This Blue Morpho Butterfly Is Just One Of The Amazing Residents At The Butterfly Conservatory.
The air is warm and humid, lush green tropical plants abound. A waterfall roars somewhere in the distance, and most of all you're surrounded by swirling, beautiful butterflies, butterflies, everywhere!
It's a tropical paradise, but it's in a most unexpected place, just north of Buffalo in Niagara Falls, Ontario! Cheryl Tyndall is the conservatory's Curator. "Any organization or any company that believes in nature and preserving nature, you want to make sure that you have the ability to educate your guests on the diversity that's out there in the world, so having a tropical display house in Ontario of this magnitude, it's just an excellent way for people to come and see what's out there in the rest of the world that they may not have the opportunity to travel and see."
Your experience at the Butterfly Conservatory is nothing short of amazing! It's very interactive, you may be here to look at the butterflies, but some might stop and take a look at you, too! Tyndall says, "You're walking amongst them, you can walk up to a flower and watch them feeding, they'll flit by you, and some will land on your neck or your head or your arms, and tickle your skin, it's fun! I've been here for sixteen years and I love it!"
Butterflies have a very short life span, usually no more than several weeks from egg to adult. The Conservatory must import thousands of insects a week to keep the population up. The butterflies are brought in from around world, and who they're imported from is just as important as the insects being imported.
The Curator explains, "All the farms we import from, we make sure they return a certain percentage to the environment, their mandate is preservation as well, so it mirrors what we like to do here. The butterflies come in from Costa Rica, El Salvador, the Phillipines, Australia, as I mentioned earlier, and we import something between 1,000-1,200 butterflies a week."
The Conservatory also raises about 40%of their butterflies on site, and that provides another fascinating attraction. In the "Emergence Room" visitors can actually watch as the adult insects emerge from their chrysalis to take wing and fly into the dome's teeming environment.
They're hung in a window, a nice big glass window that they can see them hanging, they can see the diversity of the different types of chrysalis, the various colors, shapes and sizes, so that they all blend into their own natural environments for protection, and I like to tell visitors the prime time to see butterflies emerging is the morning, so if you're a morning person, that's when you'll see most of our butterflies emerge."
"A trip to the Butterfly Conservatory is a rare opportunity to commune with life that has inspired artists and poets alike., life that perhaps we humans can relate to a little more than we think."
They're also inspirational in that they go through a metamorphosis. Says Tyndall, "So they're once a caterpillar, maybe not so pretty, and then all of a sudden they're this gorgeous butterfly, and it's kind of something we can relate to, it's our growth. We start off young, naïve and crawling, and pretty soon as we grow into adults and experience life, we're flying. And that's really that's what we all want to do, we want to fly at the end of our life."
The Butterfly Conservatory is open year round, and it's a great place for both young and old ! For more information, visit the Niagara Parks website at www.niagaraparks.com.