Butterflies Now Cooler than Dinosaurs!
Families on vacation are choosing insects over dinosaurs. The bugs don’t have gnashing, man-eating teeth, but they do have their own appeal, including hairy legs, brightly colored wings, and even nasty-looking fangs.
Butterfly houses, the latest and greatest place to see insects, are all over the United States. We’ve narrowed down our favorites to these top three.
1. Westminster Colorado’s Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center is an easy trip from Denver International Airport. More than 1,600 butterflies, imported from all over the world, fly free around the paved paths of their conservatory. Visitors are treated to not just butterflies, but also to arachnids, a huge variety of other insects, marine invertebrates, fish and friendly turtles in the conservatory.
Their additional “Crawl-o-seum” is dedicated to all things multi-legged. Kids get a thrill and a free sticker when they hold Rosie, a Chilean Rosehair Tarantula. Parents who get goosebumps at the thought of bugs in the house can let the kids explore insects at the Pavilion instead. They can sharpen their observation skills by looking for animals in their native habitats, and find out what insect scientists are studying.
2. Few things are as beautiful as seeing a butterfly hatch. The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House near St. Louis, Missouri, has viewing windows filled with hundreds of chrysalis waiting to hatch and fly free in their tropical conservatory. Besides being host to over 2,000 butterflies, the tropical atmosphere also houses over 50 different tropical plants species.
Their exhibit hall hosts shows related to the earth and the insects it calls home. Right out the front door, kids climb all over a 30-foot long caterpillar sculpture and parents stand ready with their cameras for some great vacation photos.
3. The world’s largest temporary butterfly exhibit is housed at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Each spring the garden brings back the most popular Asian and South and Central American butterflies to fly free in their tropical conservatory. Like most butterfly houses and exhibits, they offer special activities for families each week in conjunction with the exhibit, including flashlight tours.
The conservatory provides close-up views of butterflies drinking nectar from flowers. Children giggle when a butterfly chooses to land on an odd nose or shoulder, and parents get the photo opportunity of a lifetime. The temperature inside a butterfly house remains between 70 and 78 degree Fahrenheit, year-round, making it a very popular place to visit during the cold, snowy winter months as well.
Unless you are in a butterfly house, you won’t find another way to get as close to butterflies and other insects. Up close and personal, a butterfly (and even a tarantula), can help make family vacations unforgettable.