Imagine a colourful, magical world full of butterflies and that is what you’ll find at Niagara Park’s Butterfly Conservatory. Located 10 minutes from Niagara Falls on the grounds of Niagara Park’s Botanical Gardens. The Butterfly Conservatory opened in 1996 and at 11,000 square feet is North America’s largest glass-enclosed Butterfly Conservatory. Here you’ll find 45 species and anywhere from 2,000 to 2,500 butterflies at anytime.
Upon entering there is an exhibit showcasing caterpillars and other exhibits with information about butterflies, the difference between them and moths, their life cycle and much more. Then threw the doors leads you to a lush tropical rainforest paradise with thousands of colourful and beautiful butterflies flying free among the visitors. A path winds around the butterfly world by a pond, a gorgeous waterfall and feeding stations filled with fresh fruit for hungry butterflies. I recommend a tour through and then relaxing on one of the many benches to stop and take it all in and try to count how many different ones you can spot. I was amazed by the varying shapes and sizes and colour variations and loved watching the iconic blue morphos flying with glimpses of their brilliant blue, knowing as soon as they land that blue will be hidden between its brown spotted outer wings. My friend and I were ecstatic when one of these landed on us, I was shocked to feel the weight of it’s abdomen, it was huge and I learned later that it was most likely a female as they tend to have larger abdomens then males. It intrigued me when I thought of it walking across my hand, I wondered what I taste like, knowing butterflies can taste with their feet. Strange.
An interesting exhibit with the Butterfly Conservatory is the Emergence Window where staff place their pupae behind a window full of holes so that visitors can literally see the stages of a butterflies birth from the pupae to hanging upside-down with limp, wet wings waiting to dry out and then be strong enough to prepare to take their first flight and enter the conservatory threw the holes. It was amazing to see this life cycle.
To spend a couple hours in paradise was refreshing! The Butterfly Conservatory is open year round. So, if you’re looking to escape the coming cooler temperatures then a visit to Niagara Park’s Butterfly Conservatory is a must.
- Life spans range from a few days to migratory generations of Monarchs that can live 6 to 8 months, with the average being 2 to 3 weeks.
- There is a moth called Vampire moth from Asia that can puncture skin and suck blood.
- Monarch butterflies migrate 4500 km in 6 weeks.
- Butterflies can see above, below, even behind themselves. Their eyes are among the most intricate vision systems known.
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