…Or at least it is at Butterfly Wonderland anyway!
We recently ventured over to the Butterfly Wonderland because I had heard it’s pretty cool. My only tattoo is of a butterfly on my ankle that I got at the fearless age of 18 or 19…so I clearly really like butterflies. Why wouldn’t I go to the place considered America’s Largest Butterfly Conservatory?
While there is also a mirror maze and laser maze that you can do, we only visited the Butterfly Wonderland and decided to save the others for another day. The ticket price is just a few dollars more to have a ticket that will get you in to all three. And, while I make sure to pass on places I love to my readers- I have to also be honest and will add this caveat: I think this spot is a tad overpriced by a few bucks. That doesn’t mean I didn’t really enjoy this place, because I did. I just left feeling like I was owed a little bit more after forking over $20 a person.
The money does support their efforts in education and conservation, so that’s a plus. And, their education programs assist Title 1 and low income students to help meet their science curriculum requirements, so that’s another plus of the cost.
My husband and I agreed that even if they just included the photo they take of you when you enter instead of trying to sell it to you at the end, it would have seemed more worth the cost. They are open from 9-5 daily and the pricing structure is:
Butterfly Wonderland (Only):
- $19.95 (ages 18-61)– If you’re over 61, I’m not sure what the cost is. Maybe it’s free? One can only hope.
- $17.95 (Students ages 13-17 or with a College ID)
- $12.95 (ages 3-12)
- Free: (age 2 and under)
- $2 discount for military with valid ID.
Combo Pass (Butterfly Wonderland, Mirror Maze, Laser Maze):
- $27.95 (ages 18-61)
- $25.95 (Students 13-17 or College ID)
- $19.95 (ages 3-12)
- Free (age 2 and under)
- $2 Military discount available here as well with proper ID.
Once you enter, you’re led down a hall showcasing preserved butterflies and it outlines fun facts about them, history, and the different species. I didn’t know that butterflies only live for two weeks on average (but tend to live longer here due to lack of predators). Like I was told when I was younger, make sure to learn something new every day! That was my “new” that day.
After that, you find yourself in a room where butterflies are constantly emerging from their cocoons into their new lives. One butterfly was still trying to figure out its wings while we were there. Some of these guys were huge for how brand new they were! I couldn’t believe the size of these things, honestly!
There is a 15-minute introductory 3D video before you finally enter the Butterfly sanctuary. You’re then escorted into a room where they remind you not to catch or step on butterflies before being launched into one large area-turned-outdoor butterfly haven. It’s a little humid in some areas but feels really nice and cool in others. There are a TON of different species of butterflies and you are bound to have one land on you or somewhere on a plant where it will stay put long enough for you to capture amazing photos of them. My favorite were these:
I had a couple butterflies land on my head and my husband had one just hanging out on his knee for a little while. You do have to watch where you step because they truly land wherever they want and the ground is a common spot. With so many butterflies (around 3,000), this is probably expected.
It was really difficult to capture the swarms of butterflies flying around in the air so instead I focused on the close up shots of the ones we found intriguing. There is even a spot with honeycomb and a colony of honey bees in order to naturally pollinate the atrium. The honeycomb was there but the bees were not at the time while we were there.
Once you’ve had your fill of butterflies, you have a couple more exhibits where you’re able to see desert dwellers… scorpions, a frog that looks like leaves, stingrays, a few sharks, and several species of fish. This part is neat but it seems oddly placed in a place dedicated to butterflies. Maybe I’m missing something. Still neat to see them and the kids seemed to really enjoy it all. That’s what matters, I suppose. 😉
Butterfly Wonderland also has an ongoing schedule of events that sound really awesome, actually. For example, you can go do yoga with the butterflies, learn how to get great photos on your cell phone, etc… at one of their classes.
All in all, we enjoyed ourselves and it seems like children really love the experience as well (though I caught one girl running to a butterfly on the ground who proclaimed, “I’m going to step on the butterfly”… I politely told her not to do that and she ran away to her mom. Oops. Maybe not my job but I saved the butterfly. SO- if your kids are apt to want to step on live creatures, maybe keep an extra cautious eye on them if you go).
One thing I found interesting is that they have bowls of fruit (mostly melons) laying around the sanctuary for the butterflies to feed off of. I didn’t realize they liked fruit so much! I admit, I thought they fed only on flowers–which we did see many of them doing. They also had plenty of water as there is a large water feature in the middle of the atrium that is stocked with Koi.
The Wonderland does allow for birthday parties (2 week advance reservation required) and there is an on-site cafe as well if you decide to really make a day of it and want to eat while you’re there as well.
Have you been to the Butterfly Wonderland or do you plan to go? I’d love to see your butterfly pictures if you get any awesome ones.
Have a great week!