JAX Sponsors Butterfly Pavilion's Interactive Colorado Backyard ExhibitPosted by Julia Reinisch, Contributor | 04.07.2019
Kids playing with the virtual river at the Butterfly Pavilion's Colorado Backyard exhibit
Greeting guests with a “Bugs Rule, Vertebrates Drool” sign, the Butterfly Pavilion’s newest exhibit, Colorado Backyard, celebrates animals found in your everyday Colorado backyard. The space features indoor play structures, live animals, rotating exhibit space, and a virtual reality experience. The exhibit opened to the public on March 23rd, and since then has already attracted more than 15,000 visitors.
"Bugs Only" play area with slide
Before opening the exhibit, the Butterfly Pavilion reached out to local organizations for support, including JAX, a local outdoor gear and ranch and home supplies retailer. “Colorado Backyard is all about connecting guests to the rich and diverse life that surrounds us,” explained Russ Pecoraro, vice president of marketing and communications at the Butterfly Pavilion. “No organization embodies that outdoor spirit better than JAX.”
Kids "fishing" in the JAX canoe at the Butterfly Pavilion
JAX donated life jackets and fishing poles to the Colorado Backyard Exhibit
JAX contributed as a major sponsor of the exhibit, but didn’t stop there. Providing youth and adult life jackets as well as fishing poles to accompany a display canoe, the local Colorado company saw an opportunity to support the big picture goal of the exhibit.
“One of our main goals at JAX is to help families get outdoors to explore and discover nature,” said Susan Quinlan, the conservation manager at JAX. “We are very excited to sponsor The Butterfly Pavilion’s new Colorado Backyard exhibit because this play-themed area offers a great place for kids to have fun while also learning about the outdoors and some of the fascinating invertebrates that live right around us.”
A father and son explore the rotating exhibit area at the Butterfly Pavilion
While designing the new exhibit, the Butterfly Pavilion started by reaching out to their members, asking, ‘What are you looking for in an exhibit?’ According to Pecoraro, the feedback provided a clear direction. “Our guests told us that they wanted a larger play area and that we do a great job exhibiting the wonders of the tropics, but they wanted to learn more about the invertebrates in their own backyard. Also, there aren’t too many exhibits that focus on Colorado, and we felt that this kind of exhibit would really set us apart.”
Kids can "pledge" to contribute positively to the outdoors
Drawing upon inspiration from exhibits across the nation, the Colorado Backyard exhibit caters to the needs of young families. In addition to the main interactive play area with a miniature RV camper, virtual reality river, and prairie dog town, the exhibit hosts a “Tikes Peak” toddler-friendly area, a convenient and comfortable nursing room for mothers, and a calming low-sensory area for kids who need a break from the action.
Tikes Peak toddler play area at the Colorado Backyard exhibit
Artist's Wall featuring photography from local contributors
Completing the exhibit’s atmosphere is a surrounding natural landscape mural painted by a local Denver artist, Tom Ward.
For Susan Quinlan, sponsoring the exhibit was a no-brainer for JAX. “The Butterfly Pavilion is an international leader in research and conservation of these ecologically important, but often overlooked animals,” added Quinlan. “We’re proud to be a part of their efforts toward local conservation and education.”
JAX plaque featured on Butterfly Pavilion's exhibit donor wall
The Butterfly Pavilion is known for being the world’s leading Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited invertebrate zoo, featuring over 5,000 invertebrates found around the globe. It was also the first stand-alone nonprofit insect zoo in the United States. Looking toward the future, the institution plans to break ground on a new facility in 2022.
The Colorado Backyard exhibit will remain a feature at the Butterfly Pavilion until the end of the year.
Learn more about visiting the Colorado Backyard exhibit at the Butterfly Pavilion.