Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Butterfly House

My friend Marsha and I go on an adventure every now and then. We call them adventures because we never know exactly where our day will take us or when our day will end. We've been scared to death in the middle of the woods at night, looking for a Tupperware container was there. And no matter where we go, we always manage to take the 'scenic route', if you know what I mean.

Yesterday, our adventure took us to points northward, with our first stop at The Butterfly House in Whitehouse, Ohio. Just that morning my neighbor had told me about it on the phone and since Marsha and I were headed that way anyway, we decided to stop and see it.

There is a large building that houses a nice gift shop, which is what you see when you first enter. On the floor is a mosaic of a Monarch butterfly that a local artist created. From there, you go through a double-door entry into the very large room where the butterflies are housed. It is quite humid in there and the temperature is kept at around 80°F. Occasionally, fans come on to circulate the air.

There is classical music playing in the background and just seeing all the butterflies quietly fluttering about, creates a very relaxing experience. It almost seems like the butterflies are moving to the rhythm of the music.

There are butterflies from all over the world - and lots of them - but the ones that grab your attention right away are the large brilliant blue ones - the Blue Morphos. They're nearly always in motion, so it's difficult to get a still photo of them, but one had lost part of a wing and I caught it resting.

They're native to Mexico, Central America, and the northern part of South America. As is the case with many butterflies, the obverse side of their wings looks very different than the top, with both being beautiful in their own way.

Many of the butterflies feed on rotting food, so there are plates of overripe bananas placed at various locations throughout the room. Though there are plenty of flowers blooming from which they can drink nectar, there are also sponges soaked with sugar water for them to feed from.

In addition to all the butterflies, there was one very special moth in the house as well. High up in the peak of the netted ceiling was a Madagascar Moon Moth.

This is a male, and the tails on the males can reach seven inches long! They're related to the Luna Moth, except that they're much larger. They do all their feeding in the larval stage as the adult moths have no mouths and live only four or five days, so we were lucky to get to see it.

We spent over an hour watching the butterflies and trying to get pictures of most of the different species. I had a Blue Morpho land on my head as I was trying to photograph another one and Marsha had a butterfly land on her camera as she was doing the same.

In addition to the free-flying flutterbys, they had a display of chrysalides in various stages of development that you could see.

There were newly-emerged butterflies trying to unfold their wings and waiting for them to harden enough that they could fly.

Outside The Butterfly House, there are butterfly gardens. It was drizzling while we were there, but it wasn't enough to keep us from strolling through the gardens and taking several pictures of the flowers grown for the benefit of the butterflies.

Please enjoy this slideshow of butterfly photos I took yesterday:

YET TO COME: Part II of our Adventure - Lunch and the Toledo Botanical Gardens.


Mother Nature said...

What fun you girls had. Thanks for sharing this post. I feel I'm right there with you.

WiseAcre said...

I wish I lived closer. I'd love to take my new camera to the Butterfly House. They seem to like cameras judging by the one photo - the butterfly on your camera is too cool :)

The butterfly 'art' caught my attention too. The bench is great and the sculpture even better. And getting a photo op with the grand kids as butterflies would be too much fun.

I'll have to try the banana feeding trick and see if I can attract something besides flies. Or maybe I should just take a shower.

Dave said...

What a neat place! My oldest daughter would love it. She likes to stand near the gaillardia and try to get the butterflies to land on her.

Rosemary said...

beautiful spot , how enjoyable.

F Cameron said...

Fantastic photos and information! I have a Monarch Waystation here in my garden. Not many Monarchs this year. I counted 30 black swallowtail cats on the bronze fennel, so I hope to see more Monarchs. Cameron (Defining Your Home Garden)

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha said...

It's almost as much fun as the actual day to relive our day through your blog. I look forward to our next adventure!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

It is always great fun to go to butterfly houses. What beautiful butterflies you have pictured. I have never seen this type of big moth either. Those tails are amazing.

Pat said...

What unbelievable photos!!
I never seen these beautiful butterflies before.

So glad I found your blog.


Brenda Jean Hyde said...

What a cool butterfly house! I've been to several but none as nice as this. Wow, your pictures are awesome:)the Madagascar Moon Moth is my favorite!

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

What a fun day you two had, wish I had been there as well. Thanks for all the pics of all those wonderful butterflies, it's amazing how many different varieties there are. Fun pic of the butterfly on the camera!

Unknown said...

Oh WOW! That Madagascar moon moth is stunning! Definitely need some of those in the glasshouse at the CBG, I think! ;)

By the way, the blue morphos are the ones that I was trying so desperately to get a good picture of in the glasshouse when I had the digital SLR from work... and they all thwarted my best efforts, too. Argh.

Kerri said...

What a wonderful place, and so many butterflies I haven't seen before! That huge moth is awesome! Loved your slideshow. I really appreciate you taking the time to share this lovely day with us.
Also loved seeing the Monarch change into a chrysalis in the posts below. Wow, you were lucky to see it up close and personal! The video is neat! I found a black swallowtail caterpiller on the dill a couple of weeks ago, but couldn't see a chrysalis. Maybe it became breakfast for a hungry bird :(

Unknown said...

Would love to visit The Butterfly House! So cool.

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