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

OH, NO….she didn’t?

OH, NO….she didn’t?

RV ParkI’ve settled into life parked in a RV Resort in Phoenix, but I’ll be ready to move on come the end of December.

After our time spent in Colorado and Utah, I miss that ‘in your face, knock your socks off’ kind of scenery.  Although I find plenty of beauty around the RV Park, it just takes a little more effort to find it.

Every day I make it a point to either bike or walk around the Park seeking out things to photograph.  Allow me to share a little incident story that happened during our second week at the RV Resort…….

It’s a beautiful Phoenix, Arizona, afternoon.  I go for a stroll around the RV Park with camera in hand; searching for life’s little beauties.  I’m in my own little world enjoying the flowering cacti, the ducks near the pond, and butterflies.  Oh, yes the butterflies.Monarch ButterflyI’ve attempted to photograph butterflies in the past with virtually no success.  Today is different.  I’m excited.  A few of these lovely guys held still long enough, allowing me to snap a couple of really nice shots.

I’d like to continue snapping away but nature calls.  I’ve already been standing with my legs crossed long enough.  I really gotta go!  I’m just around the corner from the pool and restroom.  I quickly head in the direction of the ladies room entrance on the street side.  After using the pool several times this week, I’ve gotten in the habit of using the restroom and showers.  The women’s restroom is off to the right and the men’s is off to the left.  Pretty easy.

Just outside the restroom, I stop.  Ooh, ah…..there’s another butterfly.  I cross my legs again and snap a few more photos.  Deep in thought, I quickly run into the restroom on the right, pick the first stall, put the toilet seat down and ahhh….relief.  Hum, I wonder, “Why was the toilet seat up?  Cleaning was hours ago”.  And just as my eyes got big with disbelief, I hear a man’s voice, then a second one.  “Oh no, I didn’t?”

Oh yes, I did.  I find myself in the Men’s Restroom.  The women’s restroom is on the right when accessing from the pool area BUT on the left when entering from the street.  Oops!Butterfly

Oh my gosh, what do I do now?  I scooch my obviously female, painted toed feet back in an attempt to hide them.  I really don’t want to be discovered.  It crosses my mind to step out, politely excuse myself, and admit my blunder profusely apologizing, but the camera slung over my shoulder screams otherwise.  “You couldn’t bring the pocket camera today, could you?”

RV ParkWell as it happens, I picked the stall at the end giving me a good visual of most of the toilet and shower area.  I peer between the stall door.  I see one of the men at the end who had just come from the pool and was preparing to take a shower.  Oh, no, no, no … not take off your pants, please.  Thank goodness he entered the shower stall with swim trucks on.

Then the other guy walks toward a toilet stall.  I quickly back toward the wall wondering if I should stand on the toilet seat so my feet are not seen.  Oh dear… long will I be stuck in here?  With both men behind doors, I do a final scan between the panels before bolting out of there.

With heart pounding, head down, I don’t slow my pace or look back until I’m well away from the restroom, not knowing and frankly not caring if anyone saw me bolt. 

I have my camera slung over my neck and am reminded of some of the other shots I was hoping to capture today.  There’s these really cute gazebos in the pool area and the lighting is perfect.

I walk back to the pool area, put my hand on the gate….I can’t go in.  What if someone saw me running out of the men’s room with the camera?  My mind runs rampant…..  “There she is.  Catch that women.  She was taking photos in the men’s room”.  Oh the shame!  I have two more months scheduled at this RV Park.  I envision the whispers and pointing fingers as if I’m wearing a scarlet letter; V for violator.

No, the desire to photograph anything is long gone.  I rush back to the safety of my RV with every intent of not telling a single soul about what just happened. 

Shhhhh…..please don’t tell anyone.RV Park