Meijer Gardens brings back butterfly exhibition

The Malay Lacewing will be among the many different species of butterflies on display at Meijer Gardens. Photo by William Herbert

The largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibit in the country is returning to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The “Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming” exhibit will be on display beginning March 1 at Meijer Gardens, 1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE in Grand Rapids.

It will feature more than 7,000 butterflies and moths, representing approximately 60 species, from Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Philippines and Kenya, including blue morpho, clearwing, lacewing, zebra mosaic, blue Grecian, doris, postman and tiger butterflies. Gliders like the emperor, ruby-spotted and orchard swallowtail butterflies also will be on display.

Butterflies will fly in the five-story, 15,000-square-foot Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory that will feature a kokedama, a moss-covered ball of soil where ornamental plants grow. There will be flowers such as pentas and lantana and plants such as orange plume flower, blue porterweed and jatropha, as well as queen’s wreath and bleeding heart vines inside the conservatory.

“We’re highlighting the power of flowers this year more than ever,” said Steve LaWarre, vice president of horticulture. “Our goal is to bring an awareness of the important relationships butterflies and humans have with flowers and to show the positive and powerful impact flowers have on butterflies, people and the world.”

An average of 1,000 pupae arrive at Meijer Gardens weekly from around the world. Guests can watch as the chrysalides and cocoons are placed in the observation station, where they will transform and spread their wings for the first time.

The caterpillar room in the Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse features monarch caterpillars. Guests will have the opportunity to observe how flowers play a role in the lifecycle of butterflies. Caterpillars feed on milkweed host plants mixed with flowering spring plantings and ferns that encompass the perimeter of the seasonal display greenhouse.

More information is here.

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