Our newest attraction in Scottsdale just opened on June 1, 2013. It is the Butterfly Wonderland and is located just off of Highway 101 and Via de Ventura. The building is absolutely stunning outside and the interior is a work of art. Even better, it is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Friendly volunteers and employees greet you on the way in. You have the opportunity to view a 3-D movie on butterflies prior to entering the main part of the exhibit. In my case, I was accompanying a butterfly “expert” – my 6 ½ year old granddaughter who was visiting. She chose to skip the movie and head right on into the Butterfly Emergence Gallery. Along the wall are glass cases where one can observe the full cycle from caterpillar to butterfly.
Entrance to the Conservatory is quite unique in that visitors collect in a holding room and then go into the Conservatory as a group. With thousands of butterflies flitting about, this helps to keep them inside rather than escape. The reverse is the same when you leave; with the exception everyone goes through a “body check” to make sure one of the little guys hasn’t attached himself to a visitor.
The Conservatory is a tropical rainforest environment. There are walkways surrounding a wonderful Koi pond and waterfall so one can ramble throughout and be able to see all of the wonderful plants and butterflies. From an educational standpoint, the plantings are identified by name in the event you might want to enhance your own garden with plants that attract butterflies.
I have to admit that when we walked into the Conservatory it initially appeared smaller than I had expected and I was already trying to think what we would do for the rest of the afternoon. To my delight and surprise, I had to insist we finally leave after 3 hours. There was always something new and different to observe, including two different times when volunteers were bringing in new butterflies in cages and releasing them.
Younger visitors are given a punch card when they enter and are encouraged to ask the volunteers questions. Each time they ask, they get their card punched. At the end of the day when they pass through the gift shop, they turn in their card and get to choose a cute little item from a basket.
The two main things we learned on our visit were: Wear orange. The butterflies love that color and will land on your shoulders and backs. Secondly, don’t try to pick up the butterflies. They are too delicate to be handled.
One of the most predominant residents was the Atlas Moth. They are quite large and according to my research can reach a wing span of over 10 inches. Throughout the Conservatory you’ll see them hanging on the roof area as well as screens and plants. We were also told that this particular moth doesn’t possess fully formed mouth parts and therefore don’t feed. Sadly, their adult life is only one to two weeks and during that time they survive on larval fat reserves that build up while they are still caterpillars.
I purchased a lifetime membership to the Butterfly Wonderland and have already used it three times. The location is convenient, it is a great escape and it’s nice to just pop in and have a look at anything new that has been added as well as revisiting the previous exhibits.
9500 E. Via de Ventura
Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Butterfly Wonderland Website
Phone: (480) 800-3000