Sunday, September 28, 2008

butterfly pavilion

adam had a conference up in big sky, MT this summer, so gracie and i took that opportunity to have a girls-only mini-vacation up in boulder, colorado. we were lucky enough to house-sit for a friend who was also at the same conference as adam, so we had the place all to ourselves! sweet!

we didn't do too much in boulder, mostly just visit a few people, go swimming at a friend's pool, and splash in the fountain on the pearl street mall. nice and chill.

but on the way back to colorado springs (where we spent most of the summer because that's where adam's parents live), we stopped at the butterfly pavilion in westminster. i had been meaning to check that place out for YEARS -- ever since we first moved to boulder in 2002! and it took moving abroad and having a baby before i finally got around to doing it! but, better late than never!

we had a nice morning of breakfast and a nap, and while she was sleeping i packed up the car. then we headed south about 30 minutes, armed with water bottles, a camera, and extra batteries.

we saw lots of things there -- cool GIANT bugs from the jungles of south america, sea creatures like horseshoe crabs and starfishes that you could pet in their tanks, but the best part of all was the butterfly atrium, which was hot and humid like a tropical rainforest. there were lots of butterflies still in their cocoons, tucked in a corner by a shady tree, and you could see them hatch if you stood there long enough.

there was a nature guide who brought out a cage full of newly-hatched butterflies, and she'd take them out one by one and tell us what type of butterfly it was, what it liked to eat, and what area of the world it comes from. then she'd gently set it on a tree and sometimes they'd fly away much to the delight of all the children watching her presentation.

a lot of the action was happening up high, in the canopy of the atrium, so gracie didn't see most of the butterflies. she still has a tendency to only look in front of her or down, but not so much up. but occasionally there would be a butterfly resting on a leaf at her level, and when we found one we'd stay there and study it until it flew away or until she lost interest, whichever happened first.

i think we stayed for a couple of hours before we left to get some lunch at panera. it was SO FUN to have a mommy-and-me day, with butterflies, sundresses, and even a lunch date! i loooove having a little girl!

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