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 .
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.
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.
Being 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.
This 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.
I 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.
Moving 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.
Then 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.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?
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.
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 🙂
Stokes Butterfly Book : The Complete Guide to Butterfly Gardening, Identification, and Behavior