Butterflies Live! returns to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Its spring! The flowers, trees and plants are in full bloom. Aside from pollen, weather change, time change and rain…it’s wonderful.
When the sun is shining, we see tiny little yellow and white butterflies flutter and bees pollenating the dandelions. Living in the city, we experience the delights of spring but we’re not fully immersed in it because of our urban surroundings.
(top image Great Morman Butterfly via Virginia Tourism Commission)
But at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, nature, and the beauty of spring, can be found on full display.
Currently in their ‘Million Blooms’ event, Lewis Ginter’s courtyard fountain is surrounded by yellow, orange, purple and pink tulips that coincide with the VMFA’s: Art of the Flower exhibit and it is also currently Historic Garden Week.
But The most exciting and unique event at the Gardens right now is ‘Butterflies LIVE!’ which started last Friday, April 17th, and will run through Sunday, October 11th. Over 100 different species of tropical butterflies from all over the world will be featured throughout the exhibit. Last Thursday they released 500 native butterflies and have been releasing tropical butterflies into their conservatory over the past several weeks.
Right now there are over 600 butterflies coming from Asia, Africa, North America and some Neo-Tropical specimens from Central and South America.
Leopard Lacewing (Cethosia cyane)
When the butterflies arrived to the gardens, they were all chrysalides (wrapped in their cocoon.) It usually takes a week or two for them to hatch, and as they hatch they are released into the conservatory. Lewis Ginter regularly receives new shipments and more and more butterflies are being released into the conservatory daily.
Butterfly curators are available to answer any questions people have about the butterflies.
“We try to educate children that they might land on them and if they do they wouldn’t sting them like a bee would,” said Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.
This is the fourth year of ‘Butterflies LIVE!’ at the gardens. The first year they had it was in 2005 at which point they only had native butterflies. In 2009, they received a grant which made them able to bring in tropical butterflies.
While in the exhibit, watch your step because there are little North American Buckeye butterflies all over the floor as they like to are attracted to mineral deposits in water pooling on the floor, a process called “puddling.”
Each butterfly has a specific plant or flower they need to nectar on and to lay their eggs, so there are tons of different plants and flowers in the conservatory as well. Some examples are the Flowering Almond Tree, Arabica Coffee plant and Lantana.
“It’s so specific, I mean, it’s kind of scary to think that if a certain plant were to be diminished or gone then the effect that that would have down the line,” said Beth Monroe, PR & Marketing Director at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. “That’s part of what were here to do is to talk about what the butterflies do as pollinators.”
It’s a really educational experience for both kids and adults. There are reading rails grouped by country that shows the photo, name and other facts about the different butterflies all around the perimeter of the conservatory.
The conservatory can’t dip below 70 degrees, that’s why the exhibit lasts until the middle of October just before it starts getting cold. So when the sun is out, the butterflies are more active and fluttering all around. When it’s cloudy they nectar or just hide out which makes it easier to get a good photo of them. (Make sure to use #Bflies on your Instagram and twitter!)
The water misters come on about every 15 minutes to keep the environment moist for the butterflies.
As for the butterflies, they come in all shapes, sizes and colors, like the Zebra Longwing. (pictured above via VA Tourism Commission)
“They go everything from Avocado Green to Teal to Turquoise to Bright Blue to Deep Purple, it depends on what angle the light is refracting on their scales,” said Matthew, a Butterfly Expert at the Exhibit.
The exhibit is open daily from 9-5. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for children, and free for children under 3 years old and free for members.
It’s open now until October, so you’ve got just over 5 months to see these gorgeous insects.
The Richmond Business Alliance (RBA), along with Equality Virginia and other Richmond area businesses, want to help you plan your wedding. Now we know, LGBTQ people can’t get married here in Virginia quite yet, but after yesterday’s Federal Hearing, it’s only a matter of time before the tide shifts. So what do we do until [...]May 14, 2014
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