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Butterfly Exhibits

Butterfly World
Coconut Creek, Florida, USA

All-A-Flutter Butterfly Farm
High Point, North Carolina, USA

La Guácima Butterfly Farm
La Guácima, Alajuela, Costa Rica

     

Sitting on three acres inside Tradewinds Park South in this manicured Fort Lauderdale suburb, Butterfly World reigns as the largest butterfly zoo in the US as well as the first butterfly exhibit in the Americas, having opened its doors in 1988. Butterfly Lady has visited this premier venue many times since the early 1990s and always leaves uplifted and refreshed on each occasion. A bonus attraction is the charming hummingbird exhibit, housed in a separate outdoor enclosure after passing through the large screened-in butterfly flight rooms. Next time you are in the Miami area, a side trip to Coconut Creek, which bills itself as the “Butterfly Capital of the World,” is highly recommended. It’s easy to get to from anywhere in south Florida. The zoo is conveniently located south of Sample Road between Interstate 95 and the Florida Turnpike.

Though simple in design and function, the rural All-A-Flutter Butterfly Farm located in North Carolina’s Triad region creates a delightful encounter where visitors, including children of all ages, are actually encouraged to feed butterflies with provided cotton pads soaked in sugar water. Specializing in the rearing of popular Monarchs, this working butterfly farm, with its easy-going charm, is one of Butterfly Lady’s choice weekend destinations. Husband-and-wife team Tim and Donna Pless stage an entertaining outdoor presentation that involves kids from the audience. They get to star in the production by dressing up in caterpillar and butterfly costumes to whimsically teach the four-stage life-cycle. Open to the public Saturday mornings (presentation starts at 10) from mid-April to early October. Book weekdays for groups of 20 or more.

A visit to La Guácima Butterfly Farm (pronounced lah WHAH-see-mah) was the highlight of our trip to Costa Rica in summer 2008. The guided tour is well-presented and includes a 20-minute video in English (or other major language, upon request), a leisurely pass through the multi-tiered flight cage and an exciting behind-the-scenes look at butterfly farming and chrysalis brokerage operations. Many of the world’s butterfly houses in Europe, North America and elsewhere are supplied by this farm and its network of nearly 100 Costa Rican butterfly farmers. What most pleased Butterfly Lady, however, was to sit on a gentle slope very near the outdoor gardens seen above and experience the thrill of dozens of wild tropical butterflies and a pair of hummingbirds nectaring on mounds of flowers throughout the afternoon.

 

Huntsville Botanical
Garden Butterfly House
Huntsville, Alabama, USA

Living Conservatory at NC
Museum of Natural Sciences
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Sophia M. Sachs
Butterfly House

Chesterfield, Missouri, USA

Tucked behind the natural-stone façade of the Anderson Nature Center amid sprawling and gracious landscape lies one of northern Alabama’s secret treasures. Billed as “the nation’s largest seasonal butterfly house”—it’s open May through September—the Huntsville Botanical Garden Butterfly House showcases butterfly species native to North America such as Gulf Fritillary, Red Admiral, Julia, Giant Swallowtail and the ever-graceful-in-flight Zebra Heliconian. A waterfall with a stream and series of ponds play host to more than just winged creatures. Be sure to keep your eyes open for button quail, tadpoles and frogs, tree frogs and turtles while moseying through the aviary. Admission to the botanical garden with its acres of trees, shrubs and flowers includes entrance to the butterflies. If desired, you could take a picnic and easily make a day of it.

Replicating a dry tropical forest of Latin America, complete with turtles, a three-toed sloth and, of course, lots of colorful butterflies, the Living Conservatory at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences occupies an unlikely space: part of the fourth floor of a modern building in downtown Raleigh, a mere two blocks from the historic antebellum Capitol. One of many permanent exhibits on display in this awe-inspiring museum, you’ll want to plan several hours to explore it all. On the same floor as the butterflies, discover the Arthropod Zoo with crustaceans, barnacles, lobsters, millipedes and spiders; the Naturalist Center for hands-on investigation of specimens and objects; and the Acro Café where you can grab a snack, or sandwich and drink or a hot meal to savor while watching the butterflies next to the dining area. Free admission.

Just west of Saint Louis, a mile or so north of Interstate 64, an 8,000-square-foot indoor pavilion, known as the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, beckons in Faust Park at Chesterfield with its hundreds of glass panels, evoking a modern Crystal Palace. When we visited in summer 2007, the soaring 36-foot-tall flight room was absolutely alive with thousands of butterflies. (“Four thousand plus,” we were told.) As fun as it was to chase butterflies through lush foliage and flowers, it was less dizzying to observe Blue Morphos, Owls and many dozen other tropical species from the vantage of a bench as they literally swirled by. Yes, they were that thick! Next time you’re in the neighborhood, don’t miss it. Be sure to take in the outdoor gardens as well. We observed scores of native butterflies in the wild by strolling through beautifully landscaped grounds and sculptures.

For a comprehensive directory of butterfly conservatories, exhibits and zoos around the world, search the membership of the International Association of Butterfly Exhibitors & Suppliers.


Enjoy the Butterflies!
 
 
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Information current as of Wednesday, 21 May 2014