Exploring the Butterfly Pavilion in Colorado


This one-of-a-kind attraction allows guests to walk through a tropical paradise filled with free-flying butterflies and experience interactive exhibits highlighting insects, arthropods, and invertebrates.

With its focus on conservation, education, inspiration, and interactive experiences, Butterfly Pavilion offers an unforgettable adventure for nature lovers of all ages.


  • Butterfly Pavilion contains a tropical conservatory with over 1,600 free-flying butterflies and moths.
  • Interactive exhibits feature insects, arthropods, and invertebrates from around the world.
  • Educational programs emphasize conservation, inspiration, and hands-on learning.

Key Attractions at Butterfly Pavilion

The crown jewel of Butterfly Pavilion is the 8,000-square-foot glass conservatory filled with lush vegetation, trickling waterfalls, and hundreds of vibrant butterflies from Costa Rica, the Philippines, Malaysia, and other equatorial locations. Visitors can leisurely meander along the path to spot butterflies feeding, resting, or fluttering by. When the outdoor temperatures drop, the conservatory allows guests to experience the tropics year-round.

In addition to the tropical conservatory, the Butterfly Pavilion houses innovative exhibits like the Crawl-A-See-Um arthropod exhibit, which displays insects, spiders, and crustaceans from around the world. Guests can get up close to observe these creatures and even touch some docile species. Other exhibits feature interactive elements like microscopes to study butterfly wings, pupae, and eggs while learning about metamorphosis and the butterfly lifecycle.

Cultural Highlights in Westminster, Colorado

In tandem with Butterfly Pavilion’s natural wonders, the local Westminster area also offers an array of cultural attractions. The Westminster Promenade outdoor shopping district hosts events like the annual Butterfly Pavilion Pollinator Festival each June. Visitors can enjoy local artisans, cuisine, crafts, and musical performances while celebrating the importance of pollinators.

Westminster’s rich Latino heritage also shines through in events like the annual Day of the Dead celebrations. Butterfly Pavilion embraces these cultural festivities through artistic ofrenda installations honoring the migration monarch butterflies make each winter to Mexico.

Natural Wonders in Butterfly Pavilion’s Backyard

Butterfly Pavilion sits on the outskirts of the Rocky Mountain Foothills, providing easy access to an abundance of natural attractions. The facility features native Colorado pollinator gardens showcasing flowers that have co-evolved with local butterflies and bees. These gardens demonstrate sustainable gardening techniques for guests to replicate at home.

Nearby open space parks and nature preserves protect shortgrass prairie habitats filled with wildflowers, raptors, songbirds, foxes, and butterflies. These open spaces offer an escape into nature, with hiking trails perfect for butterfly-watching during the spring and summer months.

Local Cuisine in Westminster

Westminster’s thriving Latino community brings mouthwatering Mexican cuisine to the area. Family-owned taquerias and carnicerias offer authentic dishes to fuel up for a day exploring Butterfly Pavilion. Traditional favorites like tamales, pozole, and menudo satisfy on a cold Colorado day, while lighter options like ceviche and fish tacos hit the spot during summer months.

In addition to Mexican fare, Butterfly Pavilion’s on-site cafe offers nutritious bites and refreshing drinks to enjoy while witnessing the beauty of free-flying butterflies over lunch. Menu items incorporate local, organic ingredients whenever possible to reduce environmental impact.

Cultural Events Celebrating Tradition

Butterfly Pavilion embraces cultural celebrations of Latin American heritage with events like the Day of the Dead festivities each fall. Colorful ofrendas adorned with marigolds, papel picado, and monarch butterflies honor deceased loved ones. Guests can observe traditional Aztec dancers, sample pan de muerto, and participate in arts and crafts celebrating the holiday.

The annual Pollinator Festival held each June also celebrates the rich diversity of Latin American culture through artisans, food, and entertainment. This family-friendly event raises awareness about declining pollinator populations while highlighting how communities can protect these vital species.

Community Interactions with Local Partners

Butterfly Pavilion prioritizes community engagement through partnerships with local schools, non-profits, and businesses. Collaborations with groups like the Boys and Girls Clubs bring underserved students to the facility for science education, combining classroom concepts with interactive experiments. Partnerships with the Denver Botanic Gardens and other cultural centers also foster the exchange of knowledge regarding conservation initiatives, educational programming, and cultural celebrations.

Insectarium Exhibits Showcase Biodiversity

In addition to free-flying butterflies, Butterfly Pavilion houses innovative insectarium exhibits displaying fascinating arthropods and invertebrates from across the globe. These creatures play vital ecological roles like decomposition, pest control, pollination, and food sources for wildlife.

Interactive displays allow guests to get eye-level with giant animatronic insects while learning about their adaptations and habitats. For brave visitors, docent-led animal encounters provide the opportunity to touch exotic insects like giant millipedes or hissing cockroaches. These exhibits inspire appreciation for often misunderstood creatures.

Pollinator Gardens Foster Sustainable Gardening

Butterfly Pavilion’s on-site pollinator gardens incorporate sustainable gardening techniques to support populations of bees, butterflies, birds and other wildlife. Native flowering plants, water features, and shelter provide essential habitat for local species needing places to feed, breed, and take cover.

These chemical-free gardens demonstrate how guests can replicate wildlife-friendly spaces at home through plant selection, landscape design, and organic maintenance practices. Pollinator gardens encourage biodiversity critical for vibrant, healthy ecosystems that sustain both human and environmental communities.

Hands-On Science Exhibits Boost Engagement

Butterfly Pavilion takes learning beyond textbooks through interactive science exhibits that foster curiosity and critical thinking. Guests can examine butterfly wings under microscopes to better understand complex structures that produce iridescent colors or allow long-distance migration. Chrysalis emergence chambers allow children to witness metamorphosis firsthand as butterflies transform from caterpillars.

By providing opportunities to touch, study, and question, these hands-on exhibits boost engagement and comprehension of scientific concepts. Visitors gain a meaningful understanding of ecology by experiencing natural phenomena up close. Combining science with inspiration nurtures future generations of conservationists.

Springtime Exhibits Showcase Seasonal Species

The tropical conservatory at Butterfly Pavilion allows guests to experience the vibrant colors of equatorial butterflies year-round. However, spring brings an influx of temperate species to the outdoor pollinator gardens as wild populations migrate through Colorado. Local favorites like mourning cloaks, cabbage whites, and wood nymphs arrive to take advantage of wildflower blooms.

Rotating exhibits highlight these seasonal species by displaying native chrysalides and caterpillars while providing microscopes for studying intricate wing patterns. Guests can venture into the gardens with checklists to search for arriving butterflies and observe courtship behaviors critical for breeding the next generation. These seasonal exhibits connect visitors with the natural rhythms underlying the lifecycles of native pollinators.

Butterfly Releases Boost Conservation

Butterfly Pavilion further supports global insect conservation through butterfly releases at weddings, memorial services, and other ceremonial events. Guests can sponsor the metamorphosis of butterflies that are later released during meaningful occasions. This symbolic gesture spotlights the fragile beauty and interconnectedness of all life while funding research and education programs protecting pollinators worldwide.

These intimate events can incorporate spiritual readings, poetry, or music as individuals set butterflies aloft to represent transformation, hope, and new beginnings. By directly involving guests in conservation efforts, butterfly releases inspire personal actions to protect habitats and biodiversity.

Seasonal Events Foster Exploration

Beyond the tropical conservatory and indoor exhibits, Butterfly Pavilion hosts special seasonal events to showcase local biodiversity. During summer months, guided nature hikes explore nearby open spaces to witness native wildflowers, birds, foxes, and butterflies that dwell within the shortgrass prairie ecosystem.

The Westminster Promenade also partners to present annual events like the Butterfly Pavilion Pollinator Festival. This family-friendly gathering includes conservation booths, gardening demonstrations, arts and crafts, and live music celebrating pollinators. Seasonal happenings encourage guests to further explore Westminster’s natural habitats and cultural attractions.

Butterfly Species Identification Guides

With over 1,600 butterflies from around the world, Butterfly Pavilion provides helpful identification guides so visitors can learn to recognize different species. Colorful signs correspond to numbered waypoints on the conservatory path, highlighting fun facts about each butterfly’s adaptations, habitat, and life cycle. Guests can test their knowledge by searching for specific species marked on interpretive signs.

Docent staff also offer butterfly identification assistance during daily Meet the Keeper talks inside the tropical conservatory. Visitors can inquire about shimmering blue morphos or striking red flame butterflies to satisfy curiosity about the diverse species that call the Butterfly Pavilion home.

Lepidoptera Habitats Across the Globe

In addition to the lush on-site conservatory, the Butterfly Pavilion highlights the diverse natural habitats required to sustain butterflies, moths, and skippers in the order Lepidoptera. Exhibits showcase tropical rainforests, cloud forests, and temperate meadows from around the globe that provide essential places for Lepidoptera species to feed, breed, and take shelter.

With deforestation and development threatening these fragile ecosystems, the exhibits emphasize each person’s role in habitat conservation. An immersive butterfly emergence experience allows guests to step inside a tropical habitat filled with sights, sounds and smells that inspire a connection with endangered environments needing protection.

Indoor Rainforest Adventures Transport Visitors

Butterfly Pavilion’s tropical conservatory strives to accurately emulate the heat, humidity, and lush vegetation of equatorial rainforests where their butterflies originate. Lush tropical plants tower overhead while the aroma of soil and blossoms fill the air. The sound of water tumbling over rock waterfalls adds to the immersion.

By replicating these rainforest habitats, the Butterfly Pavilion provides an escape from Colorado’s long winters while emphasizing the constant interconnection between climate, plants, animals, and insects that maintain vibrant rainforest ecosystems. This behind-the-scenes look inspires visitors to protect delicate habitats that sustain the planet’s biodiversity.

Sustainable Gardening Promotes Eco-Friendly Practices

Butterfly Pavilion promotes sustainable gardening through its on-site pollinator gardens that require no pesticides or chemical fertilizers. These wildlife havens provide shelter and nutrition for local and migratory pollinator species that support healthy ecosystems.

Gardening demonstrations teach visitors eco-friendly practices to support butterflies, bees, and birds back home. These sustainable techniques include water conservation through rain barrels, plant selection to provide blooms spring through fall, and mulching to build healthy soil. By inspiring earth-friendly gardening, Butterfly Pavilion empowers visitors to directly aid habitat conservation in their own backyards.

Eco-Friendly Attractions Promote Responsible Tourism

Butterfly Pavilion prioritizes sustainable operations to reduce environmental impact. Energy-efficient LED lightbulbs, robust recycling programs, and eco-friendly merchandise made from recycled materials demonstrate an organizational commitment to responsible tourism. Visitors also play a role through actions like refilling water bottles at water stations, proper waste sorting, and respecting all living things during their experience.

Through its non-profit mission, Butterfly Pavilion allocates all revenue beyond operating expenses to international conservation and education programs protecting fragile ecosystems that sustain life’s diversity. This cycle of sustainable tourism allows visitors to directly support sustainability initiatives at home and across the globe.

Nature-Based Learning Activities Boost Scientific Literacy

Butterfly Pavilion provides interactive learning spaces that make science come alive through hands-on exploration of natural phenomena. Nature-based education boosts scientific literacy as children engage their curiosity through activities like studying metamorphosis, creating pollinator art projects, or searching for camouflaged insects in pollinator gardens.

By moving education beyond textbooks into dynamic spaces filled with living organisms, Butterfly Pavilion makes conservation personal for children and adults. Visitors can spread their wings through guided interactions with nature that lead to meaningful learning outcomes and environmentally responsible behaviors.


How can I get discounts on Butterfly Pavilion admission?

Butterfly Pavilion offers discounted rates for groups, military members, seniors over 65 years old, and children ages 3-12. Combination tickets with local partners like the Denver Botanic Gardens and Denver Zoo also provide bundle savings. Sign up for email newsletters to receive seasonal coupons and special offers.

What is the best time of day to visit the Butterfly Pavilion?

Mornings tend to be less crowded on weekdays, with many butterflies actively feeding. However, butterflies need warmth from the midday sun to fly, so afternoons provide more activity. Cooler months also limit flight, so summer and shoulder seasons allow for more observations of natural behaviors.

Are there restaurants near Butterfly Pavilion?

The on-site Pavilion Cafe offers fresh soups, sandwiches, salads, and snacks sourced from local suppliers. Nearby dining options include Latin American eateries, family-friendly cafes,


About the author

Shannon Persad

As a seasoned journalist and Colorado native, I bring a deep-rooted connection and comprehensive understanding of Colorado to my work at ReadyColorado.com. My appreciation for the state’s rich history, vibrant culture, and pressing environmental issues drives my commitment to exploring its evolving landscape—from the bustling urban centers to the tranquil mountain towns.