During my first trip down to the Chatfield CSA in late May to pick up my vegetable share, I was surprised and excited to see a new structure housing a butterfly garden at the Littleton location of the Denver Botanic Gardens. Curious to visit this new attraction, I rounded up my boys, a friend and headed down to check it out As a member, of the Denver Botanic Gardens, we paid the member admission price — $2 per child and $4 for adults. Because the new exhibit was currently low on butterflies, we were given wristbands for another visit.
As we entered the double doors of the pavilion, we were greeted by two young but knowledgeable butterfly keepers. The interior of the plastic covered dome revealed a beautiful flower garden, a nice path encircling the perimeter, informative exhibit signs and several monarch butterflies flying around. It was very interesting to be able to look through the opaque walls at the mountains, trees and clouds outside.
The boys were particularly interested to compare two specimens of a male and female monarch and learn to discern the difference. They also spent some time examining the shed housing the chrysalis — at 100 — due to hatch in the next week. The butterfly keeper, a recent Biology graduate of CSU, shared many interesting details about the development of the Butterfly Pavilion and the life cycle of the butterfly.
This wonderful exhibit is a must-do for families. The new exhibit opened in May and will be open through September. Although touring the Butterfly Pavilion is short, the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield offers a multitude of opportunities for a fun outing — hiking, a historic farm, a wooded play ground and vast array of naturalized gardens, a riparian area and much much more.