My Trip to The Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory
I came here with my family to check out the conservatory. I was awed and amazed. Color was everywhere. It is a photographers dream. We walked through and spent almost four hours just taking photos. It was amazing. There was this one young boy he was wearing a bright yellow t-shirt. It seemed that the butterflies were attracted to this bright yellow t-shirt and they just covered him. As he walked they just followed him wherever he went. I was so amazed by the site that I (blush) missed a very good photo opportunity.
Butterflies – The Fairies Of The Insect World
There’s not a place on earth where there are no butterflies. The best place to find them are in the tropics. It is here where you will find the most varieties of shapes, sizes and colors. It’s sad that something so beautiful can have such a short lifespan. For the average butterfly life is 2-3 weeks. For the migrating butterfly they have about 6 months.
Butterflies feed in one of two ways. Most are nectar feeders while others feed on fruit juices. Nectar feeders have a long proboscis mouth (like a straw) to reach inside the flowers to drink their nectar. Butterflies that feed on fruit juices can be seen feeding off of rotting fruit. When you see trays of cut fruit left out it is to attract these types of butterflies.
You should never touch a butterfly’s wings. You know when you touch their wings you get a dusting on your fingers? Well that is because a butterfly’s wings are made up or covered with scales. It is the scales that come off on your hands.
It is these scales that make up the color and patterns on the body and wings of a butterfly. They layer like the shingles on a roof and provide weight and strength for the butterfly. If these scales were not there a butterfly could not fly.
The Colors and Patterns
As in most animal and insect species protection is the name of the game. That’s what the various colors and patterns are for. Many butterflies will use color and patterns to blend in with their environment. They will match the barks and flowers around them that they feed on. Other butterflies will use their bright colors to advertise that they will taste unpleasant if they are eaten. While others will have patterns that look like they have large eyes which gives the impression that they are bigger than they really are.
Niagara’s Butterfly Collection
Many of the butterflies are imported from butterfly farms in the tropics. They come from Central America and Indo-Asia.
It is actually the chrysalis (the cocoon) stage of a butterfly’s lifecycle that is shipped. Once they are packaged and government inspected they are shipped to the conservatory. It is here that they are place in a special room to mature. The Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory has over 120 different species that are shipped yearly. The Conservatory also breeds their own.
Because caterpillars are extremely susceptible to disease the breeding facility is closed to the public, but they do have an observation window so you can see this marvelous insect.
The Other Inhabitants
The Conservatory doesn’t just house butterflies. They also have turtles, coy and goldfish. They also use other insects to control insect pests, thus it is biologically controlled so they don’t have to use chemicals insecticides.
The Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory also has an Exhibit Hall, Gift Shop and a Café. There is also, and just as magnificent, The Botanical Gardens. It has over 100 labeled unique and exotic tropical plants.
All in all we had a great time. We went there expecting to stay about an hour and ended up leaving four hours later. Time just flew by. It is a place that I highly recommend to visit when your travels bring you to Niagara Falls, Canada.