The Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is made up of three parts, the Conservatory, Learning Center, and Gallery.
The Conservatory is where the butterflies and live plants are housed and considered the main attraction. This area is very warm and kept at 85 degrees with 80% humidity. Visitors can stroll through tropical flora and waterfalls, view anywhere from 50-60 different butterfly species and relax on benches and watch the serene views. All of the butterflies in the conservatory come from tropical butterfly farms where they are bred in captivity where they are sent to the conservatory when they are in the chrysalis stage.
The largest butterflies in the conservatory are the Owl butterflies that can reach a wingspan of 11 inches. None of the butterflies in the conservatory can bite or sting and while most butterflies only live about 10 days, those in the conservatory can live as long as 3 months. Most of the butterflies feed on pollen and flower nectar but there are also feeding stations set up that allow the insects to feed on rotting fruit and refuse as well. Visitors will also be able to see the Atlas moth when in season, with a wing span of up to 12 inches, making it the largest in the world.
The best time of day to see the most active butterflies is in the morning when they are warming their wings in the sun and feeding however, butterflies are active throughout the day and at various times. Some butterflies, like the owl, are more active in the evenings when the others start to roost. Most moths are nocturnal and fly mostly at night. Some rules you should be aware of when visiting the conservatory:
· Do not touch the butterflies, plants or birds
· Children under 16 must be with an adult
· Cell phones must be off
· Voices must be quiet
· Do not run
· No eating or drinking
· No strollers
· Do not brush off butterflies that land on you Photo: Irina Schmidt/Fotolia
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