Westminster, CO has quite a lot to offer, especially for people who like to spend time outdoors. One of the top attractions of the city is its Butterfly Pavilion with more than 1,500 free flying butterflies, with some species all the way from Australia. Standley Lake Regional Park offers a wide range of activities, such as kayaking, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, and much more. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center
The Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center in Westminster, Colorado aims to change the way that people typically think about insects, as well as provide guests with a chance to see a wide variety and large number of butterflies as they fly freely around them. The Butterfly Pavilion is the first stand-alone, non-profit, Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited insectarium in Colorado, as well as a leader in invertebrate connection, inspiration, and knowledge. The Wings of the Tropics exhibit features more than two hundred species of plants and countless butterflies from throughout the world in a climate-controlled conservatory measuring 7, 200 square feet.
6252 W. 104th Ave, Westminster, CO 80020, Phone: 303-469-5441
2.Big Dry Creek Trail
The Big Dry Creek Trail offers an array of activities for visitors and locals alike throughout the year. The point-to-point, 11.7-mile trail often has a moderate amount of traffic between Broomfield and Westminster, Colorado and passes a lake along the way. The trail is a great way to spend the day outdoors as it is a good trail for all ages and skill levels. Dogs are allowed on the Big Dry Creek Trail as long as they are kept on a leash. The trail is a good way to explore some of Denver’s northwestern suburbs and runs from Standley Lake to I-25.
10455 Sheridan Blvd, Westminster, CO 80020-4135
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3.Standley Lake Regional Park
The Standley Lake Regional Park acts as both a facility for storing water and a multi-use recreational park. It provides the supply of drinking water for Westminster, Thornton, and Northglenn, Colorado. The lake itself, Standley Lake, spans across more than one thousand acres and is the largest body of water in the city, and the third largest reservoir in the metropolitan area of Denver. While Standley Lake Regional Park offers a variety of activities, such as wildlife viewing, camping, bicycling, hiking, and more, the lake provides opportunities for paddling, fishing, and power boating with a permit.
Simms St & W 100th Ave, Westminster, CO 80021, Phone: 303-425-1097
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4.Westminster Center Park
© LOA Architecture
Westminster Center Park is a manicured, well-maintained, ten-acre city park that features a play area, an amphitheater, and an obelisk at the center. The grounds include water features, a whimsical playground, a walking trail, a plaza, and an expansive grassy area for playing lolling about. One of the park’s water features was designed to evoke the appearance of the River Thames in London. A blue ribbon meanders along the concrete and include a number of pop jet fountains. The playground at Westminster Center Park is modeled after Neverland, leading to the name of “Peter Pan Park” by the locals.
4801 W 92nd Ave, Westminster, CO 80031, Phone: 303-658-2400
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© City of Westminster, Colorado
The Bell Tower of Westminster, Colorado is located at City Hall and forms a connection between the city of Westminster in the United States and Westminster, England. In 1988, the city in Colorado topped the bell tower, which stands at fourteen stories tall, with pyramid-shaped structure made out of steel mesh. The 130-feet-tall spire inspires nearly everything in Westminster, from the city slogans to the city logo, as well as hundred of people who have attempted to climb to the top. The Westminster City Hall Bell Tower has now become a landmark of the community with an English oak from Westminster, England.
4800 W 92nd Ave, Westminster, CO 80031, Phone: 303-658-2400
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6.The Greg Mastriona Golf Courses at Hyland Hills
© The Greg Mastriona Golf Courses at Hyland Hills
The Greg Mastriona Golf Courses at Hyland Hills is a highly acclaimed golf facility in Westminster, Colorado. The Gold Course is the golf course facility’s only eighteen-hole golf course. It first opened back in 1959 and was designed by Frank Hummel. The landscape along the Gold Course at the Greg Mastriona Golf Courses at Hyland Hills is hilly with seven ponds that together create a stunning atmosphere for golfers to enjoy, as well as challenging water hazards near eleven of the holes. The most picturesque views can be found at the 12th hole with beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains.
9650 Sheridan Blvd, Westminster, CO 80031, Phone: 303-428-6526
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7.The Frightmare Compound
The Frightmare Compound, founded in the year 1983, was the first haunted house to open in the metropolitan area of Denver. Brad Holder obsessively created the scariest haunted house in Colorado for more than sixteen years before he died of illness. It’s said that he is buried somewhere in the horror house in the deepest caverns. The Halloween horror house has now become a bit of a legend due to its authentic roots. The property caters towards people who crave the feeling of panic, weakness, and utter fear that comes with exploring a truly scary haunted house.
10798 Yukon St, Westminster, CO 80021, Phone: 303-467-2273
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© GQue BBQ
GQue Championship BBQ serves competition-style barbeque to the Westminster community and surrounding area. The barbeque served here is smoked in-house every day and includes chicken wings, ribs, pork, turkey, jalapeno cheddar sausage, turkey, and USDA Prime brisket. The restaurant is the only barbeque restaurant in the state of Colorado that offers championship-winning barbeque and takes influences from throughout the United States to develop its own unique barbeque style. Along with the smoked meat, GQue BBQ offers desserts, traditional homemade side dishes with a twist, and a variety of both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, including wines, bourbons and craft beers.
5160 W. 120th Ave, Westminster, CO 80020, Phone: 303-379-9205
9.Early Bird Restaurant
© Early Bird Restaurant
The Early Bird Restaurant strives to be approachable, responsible, and sustainable with a menu created with family and friends in mind. Everything on the menu is made from scratch as the owners and staff at the restaurant aim to make everyone feel like family. One of the Early Bird Restaurant’s priorities is offering healthy, original breakfast and brunch fare with a focus on using the freshest ingredients to create flavorful yet modest breakfast and lunch dishes. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 7:00am until 2:30pm. Early Bird brings a chef-run, world-class establishment to Westminster.
11940 Bradburn Blvd, Westminster, CO 80031, Phone: 303-469-9641
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10.Cracovia Polish Restaurant
© Cracovia Polish Restaurant
The Cracovia Polish Restaurant and Bar is a local family-owned and run restaurant in Westminster that prides itself on being Colorado’s most authentic restaurant serving Polish-American cuisine. Only the highest quality of ingredients are used the dishes served at Cracovia, ensuring that each and every dish features the warmth from a home-cooked traditional meal. The Polish food served at Cracovia Polish Restaurant features a savory and bold blend of spices and herbs paired with only freshest ingredients. The owners act as the restaurant’s executive chefs and came from Poland over twenty-five years ago with more than twenty years of experience in cooking.
8121 W 94th Ave, Westminster, CO 80021, Phone: 303-484-9388
10 Best Things to Do in Westminster, Colorado
- Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center, Photo: merrimonc/stock.adobe.com
- Big Dry Creek Trail, Photo: jcomp/stock.adobe.com
- Standley Lake Regional Park, Photo: merrimonc/stock.adobe.com
- Westminster Center Park, Photo: LOA Architecture
- Bell Tower, Photo: City of Westminster, Colorado
- The Greg Mastriona Golf Courses at Hyland Hills, Photo: The Greg Mastriona Golf Courses at Hyland Hills
- The Frightmare Compound, Photo: nito/stock.adobe.com
- GQue BBQ, Photo: GQue BBQ
- Early Bird Restaurant, Photo: Early Bird Restaurant
- Cracovia Polish Restaurant, Photo: Cracovia Polish Restaurant
- Cover Photo: Kit Leong/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center
Located in Westminster, Colorado, the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center is the only standalone nonprofit zoo for insect invertebrates in the United States, situated on an 11-acre facility featuring exhibit areas dedicated to butterflies, bees, and other native and non-native invertebrate species. The history of the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center dates back to 1990, when the Rocky Mountain Butterfly Consortium was founded for the purposes of opening a butterfly pavilion for the public in the Westminster area.
Five years later, in July of 1995, the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center facility was opened to the public as the first nonprofit invertebrate zoo facility in the United States. The following year, it became a part of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, and in 1997, the facility launched its mobile zoo Bugmobile program, offering educational outreach to more than 20,000 annual area students. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, a number of new exhibits and buildings were added to the facility, including an amphitheater and an educational facility with four classrooms. In 2008, the facility was part of the NASA program “Butterflies and Spiders in Space,” with curatorial department manager Mary Ann Hamilton serving as a major project consultant.
Permanent Exhibits and Attractions
Today, the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center encompasses 30,000 square feet of exhibit space on an 11-acre site donated by the City of Westminster. The zoo is home to more than 5,000 invertebrate animals, including bees, butterflies, and a variety of native and non-native insect species. As a public nonprofit organization overseen by a board of directors, the Butterfly Pavilion is supported by visitor admission fees and public funding sources, including corporate sponsorship. As the facility imports non-native insect species for its habitats, it is also overseen by the USDA.
Five exhibit areas are featured within the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center, including its flagship exhibit, the Wings of the Tropics rainforest butterfly habitat. The 7,000-square-foot conservatory features more than 1,200 butterflies, with more than 500 chrisalides hatching every week. Visitors can observe hatchings as part of Butterfly Encounters and explore more than 200 native plant species grown within tropical rainforest environments, along with fish, turtles, and other tropical species.
At the Crawl-A-See-Em exhibit, visitors can observe a variety of arthropod species in three international habitat areas, including tarantulas, beetles, scorpions, and millipedes. Rosie, a Chilean rose hair tarantula, serves as the exhibit’s mascot and may be held by visitors. The Water’s Edge exhibit focuses on invertebrate species from the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, offering tide pool touch experiences with sea stars, horseshoe crabs, and other aquatic animals. An Invertebrate World exhibit features a dugout exploration area dedicated to extreme animals such as the desert long-legged ant and the prize-fighting peacock mantis shrimp, along with a No Bone Zone exhibit, a Science Spot presentation area, and a Backyard Bugs children’s playscape. An outdoor garden area, the Dee Lidvall Discovery Garden, also offers a butterfly garden and xeriscape garden, featuring plants such as pincushion flowers, nicotiana, hardy ice plants, lavender, and yarrow. Located outside the Pavilion near Big Dry Creek, the zoo’s ½-mile Nature Trail also offers a chance to see native Colorado insects, prairie dogs, and birds of prey.
Ongoing Programs and Education
Group tours of the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center are offered daily for groups of 10 or more participants, offering group reservation times and interaction with educators within every exhibit space. Field trip opportunities are also offered for elementary and secondary student groups, including scouting groups. 45-minute field trip classes focus on a variety of nature topics, from ecosystem exploration to species diversity. Distance learning programs are offered, bringing zoo insects and resources directly into the classroom. A variety of daily educational programming is also offered for young visitors through the Spineless Spotlights program, including storytime opportunities, an interactive game show, nature trail treks, and live coral feedings.
During the summer months and on school days throughout the year that public schools are closed, Butterfly Pavilion Camps are offered for students ages 5-10, led by the zoo’s educational teams. Art, drama, and play concepts are incorporated into exploration of the natural world during camp workshops. A variety of adult programming is also offered, including a beekeeping bootcamp, a rainforest yoga group, and a Science Talk lecture series. Annual public special events include a Living Lights holiday event, held from mid-December through mid-January. A number of conservation programs are also led by the facility, including the PACE Initiative, which seeks to increase pollinator awareness and restore natural habitats.
6252 W 104th Ave, Westminster, CO 80020, Phone: 303-469-5441
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