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A walk through the butterfly conservatory introduces the visitor to a world of grace and beauty. The constant mist creates a hazy habitat to support the lush green plants that are both food and home to the 1,200 butterfly inhabitants representing 50 species at any given time. If you stand still for a few minutes, a butterfly might land on you, but don’t try to pick up the butterflies--the oils on your hands contaminate their senses, interfering with their ability to find food. One display describes the differences among butterflies, moths, and skippers, and color charts help with identification.

In the “Crawl-A-See-Um,” meet arthropods (the scientific name for insects) that are native to Colorado, and see exotic species from around the world. A fascinating “touch cart” allows you to get up close to a cockroach or tarantula, assuming that you really want to. Also on the premises are a large gift shop and a snack bar. Outside, a .5-mile nature trail meanders amid cactuses and other desert-friendly plants. Allow 2 to 3 hours.