Monday, March 30, 2015

8 Places to See Butterflies in the Midwest this Spring




After this winter, I know that we are all a bit anxious to leave the coats in the closets and enjoy a nice, warm summer wind. However, the weather has been quite stubborn this year and it still seems too good to be true that we are heading into warm weather. Fortunately, there are some butterfly havens throughout the Midwest where you can spend an afternoon imagining it is summer while enjoying the grace and beauty of butterflies. Here are some ideas:


Peggy Notebaert: The Judy Istock Butterfly Haven at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago has a lovely greenhouse full of 75 species of butterflies in a haven including tropical greenery, pools of water and flowers! There is a butterfly release daily at 2PM.

Milwaukee Public Museum: The Puelicher Butterfly Vivarium features a two story glass enclosure including a cascading waterfall! Hands-on activities and a lush, tropical environment will have you exploring while enjoying visits from butterflies!

Indianapolis Zoo: The butterflies have just returned to the Hilbert Conservatory at the Indianapolis Zoo. 40 species of butterflies will greet you and the kids will love an interactive station where they can build their own butterfly. Check schedule for release times.

Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens: Rockford, Illinois' Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens is ushering in spring with a visit from butterflies! The butterfly exhibit will be open through May 17 and includes other activities including fun butterfly-themed make it, take its for kids on weekends and days off as well as butterfly breakfasts. Check on the website for more details and info on registering for a butterfly breakfast.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park: Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI is full of butterfly fun each spring! Tropical butterflies fly in the tropical conservatory through April 30. This is the largest temporary butterfly exhibit in the nation. Check out the Butterfly Bungalow where you can see the butterflies emerge!

Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House : This butterfly house in Faust Park, Chesterfield, Missouri features 2,000 tropical butterflies in free flight representing 80 species. There is also an outdoor butterfly garden for warmer months. During the month of April, weekends will celebrate the insects that help make our gardens grow with activities like crafts, games, learning fun facts and more!

Reiman Gardens: The Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing in Ames, Iowa houses 800 live butterflies representing 80 species. The amazing glass structure actually resembles a butterfly wing itself!

Cleveland Botanical Gardens: The Glasshouse at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens features two different warm weather environments--one a-flutter with butterflies. Amphibians, reptiles and birds also live in The Glasshouse. Butterfly releases are daily and there also are chameleon feedings!

**If you visit, be sure to see if you have any reciprocal memberships with other botanic gardens, arboretums, etc. that you are a member of.**

**Updated 4/3/15.

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