If you have ever needed to relax and unwind and be transported to another world, then the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Ontario is THE place to go! We promise. From the moment you enter the space that houses these beautiful creatures, an instant sense of peace and wonderment will envelop you like a warm blanket.
Located on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, the Butterfly Conservatory contains a 200-seat theater, a large gift shop fully stocked with unique souvenirs, and a massive greenhouse that includes 600 feet of pathway, through a visually stunning tropical rainforest. Featured is a vast selection of vibrantly colored foliage, refreshing waterfalls, and grand palm trees that stretch clear to the ceiling of the 11,000 square foot netted enclosure. And, of course, there are the butterflies, in every size and color, effortlessly floating through the air and delicately landing here and there and everywhere while delighting visitors who walk the pathway in awe.
With 2000+ exotic and colorful butterflies constantly on the move, including 50 different species, it’s as if their world is in a state of frenzy while the world of the visitor slows right down in order to admire the splendor, simplicity, and serenity.
We weren’t entirely sure what to expect from such an experience but were quick to note that our reaction and that of everyone around us was of complete awe and contentment. Young and old, men and women alike exuded happiness and were completely captivated by these small winged creatures that bring beauty to the word ‘insect’. We overheard the words ‘amazing’ and ‘relaxing’ at least two dozen times and we could not have agreed more as we witnessed poetry in motion.
During our visit, we watched with fascination as two Great Mormon butterflies mated as they clung to a leaf and to each other – as seen below. This caused us to take a special interest in the ‘Emergence’ area of the conservatory, which essentially looks like a glass incubator that allows butterflies to enter and exit through circular holes. It also allows visitors to witness the chrysalides and a portion of their surprisingly short 2 to 4-week life cycle as butterflies emerge and dry their wings before taking flight and joining the others in the greenhouse. To this end, the conservatory produces approximately 45,000 butterflies a year.
Speaking of tropical, the climate-controlled environment is indeed hot and humid as one would expect from a rainforest and a greenhouse. And gentle misting used to keep the plants moist only adds to the humidity. So dress accordingly if you plan to visit. If you wish to entice the butterflies to land on you, wear something brightly colored and ensure that you smell sweet with a spritz of perfume or a fruity shampoo. Lastly, be sure to take your camera.
If you’re a photography buff, and even if you’re not, the Butterfly Conservatory provides plenty of photo opportunities, whether you’re focusing your lens on a butterfly feeding station or using the foliage as a backdrop for the perfect selfie. We watched as hundreds of smartphones and cameras of all kinds – ours included – were put to the test in an effort to somehow capture the unique experience in a digital format. In the end, no matter how pretty the picture, nothing could be as inspiring as the real thing.
The Conservatory is open year-round, with the exception of Christmas Day. Current hours are from 10am – 5pm daily with the last ticket sold half an hour prior to closing. Prices at the door are $14.25 for adults, $9.25 for children ages 6 – 12, and under 5 is free. Or, you can save time and money by visiting the Niagara Parks website to find bundled deals on various attractions.
We highly recommend that you visit. You won’t be disappointed. And if you’re the slightest bit stressed when you arrive, we promise you won’t be by the time you leave.