Butterfly houses and gardens are wonderful places to make a trip out to this summer. They are great locations to bring the kids who can enjoy a scientific, hands on, up close encounter with various species of butterfly. Adults will find something worthwhile at the butterfly houses and gardens too. You can spend the day snapping away macro photography shots, and basking in the beauty of nature and complete metamorphosis, something you don’t often get to see quite so close-up or in an enclosed space.
Most of the centers also offer their own education on the butterflies. Some of the education includes learning about the life cycle of a butterfly, metamorphosis, diet, indigenous regions, how to attract your own butterflies, and create a butterfly friendly garden. You will be in awe as these beautifully colored creatures fly around you and land around your path. They may even decide to take a rest on you! It’s important in these sorts of atmospheres to be very careful and aware of your surroundings. You don’t want to accidentally hurt any of the butterflies in the exhibit. Also, as exciting as the prospect of having a butterfly land on you is, do not go after the butterflies or try to catch them. Be patient and let them come to you. This way is much safer for the butterflies and provides a much more natural experience.
Where To Go:
Sweetbriar Nature Center, Smithtown: Open June-September from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children under 12, and $3 for senior citizens. Sweetbriar supplies its guest with educational cards about the different species, has an emergence cage in which to view the stages of metamorphosis, and has staff posted around to answer any questions you may have.
The Suffolk County Farm and Education Center, Yaphank: The Butterfly Farm in Yaphank is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. up until September. A $2 donate per guest is requested. Here you can get up close looks at the anatomical features of the butterflies, learn about host plants for larvae, and view the stages of the butterfly life cycle.
Long Island Exhibition Center, (right next to the Long Island Aquarium) Riverhead: The Exhibition Center offers a year-round butterfly exhibit. They have approximately 1,000 butterflies housed in their 5,000 square foot enclosure. The exhibit is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10.50 for children, $12.50 for adults, and free for those under 3 years of age.
Main Street Nursery, Huntington: This location’s Butterfly Zoo is seasonal and only open during the summer months. You can also throw a party here and visit the Butterfly Zoo as part of the festivities.
Though not located on Long Island, but still close enough if you’d like to take a day trip, the Butterfly Garden at the Bronx Zoo, open from April-October, is not to be missed. The Butterfly Garden provides maps to help visitors identify all of the different species of winged beauties they see along the garden trail. You can even take a look into their nursery to see how the butterflies are taken care of. Along the path in the garden there are also tips provided on how to attract butterflies and how to grow a garden of your own at home that will collect its own butterfly swarm. The fee is $5.
Did you learn anything new during your visit? What species of butterfly did you encounter? Did you get lots of great pictures? Comment and let us know!