Butterfly Pavilion launches new holiday lights event

December 1, 2010 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment

 Denver – Holiday lights are even more festive when they fly, flutter and crawl, especially at the Butterfly Pavilion’s newest event, Living Lights, an indoor/outdoor holiday lights event illuminating some of nature’s most fascinating wonders – invertebrates (animals without backbones)!

Living Lights kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11 at the Butterfly Pavilion, located just 15 minutes from downtown Denver in Westminster. Living Lights, the only invertebrate-themed holiday lights display in Colorado, is sure to amaze children of all ages with its indoor exhibit enhancements, outdoor light displays, seasonal entertainment, educational activities, live animals, festive food and drinks, rainforest firefly lights, ice carving demonstrations, and so much more!

“This new event is a great opportunity for families to experience holiday lights with a twist,” says Patrick Tennyson, Butterfly Pavilion CEO/President. “You won’t see reindeer or snowmen, but you’ll see butterflies and dragonflies come alive, and oh, what an experience it is to see a 6-foot-tall Blue Morpho butterfly dance in the garden in the winter.” 

Living Lights runs nightly from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Dec. 11 through Dec. 19. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (65+)/Westminster residents, and $6 for children ages 2-12. Children one and under are free. HoloSpex glasses for viewing lights will be available for $2 each. More information is available at www.butterflies.org.

Living Lights will highlight the special relationship invertebrates, and more specifically insects, have with light through exhibit enhancements and new displays on fireflies and what insects “do” during the wintertime. The rainforest conservatory will feature firefly lights and a display explaining how the scales on butterfly wings refract light. 

The Crawl-a-See-Em exhibit will feature new animals on display, including Man-face bugs (Catacanthus incarnates), Atlas beetles (Chalcosoma atlas), Stag beetles (Odontolabis femoralis) and the brilliant metallic-green Rainbow Frog beetles (Sagra femorata). The exhibit will also have additional scorpions on display, which fluoresce under UV light (i.e. “black light”).

The Water’s Edge exhibit will feature special lighting that will emphasize new corals in the reef and Atlantic Ocean tanks as well as feature new additional Upside-down jellies (Cassiopea xamachana). The exhibit will also include a video on bioluminescence, the phenomenon when living organisms such as anglerfish, produce and emit light through a chemical reaction. The Legend of the Tarantula exhibit, which has been extended through Jan. 23, will include fun facts about arachnid adaptations to light and a video on carnivorous glowworms.  

Living Lights will also include outdoor light displays, such as the “dancing butterflies” display on the exterior of the building and the enchanted Discovery Garden where thousands of LED lights will illuminate larger-than-life insects and over 50 trees, shrubs and structures. Visitors will marvel as dragonflies appear as if they are taking off and ladybugs find resting places on grass, in this winter wonderland that will also feature intricate ice sculptures of insects. Live ice sculpting demonstrations will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 15 and Friday, Dec. 17.

While strolling through the Discovery Garden, visitors will be entertained by holiday carolers and musical groups, including the Pomona High School choir, the Horizon High School choir, Absoflutely, the Harmony choir, the Christ the King Episcopalian Church Hand bell choir, and many others. 

Families will also have the chance to make their own insect-themed paper luminary or glow-in-the-dark slime while learning about insects and their behaviors related to light. Seasonal snacks and beverages will also be available for purchase. Story time will convene nightly around the fire pit in the large gazebo in the Discovery Garden as well.

“You won’t want to miss this luminous event that will not only dazzle you, but teach you about the wonders of bugs,” says, Amber Kirchmer, Butterfly Pavilion Board member. “All proceeds benefit the Butterfly Pavilion’s educational programs and conservation projects.”

 Living Lights is funded in part by generous donors and sponsors, including KDVR Fox 31, Mix 100, Blazen Illuminations, Colorado Ice Sculptures, Dancing Cloud Photography, Little Kettle Korn, and the SCFD.


  • Indoor exhibit enhancements
  • New live animals on display
  • Outdoor light displays
  • Firefly lights in the rainforest conservatory
  • Intricate ice sculptures of insects
  • Live ice sculpting demonstrations on Dec. 15 and Dec. 17
  • HoloSpex glasses for viewing lights
  • Fire pit for story time
  • Craft projects for families
  • Glow-in-the-dark insect temporary tattoo station
  • Family photo opportunities
  • Gift shop holiday sale


Ticket Information

A Butterfly Pavilion membership is the best ticket price as members receive $2 off Living Lights general admission, and with the added value of a year’s worth of free entrance into invertebrate-themed exhibits and member-only events it’s a “best bet.” For more information on membership, please visit http://www.butterflies.org/membership/. For non-members, entrance into Living Lights is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (65+)/Westminster residents, and $6 for children ages 2-12. Children one and under are free. HoloSpex glasses for viewing lights will be available for $2 each.


Group Ticketing and Events

Business, church, school or leisure groups of 10 or more people can receive group rates for Living Lights. Visit www.butterflies.org or call 720-974-1869 to book a group reservation. Groups receive $2 off Living Lights general admission rates. All groups must pre-register and pay with one transaction. Make it a party and add a cocktail reception in the Butterfly Pavilion’s unforgettable event space. For more information on adding an event or reception, please email kortmeier@butterflies.org or call 720-974-1871.

About the Butterfly Pavilion

Living Lights is the Butterfly Pavilion’s newest holiday lights event. The Butterfly Pavilion, founded in 1995, is the only 501(c)3 nonprofit stand-alone invertebrate zoo in the nation dedicated to fostering an appreciation of butterflies and other invertebrates while educating the public about the need for conservation of threatened habitats in the tropics. With butterflies purchased from farmers in the tropics, the Butterfly Pavilion supports sustainable agriculture in rainforests worldwide, preventing deforestation and habitat loss. The Butterfly Pavilion features five immersive exhibits, including a rainforest filled with 1,600 free-flying tropical butterflies, and provides youth education programs, volunteer opportunities and lifelong learning to more than 275,000 visitors annually, both on and off-site.


About the SCFD

The Butterfly Pavilion is a Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) Tier II funded organization.  SCFD is metro Denver’s unique commitment to its art, cultural and scientific institutions.  A penny sales tax for every $10 purchase in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Jefferson, and northern Douglas Counties goes to support more than 300 non-profit organizations – from the smallest community groups to the largest regional museums.


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