Butterfly Pavilion set to break ground on new facility in 2024

Focus now raising money for building twice the size of Westminster location

Luke Zarzecki
lzarzecki@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/9/22

The Butterfly Pavilion is in a good position to break ground on their new facility in 2024. So far in 2022, they secured $2 million in committed funds. 

“We are going really strong with …

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Butterfly Pavilion set to break ground on new facility in 2024

Focus now raising money for building twice the size of Westminster location

Posted

The Butterfly Pavilion is in a good position to break ground on its new facility in 2024. So far in 2022, they secured $2 million in committed funds. 

“We are going really strong with a hope of getting into schematic design either late this year or early next year, and then being able to break ground in 2024 with an opening in mid-2025,” said Janet McFarland Burlile, vice president of donor relations for the pavilion.

The Pavilion announced in 2017 that it would be leaving Westminster. After the pavilion became accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, they began a master planning process and came to the conclusion the current facility was not going to accommodate their long-term goals. 

The pavilion is the first Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited, stand-alone, non-profit invertebrate zoo in the world

“First and foremost, we're running out of space to serve the public as well as we would like to,” said McFarland Burlile. “We're usually full to capacity and really want to make sure that we're giving our guests the best experiences.” 

She also said their push for more research and conservation efforts also serves as a reason for the move. 

Some projects they are currently undertaking are restoring urban prairies to be more hospitable to pollinators, creating pollinator districts for more pollinator-friendly habitats and working with oil and gas companies to restore places they’ve worked. 

Internationally, the pavilion has projects in Sumatra, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia and Mongolia. 

With the projects and attendance, the building needed to be expanded. They found a new home at the intersection of I25 and Highway 7 in the Baseline development. 

McFarland Burlile said the development gifted the pavilion eight acres of land. The site is next to an Adams 12 Five Star Schools and a K through 12 STEM school. 

“That became very attractive to us because that would link us directly to the school and in working in partnership with them,” she said. “We're envisioning a facility where those kids are coming back and forth to a Butterfly Pavilion on a regular basis. They're working with us on research and conservation projects, they're interacting with the public and Butterfly Pavilion becomes part of their daily learning.”

As well, the City and County of Broomfield offered them $13 million to start off the project.

Many biomes under one roof

In total, the price tag of the project will be $55 million. As of May 23, the pavilion has secured or identified $24 million. 

The size of the building will more than double the 30,000 square feet current home. The new 81,000 square feet space will feature an ocean biome, desert biome, rainforest biome, labs, classrooms, event spaces and more. 

The new building will also feature an exhibit similar to Wings of the Tropics, where butterflies are flying about. That exhibit is currently only about 1.5 stories high, the new one will be five stories with a treehouse-like structure to be able to get a new perspective and have more species than just butterflies. 

“We want this to be very immersive,” McFarland Burlile said. 

Not only inside, but outside the new site will feature gardens and natural areas for kids to play and explore. 

“We have a little ways to go to break ground but we're making some great headway so far this year,” she said. 

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