Hot and Cool: Fort Collins Inside Adventures

Hissing Cockroaches Fort Collins Museum of Discovery; Photo by Tim Van Schmidt

Tim Van Schmidt

The recent spate of ninety-degree heat — and more! — had me searching for indoor adventures when recently entertaining a young guest.

I know, we’re all supposed to be looking for outdoor activities due to lingering virus concerns, but when that sun starts blazing, skin cancer isn’t the ticket either.

Zebra Longwing at the Butterfly House Gardens on Spring Creek; Photo by Tim Van Schmidt

Stop one was to The Gardens on Spring Creek, specifically for the Butterfly House. My guest is just buggy about bugs and butterflies in particular. This was like a slice of heaven for him.

But let’s not say that visiting the Butterfly House, an indoor attraction, is cool. It’s “cool” in terms of being an awesome experience, but the house itself is pretty warm and apparently, the butterflies like it that way.

Think of the Butterfly House as one big terrarium, full of plants and the soothing, silent flutter of hundreds of small wings. Their colors are stunning, their constant motion somehow exhilarating.

We got to visit some of the outside gardens — it’s an 18-acre site in all — but those will mostly have to wait for another time. (I also can’t wait to see the great jazzman Herbie Hancock at The Gardens in September.) But this time was all about the butterflies and we went back in for a second session in the Butterfly House before leaving.

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery; Photo by Tim Van Schmidt

Stop two with my guest was to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, first of all, to look at the bugs, frogs, and critters that inhabit a living specimen area, but then to tour the whole museum, looking at, well, everything. There are a lot of interactive activities to do.

We tried the piano pulley, played drums in the garage, checked out the wildlife displays, designed stuff at a building station, shot water cannons to make wheels spin, and blew fans to make a wall full of metal discs gently waver in the breeze.

Currently, the Discovery Museum is hosting a special Smithsonian exhibit titled “Life in One Cubic Foot” that “explores life from environments around the world” by posing the question: How much life can you find in one cubic foot of water or soil in one single day? It continues until September 5.

I forgot all about the hot sun while inside the museum. And the museum had so much to do that we forgot to visit the gift shop as we exited — that’ll wait until another time too. Outside, the temperature was climbing, but what we saw in the Butterfly House and the Discovery Museum was certainly cool.

Tim Van Schmidt is a writer and photographer based in Fort Collins. Explore his channel on YouTube at “Time Capsules by Tim Van Schmidt.”


Support Northern Colorado Journalism

Show your support for North Forty News by helping us produce more content. It's a kind and simple gesture that will help us continue to bring more content to you.

BONUS - Donors get a link in their receipt to sign up for our once-per-week instant text messaging alert. Get your e-copy of North Forty News the moment it is released!

Click to Donate