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Visit a Butterfly Garden

Updated on July 15, 2023
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Exploring new places can be great fun especially when it's something a little different. When I find something interesting, I love to share

Blue Morpho Costa Rica
Blue Morpho Costa Rica | Source

Learn About Metamorphosis, A True Circle of Life

Whether they are called butterfly gardens, butterfly pavilions or butterfly sanctuaries; they are great places to visit.

My first experience visiting a butterfly pavilion was sponsored by The Chelsea Botanical Gardens in Norwich, Connecticut. It is set up temporarily, for several days in a greenhouse of a local nursery. It is a fund raiser to establish a permanent botanical garden.

Monarchs, painted ladies, red admirals and black swallowtails floated about as I walked through the butterfly attracting plants. Indeed, some are quite friendly and alight upon their human visitors. Volunteers used lamb's wool dusters to gently brush the butterflies off the visitors before they exited the pavilion.

Near the entrance was a display, showing the stages of the butterfly metamorphosis. There were pupa in various stages of becoming butterflies. I have since visited another butterfly garden, and it had a similar arrangement.

It's a great photo opportunity and a fascinating experience for adults as well as children.

There are increasingly more butterfly conservatories in the United States and other countries

Have you ever visited one?

See results

A Caterpillar's Metamorphosis Into A Butterfly - A Butterfly Life Cycle

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License | Source

Life Cycle of a Butterfly

Here is a chart that simplifies the process.

An adult female butterfly lays eggs.

Eggs hatch into a caterpillar or larva.

The caterpillar, when fully grown, stops eating and becomes a pupa (for some species of butterflies the pupa is called a chrysalis).

Inside the pupa, changes are happening and butterfly parts are growing.

Eventually, the butterfly will emerge, mate, and the female will lays eggs. The whole process will start all over again.

Watch a video of the amazing transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly - An assortment of life cycle videos

View the time enhanced photos showing the progress from egg to caterpillar to butterfly.

Some pavilions are temporary such as the first one I visited. Quite a few botanical gardens and zoos now have permanent butterfly gardens and there are private ones as well.

Some charge a fee or ask for a donation, some are free.

Searching the internet for "butterfly pavilion", "butterfly habitat" or "butterfly conservatory" and your location might yield some;

"Butterfly garden" is tricky as you have to sift through all the gardening advice for setting up a backyard butterfly garden.

My recent trip to a Costa Rican Butterfly Pavilion in Guapiles - Part of Selva Tropical restaurant and free

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Living butterflies at the entrance to butterfly garden - very human-likeBlue Morpho butterfly when openedBlue Morpho butterfly when closed -- eating pineapple.Closed Blue MorphoZebra butterflyOwl butterfly when opened.Owl butterfly when closedBlue morpho
Living butterflies at the entrance to butterfly garden - very human-like
Living butterflies at the entrance to butterfly garden - very human-like | Source
Blue Morpho butterfly when opened
Blue Morpho butterfly when opened | Source
Blue Morpho butterfly when closed -- eating pineapple.
Blue Morpho butterfly when closed -- eating pineapple. | Source
Closed Blue Morpho
Closed Blue Morpho | Source
Zebra butterfly
Zebra butterfly | Source
Owl butterfly when opened.
Owl butterfly when opened. | Source
Owl butterfly when closed
Owl butterfly when closed | Source
Blue morpho
Blue morpho | Source

The butterfly pavilion in Guapiles, Costa Rica was permanent. Plants and trees were rooted rather than in temporary pots.

They had a large display of developing pupa along the side.

Admission was free as it was part of the Selva Tropical restaurant.

The Owl Butterfly Side By Side With a Sunda Owl - Fooling its predators by posing as an owl is this butterfly's claim to fame

Sunda Owl and Owl Butterfly
Sunda Owl and Owl Butterfly | Source

The owl butterfly is so named as it appears to have owl eyes when opened.

Speculation is that, the opened butterfly survives by being mistaken, by its predators, as an owl.

What do you think, does the owl butterfly look like an owl?

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Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy

Bird Feeding in Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy
Bird Feeding in Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy | Source

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy, Key West, Florida

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy. It is one of the biggest and most complete that I have visited so far.

The photograph above shows a little bird feeding. There are colorful little birds hopping and flying all around. I asked one of the attendants if the birds eat the butterflies and I was told they never do. I found that interesting.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Ellen Gregory


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