Thursday, May 27, 2010

Home Again

Spring comes and goes, and in the United States and Canada, butterflies flutter back to their now-warmer homes after spending the winter in South or Central America and Mexico.

People love these pretty creatures; the beauty and grace of the butterfly have inspired many artists and poets. The Greeks of the ancient world believed that a person’s soul left the body after death and formed itself into a butterfly.

It's possible to get up close and personal with butterflies.

In South Deerfield, Massachusetts, there is an entire conservatory devoted to butterflies. Magic Wings is an 18,400-square-foot facility that includes an 8,000-square-foot glass conservatory filled to the brim with butterflies, moths, tropical vegetation, and a quail or two.

A lonely quail at Magic Wings

When the sun shines through the glass walls, it heats up the conservatory to an 80-degree tropical-like environment all year round. The heart-shaped pond with Japanese koi graces the center of the conservatory, and the brilliantly colored koi rise to the surface of the pond to greet you. The sound of the waterfall, the peaceful music, and hundreds of butterflies fluttering freely through the air creates a tranquil and serene atmosphere. It’s truly amazing inside, for no matter how many people are enjoying the conservatory, it’s still a peaceful sanctuary for all. You interact one on one with the butterflies — they land on you, they are at your feet, and some even tend to “stick” with you throughout the tour.

Tiger swallowtail butterflies

Enter through the main entrance into the plant-filled atrium, and through the double doors lies the conservatory. The first glimpse brings awe. Some 3,000 butterflies of all colors, shapes, sizes, and varieties go dancing past. There are “flight attendants” scattered throughout the conservatory, waiting to help you identify the many different butterflies. Park benches are tucked along the sides of the paths, so visitors can sit and relax and watch for as long as they need to.

Saturn butterfly

A note of caution: Be sure to check yourself in the large mirrors by the exit doors; you don’t want to take any stowaways with you!

Michelle Blackley, Senior Publicist

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi there...just to let you know your photograph of 'swallowtails' is actually of two large white Tree Nymphs (Idea malabarica) Very nice shot. :-)