Located in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, the Victoria Butterfly Gardens are a wildlife zoological park and nature reserve showcasing a variety of butterfly, insect, bird, reptile, and amphibian species in natural indoor and outdoor environments. In 2013, the Victoria Butterfly Gardens underwent significant renovation, including the construction of an environmentally-friendly roof and the painting of a new jungle-themed motif throughout the facility.
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In 2016, a new exhibit, the Insectarium, was added to the facility. In recognition for their ongoing environmental conservation efforts, the Gardens were certified as a Green-level facility in 2017 by the Vancouver Island Green Certification program.
Permanent Attractions and Animals
Today, the Victoria Butterfly Gardens are home to more than 6,000 butterflies of 70 different species at any given time throughout the attraction’s operating season. In addition to butterflies, the Gardens house a number of insects, birds, tortoises, iguanas, geckos, fish, and frogs, as well as over 200 species of tropical plants. The Garden’s entrance exhibit is its new Insectarium which highlights insects and invertebrates from all over the globe, including a full colony of leaf cutter ants. The main floor of the Garden’s exhibits are located directly past the Insectarium, with displays arranged around the facility’s central open spaces. Throughout the garden, butterflies and birds fly freely overhead. A central pond area and nearby tributary streams feeding into it are populated by fish species, including carp and koi, as well as several species of turtles and ducks.At the Emerging Window exhibit, visitors can see butterflies that are new to the garden and ones that will be released during the operating week. Butterflies may also be observed feeding at the the garden’s Butterfly Alley, which is filled with fruit trays and live nectar plants, and at the Feeding Butterflies area, which offers live plants for free feeding.
The Gardens showcase several larger animal habitats in addition to butterfly exhibits. In the Red Footed Tortoises habitat, South American tortoises growing up to 30 centimeters in size may be viewed. Conures, a species of medium-sized parrots, are showcased at the facility’s Conure Cove exhibit. Two Caribbean flamingos may be observed at Flamingo Pond, while the Jewels of the Rainforest display features several species of poison dart frogs. Other exhibits focus on other species of insects and invertebrates, including an Atlas Moth habitat that showcases atlas moths, the world’s largest species of moth, and a Caterpillar Corner habitat, which is home to various species of caterpillar. A display of Carnivorous Plants allows visitors to get an up-close look at plant species, such as the pitcher plant, that rely on insects for their food. A display area featuring Epiphytes also teaches visitors about varieties of non-parasitic plants that grow on other plants as support structures.
Other plants and animals throughout the Gardens include the facility’s largest parrot, Shadow, a gold and blue Macaw, as well as the garden’s Vanilla Orchidplant, an example of one the most expensive spices on earth. The Garden’s Pink Chenille plant, a tropical species from Malaysia that provides food for the white tree nymph butterfly, is also showcased. Though admission to the facility is free and open to the public, a Community Corner station near the facility’s exit collects proceeds for rotating local charities.
Ongoing Programs and Events
The Victoria Butterfly Gardens are committed to environmental conscientiousness. This commitment is displayed in initiatives such as the Garden’s animal sourcing policy, which mandates that all of the animals featured at the Gardens are animals that have been adopted, rescued, or donated. Before being accepted, animals are screened to ensure they will thrive within the Garden’s environment. The garden has also decreased its reliance on imported butterflies and now reproduces most of its butterfly population in house, which reduces shipping and packing waste and allows visitors to observe the entire butterfly life cycle. Additionally, the Gardens is committed to biological pest control and does not introduce any chemical elements into the garden for pest population maintenance. Instead, the Gardens rely on natural predators, such as other insects or small button quails, to control populations of potentially harmful insects.
The Gardens have a strong commitment to engagement with the Vancouver Island community and frequently partner with local nonprofits and charities for events for fundraising efforts. Past partners have included the British Columbia Foundation, the Victoria Hospice, and the Our Place Society. Every month, donations from the facility’s Community Corner are given to a different local nonprofit organization. Throughout the year, the Gardens offers a variety of public special events, including a large yearly festive Christmas display and a Halloween pumpkin carving and arachnids event, and showcases rotating seasonal decor related to holiday themes.
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1461 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay, BC V8M 1J5, Canada, Phone: 250-652-3822