Butterflies to ‘bloom’ soon at Meijer Gardens

A child peers at a butterfly. Photo by TaraFletcherPhotograph

Butterflies will soon be “blooming” at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, 1000 East Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids. Fred & Dorothy Fichter’s annual exhibition will contain 60 colorful butterfly and moth species, beginning March 1.

Meijer Gardens Butterflies. Photo by Tara Fletcher Photography

This year’s exhibition highlights the intimate, wondrous details and beauty of butterflies, which can be viewed drinking nectar from the flowering plants and feeding stations or flying freely within the towering tropical conservatory. The blue common morpho, whose iridescence impresses in flight, as well as brush foot varieties such as the clearwing, lacewing and zebra mosaic are expected to make appearances. Approximately 1,000 chrysalides are delivered to Meijer Gardens each week of the exhibition. 

Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory Inside. Photo by Dean VanDis

These butterflies, in chrysalis or cocoon form, journey from the rich regions of Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Philippines, and Kenya to fly freely in the five-story, 15,000-square-foot Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory. At 85 degrees and 70 percent humidity, this balmy environment mimics the tropical regions the butterflies call home. 

Guests can watch delicate chrysalides and cocoons being placed in the Observation Station, where these unique and fascinating creatures transform and spread their wings for the first time. Gliders such as the emperor, ruby-spotted and orchard swallowtails will add to the diverse assortment.

Common Morpho butterfly. Photo courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens

The butterflies are on view through Sunday, April 30, 2023.

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