Beau­ti­ful But­ter­flies Abound

Year-round tours of but­ter­fly house keep guests gaz­ing

Times of the Islands - - Departments - Ann Marie O’Phe­lan is a South­west Flor­ida res­i­dent and reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to TOTI Me­dia.

“My chil­dren and I saw a beau­ti­ful ar­ray of yel­low-and-black­striped ze­bra long­wings, and pipevines with their jewel-like wings,” en­thuses Terri Brown. The Cape Coral res­i­dent is speak­ing of her fam­ily’s re­cent tour of the Tom Allen Me­mo­rial But­ter­fly House at the city’s Ro­tary Park. “It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence, and we learned a lot about the four stages of the lives of but­ter­flies,” Brown adds. The hour-long tour is con­ducted in­side the screened but­ter­fly house, which holds an ar­ray of but­ter­flies and also has bloom­ing flow­ers. Honey Phillips is a se­nior re­cre­ation spe­cial­ist with Cape Coral Parks & Re­cre­ation. She ex­plains that the tours, which are given year-round, “of­fer a chance to see a va­ri­ety of Flor­ida na­tive but­ter­flies, such as mon­archs, ze­bra long­wings, pipevine swal­low­tails, Ata­las, Poly­damus and Ju­lias.” In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing vis­i­tors a chance to see and learn about these fas­ci­nat­ing winged in­sects, the house of­fers the but­ter­flies some­thing in re­turn—pro­tec­tion from preda­tors as they trans­form from egg to but­ter­fly. Even­tu­ally all of the but­ter­flies are re­leased into the col­or­ful gar­dens that make up part of the park’s 96 acres.

Tour guests also learn about the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­por­tance of but­ter­flies as pol­li­na­tors. And they can gain help­ful tips on how to at­tract but­ter­flies to their own gar­dens.

Free tours of the but­ter­fly house take place on Mon­day, Fri­day and Satur­day at 10:30 a.m., cour­tesy of the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife. That is the or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­vided the but­ter­fly house and con­tin­ues to care for it.

The tours are free yet mon­e­tary do­na­tions are grate­fully ac­cepted, Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife mem­bers note. And be­cause the but­ter­fly house is screened, park vis­i­tors can, of course, see the but­ter­flies at any time.

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