Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center

Westminster, Colorado

Reviewed by Yuh-Wen Seah

The Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center concentrates on butterflies, insects and sea invertebrates. The building is divided into 3 sections. The first section is dedicated to all types of insects except butterflies. The second section is about sea invertebrates and the last section is a butterfly farm.

I found that the Butterfly Pavilion caters to visitors of all ages, from babies to seniors. It is a good place for a family who has a few hours or a whole day to spare. There are exhibits with enough information to inform and entertain adults and children old enough to read. There are also many hands-on exhibits that will keep the younger children entertained. The live insects at the Pavilion will intrigue everyone.

In the butterfly farm, one can sit on the benches and hope that a butterfly will land on or close to them. There is a very colorful pamphlet with pictures of all the butterflies in the farm that one can buy. You can use this pamphlet to identify the butterflies that you see in the farm.

I think that the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center has done a very good job in providing educational and entertainment value to its visitors. The information provided is insightful and not too overwhelming. There is enough information to gain an understanding of the subject. The information given is easy to understand and use every day language that caters to both children and adults.

The most interesting exhibit at the Pavilion is the one where you can hold a tarantula in your hand. I saw many children standing in line waiting their turn. Once you have held the tarantula, you get a sticker that says that you did it. It was a great way to get the children (and adults) interested and entertained (figure 1).

figure 1

In the insect room, there are glass display cases with beetles mounted in them and information on the number of beetles in the world, the different types and the sexual differences in beetles of the same species (figure 2). There are also terrariums in the room that contain live insects. There are scorpions, spiders, cockroaches, centipedes, beetles, insects local to Colorado and insects that use camouflage such as the leaf insect (figure 3). There are also mounted arachnids to demonstrate the enormous sizes they can grow to (figure 4).

On the way to the sea invertebrate room, there is a beautiful display describing the metamorphosis of insects (figure 5, below). In the sea invertebrate room, there is a big sign that explains why they are in the Insect Center (figure 6). Here, visitors can touch live sea invertebrates like clams and sea stars. There are also seashells and corals that can be touched and viewed through a magnifying glass (figure 7). In one corner, there are microscopes and slides of invertebrates found in lakes, rivers and seas (figure 8).

figure 5

In the Butterfly farm, there is a lot of information on how a farm is managed, how butterflies emerge from a chrysalis and why there are no caterpillars in the farm (figure 9). There are also many beautiful butterflies fluttering about in the farm. This is by far the most interesting section of the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center.