Niagara Falls is the perfect weekend getaway for you and the family, and there are more things to do than take photos at the Falls. One of my favorite stops, is the Butterfly Conservatory (2405 Niagara River Parkway, Niagara Falls ON).
Who knew Ontario was home to 2000 colourful tropical butterflies? You can walk rainforest-themed paths, and even see a mini-waterfall where butterflies lay their pupae and take their first flight. The self-guided tour kicks off with a short video presentation that is close captioned for the heading impaired.
In November, the Conservatory launched its “Enchanted Rainforest Exhibit.” Running until January 6, the exhibit starts immediately upon entering as over 300 butterflies appear to be ruminating in the lobby. In the Rainforest, children are encouraged to “match wings” with their new friends in an effort to identify the butterflies who are zooming in and around the glass-enclosed space. In addition to guessing which monarch is which, visitors are also encouraged to examine the living quarters of the Lepidoptera which are nestled among the plants and rocks or hang from canopies from the palms and vines.
The Conservatory opened exactly 16 years ago (December 1996) with a gift shop, 200-seat theater and greenhouse. It can usually accommodate 300 visitors per hour. The average lifespan of a butterfly is 2-4 weeks, so the Conservatory imports up to 3000 different species per month from farms in Costa Rica, El Salvador, the Philippines and Australia.
Visitors who want the butterflies to land on them are encouraged to wear bright colors, perfume and cologne. In the “Emergence” area, you can see the lifespan of the insect and it produces approximately 45,000 creatures each year.
Admission is $12.95/adult and $8.25/child (from 6-12). Children under 5 are admitted for free. Parking is $5 and an annual parking pass can be purchased for $10. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
Visit NiagaraParks.com for more information on our featured weekend getaway.