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Creative Family Ideas in the Pacific Northwest

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Educational Family Visit to the Denver Butterfly Pavilion

If you see a butterfly out in nature don’t touch it! Trying to handle a butterfly can take days off its already short life. This is just one of the facts we learned at the Denver Butterfly Pavilion. We saw a variety of butterflies up close and we learned how to protect natural butterfly habitats. My daughter even had the chance to hold a tarantula!

The Butterfly Pavilion in Denver, Colorado is a great family destination to visit year round. This butterfly habitat features a Survival exhibit and a small ocean preservation area. The main exhibit, Wings of the Tropics, is a 7,200 square-foot tropical rainforest that’s home to countless butterflies and 200+ plant species from around the world. The Butterfly Pavilion is a great place to take kids to see some really cool insect species up close.

Educational Family Visit to the Denver Butterfly Pavilion

Meet Rosie the Tarantula

The first thing we saw at the Denver Butterfly Pavilion was the Survival exhibit. We had the chance to examine scorpions behind the glass, see some beetles, and my daughter held Rosie the tarantula. The Butterfly Pavilion exhibits allow kids to see nature up close, ask questions and learn through memorable experiences. My daughter said the tarantula ticked her hand.

Denver Butterfly Pavilion - holding Rosie the tarantula

Explore the Wings of the Tropics

The Wings of the Tropics rainforest habitat is such a cool place to walk around. My kids had fun following the pathways and discovering butterflies hidden among the plants and flowers. We also learned a thing or two about some of the butterfly species. The kids learned the basics; a butterfly starts off as a caterpillar and transforms into a butterfly when it emerges from its chrysalis.

The Butterfly Pavilion releases newly emerged butterflies into the rainforest sanctuary each day. We had the chance to see the daily butterfly release of 10 to 12 brand new butterflies.

Denver Butterfly Pavilion kids nature museum

The walking paths at the Denver Butterfly Pavilion are a kid-friendly place to explore and play a game of I-Spy. Kids will enjoy seeing butterflies sipping on orange slices and watching large and small butterflies flutter through the tropical foliage. The Butterfly Pavilion would be a great family destination to enjoy on a rainy day.

Denver Butterfly Pavilion - Wings of the Tropics exhibit

Learn Butterfly Trivia

We also learned a little about identifying butterflies. First, the most common butterfly type is the brush-footed butterfly, which includes more than 6,000 species.

Additionally, brush-footed butterflies are named for their smaller forelegs which are frequently hairy and resemble brushes. These butterflies have four functional walking legs and they drink nectar using a long built-in straw.

Denver Butterfly Pavilion - brush footed butterfly

Finally, some butterflies’ coloration mimics the conspicuous warning colors of other poisonous species as a defense tactic against predators.

The Denver Butterfly Pavilion is a great place to see butterflies up close

We were surprised to see butterflies that were not in great condition with tattered wings. We learned the average life span of a butterfly is relatively short. For example, many butterflies live for about one month and the smallest butterflies you may see in your yard often only live for one week. Monarchs are one of the few butterfly species that have an average life span of nine months.

At the Denver Butterfly Pavilion, we were advised not to touch the butterflies or encourage them to land on our hands. The guide said that touching a butterfly effectively shortens its lifespan by as much as 1 day per encounter with a human. Besides, a butterfly’s primary purpose is to emerge from its chrysalis, mate and lay eggs to create the next generation. Consequently, humans are one of their biggest threats.

Denver Butterfly Pavilion educational family visit

Discover Denver Butterfly Pavilion Surprises

The Denver Butterfly Pavilion offers many things to discover in addition to butterflies. We spotted a family of turtles lounging on some rocks. You can also enjoy the variety of plants and colorful flowers that grow in generous varieties in the warm temperatures.

Denver Butterfly Pavilion - family of turtles

We really enjoyed our visit to the Denver Butterfly Pavilion and we would go back again. This butterfly habitat receives butterflies from tropical “farms”, so their variety of butterfly species changes throughout the year. You never know which butterflies you’ll see during your next visit!

Fun family exhibits at the Denver Butterfly Pavilion


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