The Butterfly Pavilion is an outstanding invertebrate zoo, home to hundreds of insect species. It’s located just fifteen minutes north of downtown Denver in Westminster, on the on the corner of 104th Avenue and Westminster Blvd.
It’s home to both a butterfly pavilion and insect center. Guests can access the zoo every day of the year, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Westminster residents with a valid ID receive discounted admission.
It was founded in 1995 as the first stand-alone non-profit invertebrate zoo in the whole country. The large zoo encompasses 30,000 square feet on an 11 acre landscape. It aims to be the leading research, conservation and education institution on earth for invertebrates. Through entertaining and educating they hope the public will understand the necessity of preserving the threatened habitats in the tropics and around the world.
These six exhibits are open year round and included in general admission.
Survival – This highlights earth’s smallest residents, how they fight, feed, hide and move. They use their unique bodies to their advantage, exceeding all expectations.
Invertebrate World – It has a wide range of invertebrates from all corners of the earth are shown. Guests will get a chance to hold some of the animals at the Dug Out. The Discover Corner allows you to build structures in a fun play area. Other sections include Extreme Animals, No Bone Zone and Science Spot.
Outdoor Gardens & Nature Trail – Well managed gardens are built to attract butterflies and beneficial insects, during all their life stages. From May to October the flowers provide nectar to butterflies. In addition to carefully selected plant specifies that help the invertebrates, the gardens are home to drought-tolerant, sunny perennials. Watch the tiny local animals in action on an outdoor nature hike.
Water’s Edge – This exhibit showcases the world of underwater invertebrates. These dependent animals range in size from tiny shrimps to giant squid. They offer a touch tank, which is just like a petting zoo, except with sea stars, hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs in Atlantic and Pacific Ocean tide pools.
Wings of the Tropics – This vibrant, tropical observatory is home to 1,600 butterflies, from the earth’s various rainforests. It covers 7,200 square foot and creates rainforest environment that’s has more than 200 plant species. In addition to butterflies, you’ll find turtles, fish, and other warm, moist-loving creatures. Each week they buy 600-1000 butterfly chrysalids from rainforest farms, which contributes $80,000 annually to sustainable farms in endangered ecosystems.
Butterflies at Chatfield – Chatfield Farms houses a unique, seasonal butterfly house, with local species. They include native wallowtails, monarchs, mourning cloaks and painted ladies, as well as 50 indigenous plant species. Another 20 non-native plants were chosen for their butterfly nectar quality. It’s run through a partnership with the Denver Botanic Gardens. It’s open daily from May 27th through September 24th.
Fun events are held throughout the year, like rainforest yoga, spring camps and cub scout days. You can view the full calendar online.
Address: 6252 W 104th Ave, Westminster, CO 80020
Season: Year round