Spring is a little more than two weeks away, but West Michigan residents who want to feel warmth and humidity can head over to Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park for a tropical experience, beginning today.

The annual "Butterflies Are Blooming" exhibition opened March 1.

According to the official press release, "the exhibition will bring more than 7,000 tropical butterflies to West Michigan beginning March 1. Arriving from Africa, Asia, South America and Central America, Butterflies Are Blooming is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation.

"Approximately 60 colorful species will 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 tropical regions that the butterflies call home."

Courtesy: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Horticulturist, Laurel Gaut says the wide variety of butterflies, from around the world, is one of the things that makes the so appealing to visitors. Also, each year they try to bring a new element to the annual exhibit, which attracts more than 170,000 visitors each year.

"Our exhibition this year celebrates shape and pattern," said Gaut. "The butterflies and the natural environment of the conservatory are wonderful examples of how these patterns reveal themselves all around us. This exhibition provides a superb opportunity for our guests to view caterpillars, wings, flowers and foliage with a renewed appreciation for the world around us."

In addition to the thousands of butterflies in bloom, in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory, visitors can go to the Butterfly Bungalow and Caterpillar Room where they can watch caterpillars feed on milkweed plants and search for a suitable place to form their chrysalides.

Additional activities designed around the exhibition include:

  • "Who Am I?" A Butterfly Ballet
  • Children's Activities
  • Tuesday Night Lights
    • Included with admission
    • Bring your flashlight on Tuesday nights until 9 p.m. to see the nightlife in the Tropical Conservatory

For more information about Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, visit www.meijergardens.org.

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