Owls and Orchids - An Annual Event at Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House
A little, cute, Screech OwlClick thumbnail to view full-size
A Great Horned OwlClick thumbnail to view full-size
What is Owls and Orchids?
Owls and Orchids is the name of a wonderful annual event that is located in Chesterfield Missouri. There are actual owls you can see, every Tuesday night in the month of October. Before I go into more detail about that, I want to make it very clear that if you can't come in October, the rest of the year the conservatory is open and there are often special events not all that different from the Owls and Orchids.
Owls and Orchids in October, focuses primarily on Owls, Owl Butterflies, and an amazing array of orchid flowers. It is truly incredible and very worth your time if you can in any way get out to see it! The orchids alone, are fantastic displays of natures beauty. I am blown away at the different kinds and they are like miniature works of art, each and every one.
To the right, here, you see a Great Horned Owl, which is native to Missouri. His name is Coal, and he was amazing to see. He has a wonderful survival story as his egg was found underneath a coal conveyor belt. All of these owls have a story of rescue, I believe.
A Beautiful European Barn OwlClick thumbnail to view full-size
Owl Butterflies.Click thumbnail to view full-size
What You will See at the Owls and Orchids Month Long Event
When you go to the Butterfly House on an average day in October, you will for sure see some of the 1000 owl butterflies flying around in the amazingly beautiful conservatory. There will actually be approximately 2000 butterflies flying around at any one time, but half will be the owl butterflies.
There are up to four different types of owl butterflies flying around at that time, so you will want to keep an eye out for each of them! Along with these amazing, large, beautiful butterflies, you will also see an array of orchids. The butterflies love the orchids, and I find it so beautiful to see them alight onto these flowers. It's sometimes hard to capture them with my camera when they do that, but not impossible!
Humidity and temperature are of course controlled to maintain this very tropical habitat for these butterflies from across the world. You can usually see all there is to see in about an hour and a half, but I like to allow for more time, because you never know what you will find there.
You will see butterflies feeding on multiple food sources, flying around, laying eggs, etc. If you go out to door toward the back of the building, you will see the native garden made especially to attract the multiple butterflies found in Missouri and the Midwest USA in general. This is a lovely garden, and changes with the seasons. I could spend a lot of time just out there!
They have an education room where kids can learn more, as well as a 17 minute long movie on the life cycle of the butterfly. There are scientists there, to ask questions to if desired. The people there really seem to love their jobs. There is literature and books for sale along with many other items including post cards, in the Madame Butterfly Gift Shop there.
Every Tuesday evening, from 4:30-7pm, you can see actual owls at the Butterfly house, along with other exhibits. These owls are incredible! I was able to capture some with my camera, and the pictures don't do them justice. They are simply amazing. I was overwhelmed by their beauty and the amount of information that I learned about them.
A Tawny OwwlClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Inside or Top of an Owls Wings
Owl and Other ButterfliesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Some Interesting Facts about Owl Butterflies
This event was held in the dusk hours, for a very particular reason. The owl butterflies are the most active in the dusk hours, or the hour right before day break. As the sun is rising and finally setting and almost dark, they feel the safest. This is because birds that want to eat them fly in the daytime, or at night. So when its fully light or fully dark, they are up for grabs, as a meal!
I have seen these butterflies in the day, several times now. This was my second time seeing them at dusk. They do what is called, "storming." They get very active and fly around like crazy. They are not small either! They will land on you, a lot. So if there are kids or anyone that likes to have a butterfly alight onto you, this is a great opportunity! Tuesday evenings during the month of October, it is open, as I stated before. You will never see the butterfly house quite in this state, I was told. Meaning, it is literally almost like a wonderland of butterflies flying all around you. Because they are large, you can sense them landing on your head, or back, anywhere. You want to make sure to not "swat" at them, like you would a bug!
With the four different species of owl butterflies they have for this even, and how active they get, it is simply amazing, something to not miss! Notice that in some of the pictures, you see the owl butterflies with their wings open, as opposed to how they are during the day. During the days, they like to be on the trunks of trees, showing their infamous owl "eye spot." This is in hopes they scare the hungry predators away, and they can just eat when it's a bit safer.
Have you ever seen a Great horned owl, tawny owl, European Barn owl, or Screech Owl?
Other Things to Do While in Faust Park
The Butterfly house is located in Faust Park in Chesterfield Missouri. So while at the butterfly house, consider visiting the large Carousel practically next door. There is also a very nice playground with a restroom, nearby.
There are some neat nature trails to hike as well, and areas to picnic around a pond. There are many local birds and garden areas as well throughout. I love the variety of trees this park has, its really neat.
The Butterfly house is very close to one of the big local highways in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. So if you get to go there, consider the many other neat attractions in St. Louis. The staff has been helpful in the past to our family, with ideas of where to go, and even provided a little book on some attractions in the area.
Various OrchidsClick thumbnail to view full-size
An Owl Butterfly on an Orchid Flower
Do you like orchids?
Hours, Prices, etc for Owls and Orchids
During The Sophia M. Sachs butterfly conservatory is open everyday but Monday. There is a small fee but several discounts available. If you live in the area, every first Tuesday of the month is free to St. Louis City residents. The price for adults is five dollars, seniors pay five dollars, children are 3 dollars. There are group rates, and multiple other ways to get discounts like Triple A discounts, Drury Inn, Military, etc. My favorite way to afford this and the botanical garden prices is to get a membership that pays for itself very quickly. It is beautiful any time of the year to visit, but especially during the fall season.
Map to the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House
The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly house is located within Faust Park, which has many other things to do. Definitely worth a visit!
© 2014 Paula