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Butterfly World, Tradewinds Park, 3600 W. Sample Road, Coconut Creek, Florida, USA 33073 - A Visit To Wonderland, by Nancy Hopkins, August 25, 1999.
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It was the last Mother's Day before the Millennium. We met Cyndi's Mom Skip and her Dad Will at Butterfly World. It was a visit to Wonderland. If you have ever wondered about butterflies, you will find your answers here.
If you every wanted to take a picture of a butterfly, this is where you need to go. The butterfly in this picture is a Giant Swallowtail. They live in your backyard if you live in South Florida. Well, they live there if you have flowering plants upon which the butterfly can feed. In this case, the Swallowtail is sucking nectar from a red penta.
Ron Boender, founder of Butterfly World Ltd., was kind enough to identify this second butterfly as a "Clipper" which comes from Malaysia every week in pupa form. The center is12 years old now and the largest such display in the world.
You park the car and walk a ways to the front door of Butterfly World. Inside you pay to enjoy the day in nature and to help support the varied research projects conducted by the center. These projects range from concerns with endangered butterfly species, environmental problems, and even human health. In concert with Universities, the center even researches genetic questions.
Inside, you have a few places to choose from, based upon the map you are given. We went directly to the butterfly aviary where they try to keep 5000 flying butterflies on display, at all times, year round of some 150 species. To get inside the aviary, you enter one set of doors, close them, open the second set of doors, where a fan blows inward to keep the butterflies from escaping.
Personally, I do not think they would want to escape. There is too much flowering nectar sources, running water in the small stream, and a misting section for those needing a shower. While the center used to ship butterfly pupa all over the world, they no longer ship butterflies out of the World, but do much more research. They have even built the Boender Endangered Laboratory at the U of F campus in Gainesville.
Everywhere you turned, there was a picture to be taken. My companions were taking turns, saying, "Over here, this is a great picture." And, even in death, the beauty of the butterfly can still be admired. The average life-span of a butterfly in the aviary is 14 days, compared to the 7 days outside. This picture was taken of one of the many and incredibly varied displays in another section of Butterfly World.
There you can also see the various stages of the caterpillar. An additional plus is a grand display of some very interesting insects.
There is an outside park, including a flower circled pond with its wooden bridge. You can visit the plant nursery and purchase plants that feed both adult butterflies and their caterpillar offspring which feed off different plants. Or you can visit with the many birds and flowers.
Butterfly World has a bird aviary section with 12 species of Hummingbirds (about 80 birds) on display. Life history research is also conducted on these beauties. Butterfly World and Sonora Museum in Tucson, Arizona are the only places you can see hummers. If you look closely at the next picture, you can see a Hummingbird in the center. These guys were difficult to capture in digital photographs.
Butterfly gardening is an inexpensive, low maintenance, hobby that can bring color and joy to your life. We have a number of neighbors who have joined us in planting plants that attract different species of butterflies. On a good day, you can see five or six different species. One neighbor counted 76 butterflies in her yard, all at the same time. She holds the record.
But no one can compare to Butterfly World. Butterfly World is the largest butterfly sanctuary and research facility in the world. Imagine being surrounded by 5,000 butterflies. I do not have to imagine. I was there. And so were my companions.
As I was writing this, I realized I had not taken any pictures of my human friends, nor could I remember what was said. I finally realized, nothing was said. In the mist of the butterflies, birds, flowers, and spellbound humans, there was nothing much to say, except, "Hey, here is another great picture."
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