Fly Away with Butterflies!


Today I visited Butterflies of Chatfield at the Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms. This exhibit will be there until Fall, approximately September, when the temperatures drop. This exhibit is a butterfly house that contains approximately 200 butterflies and 9-10 species. This week is Pollinator Week, which is perfect since butterflies are pollinators.

Butterflies live only approximately 1-2 weeks. The butterflies in this exhibit are actually farm raised and are shipped in once a week. They ship the butterflies in wax envelopes with one butterfly in each envelope. They put them in cold container so that they will hibernate. They wake up once they arrive and warm up.

Since the butterflies are farm raised, it is really not to let them get out because they are genetically weaker due to having been bred in captivity. Most of the butterflies in this exhibit are native species but some are not, so they don’t want to introduce new species to our environment. There are multiple sets of doors for when you enter and exit to ensure that none of the butterflies get out. You must check your clothing and hair to ensure no butterflies are on you when you exit.

My favorite specie of butterfly there was the Spicebush Swallow Tail (scientific name papilio troilus). This species of butterfly is mostly black with blue dots around the edges and a beautiful hint of blue in the black.

There were multiple people who visited, however, despite being a Saturday morning it wasn’t packed so you could still see everything well. It is great for kids. Alex (age 5) and Zachary (age 3) Hwang from Louisville, CO were checking out the butterflies when I was there. They were using one of the field guides, that are provided to visitors, to identify the butterflies that they were finding.

Each butterfly has a specific type of plant that they like. If you are interested in having butterflies in your yard, you can Google what types of plants specific ones like and choose those plants to influence which butterflies come to your yard. For example, Monarch butterflies like to lay their eggs on Milkweed plants.

I recommend this exhibit for ages 1-100, in other words, everyone will love it.