning without rain, I’ll most likely venture back over here to stroll the garden.  Until then, I’ll keep searching for inside excursions, preferably without rain 🙂Butterfly Pavilion
Stokes Butterfly Book : The Complete Guide to Butterfly Gardening, Identification, and Behavior


54 thoughts on “Perfect for the little ones!

  1. We all always find a kick out of something whatever life throw at us. It’s always a good attitude to turn bad things into good things, other than just complain a lot. 😉 😀 Highly impressive shots of the butterflies!!!!!

    • I may go back once school is in session. There were just a few too many little kids running around but I’ll admit it was fun watching them all take it in 🙂

      • I went to the CA Academy of Sciences in San Fran and they have a bio dome exhibit and the spiders are loose in there. So when you leave you are between two sets of doors and you have to look to make sure you have nothing on your person before you leave. I even checked my purse and camera. CREEPY!!!

  2. How gorgeous is your photography of the butterflies, turtle and Rosie! I’m not one to find spiders cuddly, but Rosie is the exception.

  3. How beautiful! And so well-photographed, A number of years ago, I went to the San Diego Zoo and walked through a temporary butterfly exhibit. It was wonderful and an opportunity to see some that I’d never see this far North. Of course, had I seen a tarantula, my thoughts on the experience would be entirely different. Not a fan. 🙂

  4. Gorgeous butterflies! I’m with you on the tarantula — I like getting a close up look, but I don’t want to hold one. Ingrid, I like your attitude of accepting “what is” and making the best of it. Might as well make up our minds to be happy no matter what. Sounds like you’re having a good time, rain and all. 🙂 I do hope you get to see the Chihuly exhibit because I want to see your photos — it was too hot when we were in Phoenix to see the exhibit in May.

    • Just returned from the Botanic Garden and Chihuly exhibit – stunning and so worth a visit. I’ll need to work on that post soon 🙂

  5. I wish we had gone to the botanical garden and the butterfly house… Both are favorite field trips with lots of great opportunities for colorful nature photos ☺️

    • You’ll just have to plan those excursions on your next trip to Colorado. As it was, you sure packed in a lot while you were here.

      • When we finally left Colorado, we stopped to relax a couple days at our next site… but our field trips are done for this trip! We are two days drive from home now…

  6. Great butterfly capture! Its only when you are in a butterfly garden can we have a good photo op with this restless insects. In a way Im glad you are Denver so you would have lots of recommendations for us when the time comes.

    • Yes, thank goodness there were so many butterflies …. one was bound to hold still long enough for my shutter. There is plenty for you to see and do in Denver and the rest of Colorado that you’ll need to plan on spending plenty of time when you do visit 🙂

  7. Ingrid, someday we have to meet for coffee or wine. I think we lead somewhat parallel lives. I had plans to spend the summer experiencing the National Park sites in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. However, a fender bender in Waco, Texas changed my plans and I have been stuck in Dallas. I have managed a few quick trips here and there. Currently I am in Alabama with my husband on a business trip. When in Dallas, I try to do things the city has to offer. One of my favorite activities is the Children’s Aquarium. They let you feed stingrays there! Also, my adult kids have required my assistance more than usual this summer. And I love that!

    • I don’t complain when my grown kids want to hang out together or ask for assistance. I love being a mom. We do plan to spend more time in TX this winter but I don’t think we’ll venture north of San Antonio with the majority of time being in Rockport and Galveston. Be sure and let me know if your travels will take you to southern TX so we can meet up for coffee 🙂

    • Thank you. It sure helps to have so many butterflies fluttering about as there will always be at least one that lands long enough to capture on film or rather ‘media’ 🙂

  8. What a really neat place you found to visit!!! Yes, family and their needs comes first and sometimes we have to put things on the back burner…I like the phrase “adjust and overcome”…it fits our lives right now just perfectly!!

    • “Adjust and overcome”…. that will be my new mantra. We’ve been discovering quite a few hidden gems lately so sitting in one spot for 3 months does have an upside – in addition to seeing the daughter 🙂

    • Thank you and yes they do move quickly which is a challenge. Fortunately with so many, there’s always one that needs to rest just long enough to snap a shot 🙂

  9. Gorgeous photographs. I’m really enjoying your articles, liked the pics of your daughter’s mud run, was shocked to see a 19 % grade road sign etc. BTW I’ve seen a tarantula in the wild here in Palm Springs only once long time ago. I was coming down the trail and there it was in front of me crossing the street . Enjoy the rest of the summer ! Zsuzsa

    • Thank you and thanks for stopping by and commenting. I too have seen a tarantula on a trail near NM and never have I felt a need to touch one 🙂

  10. This place was in the movie my husband and I just watched called Heaven Is Real. I loved reading about your visit there. We have a place nearby that also has a butterfly exhibit. We would bring the kiddos there when they were younger. Butterflies are such beautiful creatures! In fact, one year we had some caterpillars sneak into our work and morph into gorgeous butterflies. Enjoy the weather, no matter what you get, because there’s always going to be a gem just waiting to be explored!

    • It definitely was a fun discovery and I’m planning on heading back over there to walk the exterior garden. Fortunately there’s no charge for that however I don’t expect the butterflies to hold still long in the outdoors. They are beautiful to watch that’s for sure. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  11. Have you heard about the scavenger hunt in Denver? My girlfriend and I are going to try it when we go to Denver. It is online and you can do it with several teams or just a couple. She has done it before and she said you will find out historical and fun things and it is a walking tour which starts in downtown Denver.

    • No, I have not heard about the scavenger hunt. Sounds interesting so I’ll be Googling. We spent yesterday running around downtown past the Molly Brown house, Beyer’s-Evans house, civic center, and toured the art museum. So much to see and do – loving it. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  12. Lovely pics but i’m disappointed in you Ingrid. Why didn’t you hold the tarantula?
    Speaking of missed opportunities, I missed the chance to take a chilled yoga class in the Butterfly Pavilion in Scottsdale. We’d already made plans for that day. At least I got to see your butterflies!

    • Ah, there was no one to take my photo, thus no proof I held Rosie so what was the point LOL. Sounds like you NEED to return to AZ for yoga and Butterflies – how could you pass that up?

  13. Good for you to see the positive in the bad weather Ingrid. Your photos of the butterflies are superb. I can’t believe you didn’t want to hold Rosie. 🙂

    • I didn’t want to deprive a little kiddo plenty of time to experience Rosie…. children first. Are ya buying that? Sounds like a good excuse to me.
      I’m getting my vote in for you 🙂

  14. What a beautiful place! I saw a Chilean rose hair tarantula in an Insect Zoo in California, and she was named Rosie too! 🙂

  15. I adore butterflies and you have captured them so beautifully Ingrid! This took me back to our time in Key West and the Butterfly Conservancy. 🙂

    • I’m sure the two places are very similar. The butterflies are definitely easier to photograph in this situation than in the outdoors but I’m still planning on going back over there to explore the garden 🙂

  16. I am following your Colorado journey and exploring with vicarious pleasure. During my 13 nomadic years, I stayed at the Westminster Elks every summer while visiting family, friends and one time co-workers. The butterflies were a more than once visit. I am looking forward to reading more of your exploring along Colorado’s Front Range.

    • We had lived in southern CO for almost 20 years and thus never spent that much time exploring northern CO until the kids went to college CSU and CU. Yep, got a Ram and a Buff in the family LOL. Now with the Buff living in Phoenix and the Ram in Westminster, we’ve got the perfect scenario for summers in CO and winters in AZ. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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