Season 2

VICTORIA BUTTERFLY GARDENS

Bright, Beautiful and Bold

Victoria, British Columbia

by Susie Lee

VICTORIA BUTTERFLY GARDENS

When I walked inside the controlled tropical garden, I felt as though I had stepped into the tropics of the Amazon with the humidity, colorful flowers, fluttering butterflies, and sound of birds and of water trickling in the background. It was hard to ignore the two butterflies mating over a leaf as I walked through the door but they seemed oblivious to my presence. My butterfly guide for the day, Kurtis, gave me my first interesting fact: butterflies can mate for up to 24 hours…now that’s a long time! I guess time flies when you’re having fun!

This butterfly garden showcases hundreds of free-flying butterflies for visitors to enjoy. The garden also features an educational gallery: a live window display depicts the growth cycle of butterflies and moths in the nursery. Visitors are able to learn about a butterfly’s lifecycle and to observe its metamorphosis. If you are lucky enough to be present at the right moment, you may witness a butterfly emerge from its cocoon right before your eyes.

I was absolutely mesmerized by the beauty of the delicate creatures fluttering all around me. I was amazed by how close I was able to get to observe them as they were feeding on a piece of fruit. There is definitely something for everyone to see and learn here.

The butterfly garden was impressive, accommodating up to 70 species of butterflies, at all stages of development and in all shapes and sizes. To compliment the plethora of butterflies and add to the visitor experience, the ecosystem also has several varieties of fish, tropical plants, and birds. The tropical plants include orchids, carnivorous pitcher plants, banana trees, vanilla trees and papaya trees. Flamingos, and personalities 'Spike' the Peruvian Puna Ibis and 'Leo' the Orange Winged Amazon Parrot, add to the mix.


ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY

I was able to witness the largest moth in the world, the Atlas Moth as it emerged from its cocoon on the morning of my visit. This was a truly a rare sight as these moths can be in their cocoon for up to 5 years and only survive for 3-5 days! Their primary reason for living is to find a mate and reproduce. And then the life cycle begins all over again.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This adventure proved to be much more than I expected. I loved being surrounded by hundreds of delicate, fluttering, tropical butterflies and to observe them in their world. Even delicate creatures like butterflies play such a significant part in our ecosystem. Because they are fragile, their bodies are sensitive to climate change and pollution. They are a good indicator for us of what is changing in our environment and what native plants might be disappearing. There is more than meets the eye when it comes to these fragile insects.

FUN FACTS

  • Brightly colored butterfly wings serve as a warning to potential predators that the butterflies are poisonous
  • There are about 24,000 species of butterflies worldwide
  • The only continent on which butterflies are not found is Antarctica
  • Next to bees, butterflies are the second largest group of pollinators
  • The fastest flying butterfly is the Monarch, which was clocked 17 mph
  • A caterpillar grows at an astounding rate; becoming 27,000 times the size it was when it first emerged from its egg. In comparison, this rate of growth would be like a human baby weighing 9 pounds at birth reaching 243,000 pounds when fully grown!

PHOTO GALLERY

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Victoria Butterfly Gardens

1461 Benvenuto Ave
Brentwood Bay, British Columbia
Phone: 1 (877) 722-0272
www.butterflygardens.com

Comments  

 
+1 #1 ButterfliesPat Chan 2010-05-20 08:42
Beautiful and sharp butterfly pictures. I'm impressed with the images of mating butterflies!
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Episode 4 Guide:
Victoria

Click on any image below to visit and watch the video segment
Downtown Victoria
Downtown Victoria
Victoria Whale Watching
Victoria Whale Watching
Victoria Butterfly Gardens
Victoria Butterfly Gardens
Victoria Butchart Garden
Victoria Butchart Garden
Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
Victoria Hang Gliding
Victoria Hang Gliding

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