by Andrea Wolschleger and Deb Havens
Dreaming of a green paradise where you can shed your coat, toss off your hat and feast your eyes on exotic wildlife? Now add hundreds of colorful butterflies flitting so close some even land on your hand, your hair, your kids!
From March 1 through April 30 the dream comes true at Meijer Gardens Butterfly Exhibit.
For the past 20 years, Meijer Gardens has brought more than 7,000 tropical butterflies to West Michigan from Africa, Asia, South and Central America. It’s the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation.
Approximately 50 colorful species will fly freely in the five-story Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory. At 85 degrees and 70 percent humidity, this balmy environment mimics tropical regions where the butterflies thrive.
Visitors can learn about the life cycle of the butterflies in the Butterfly Bungalow, where adult butterflies emerge from cocoons and spread their wings for the first time.
Included in the species arriving from this area are the Columbian and Common Morpho, two visitor favorites whose blue iridescent color seems to change in flight, in addition to many others.
The butterfly exhibit attracts more than 170,000 visitors from all over the nation each year. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 616-975-3155.