The Rapidian

Meijer Gardens' 23rd annual Butterfly Exhibition highlights global journey taken by butterflies to reach West Michigan

Explore the wondrous journey of thousands of butterflies as they fly freely in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory March 1 through April 30.
The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park /Photo by William J. Hebert, courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Exhibition Activities

  • “Who Am I?” A Butterfly Ballet 
    Saturday, March 17, 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 3 p.m.
    Sunday, March 18, 1 p.m. 
    Fee: $5 members/$8 non-members; Free for ages 2 years and younger
    Choreographed by Attila Mosolygo, performed by members of the Grand Rapids Ballet Junior Company and narrated by Errol Shewman.
    Developed in collaboration with Grand Rapids Ballet, this unique performance highlights characteristics of butterflies through dance. Don’t miss this thoroughly delightful butterfly ballet. Told through the eyes of a newly emerged butterfly, the story will captivate young and old alike. With colorful costumes, spectacular music and exquisite choreography, this enchanting performance will provide a unique and memorable experience. Participate in interactive dance activities before the performance and take advantage of photo-ops on stage with the dancers afterward. Register online at MeijerGardens.org or call 616-975-3184. Who Am I? A Butterfly Ballet is generously sponsored by Karl & Patti Betz and Jesse & Gia Budrick.
    An American Sign Language interpreter will be provided for the 10 a.m. performance on March 17. Reservations for this service are required. To reserve your space, call 616-975-3184 or 616-975-3147, or email [email protected] by March 10.

 

  • Children’s Activities
    Saturday, March 1-Wednesday, April 30, daylight hours only
    Lena Meijer Children’s Garden 
    Included with admission 
    Once you have observed caterpillars in the Seasonal Display Greenhouse and butterflies in the Tropical Conservatory, come out to the Children’s Garden for engaging outdoor educational events. Fly like a butterfly, wrap up like a chrysalis, curl up like a caterpillar, or crawl out of an egg using life cycle costumes and your imagination. Perform your own butterfly-themed puppet show or read about moths and butterflies in the Log Cabin. Search for butterfly and moth life cycle stages in a special Treehouse Village hunt. Ring the bell after successfully navigating through the Butterfly Maze. Become a butterfly in the Monarch’s Migration game. Enjoy a springtime puppet show or story-time; days and times vary. There is something for all ages. Activities vary daily; check the Information Center for times. 
     
  • Tuesday Night Lights
    Included with admission
    Bring your flashlight on Tuesday nights until 9 p.m. to see the nightlife in the Tropical Conservatory. 

The exhibition is made possible by The DTE Energy Foundation, The Meijer Foundation, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Foundation, Botanic and Sculpture Societies of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Media sponsors are Channel 95.7 FM and 100.5 FM The River. 

The Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming at Meijer Gardens from March 1 - April 30

The Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming at Meijer Gardens from March 1 - April 30 /Photo courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s annual Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition will bring more than 7,000 tropical butterflies to West Michigan beginning March 1. Butterflies Are Blooming is the spring’s most anticipated exhibition and is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation. This year’s exhibition highlights the butterflies’ unique journey from butterfly farms around the world to their emergence and release in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory. 

Approximately 60 colorful species of butterflies and moths journey from butterfly-rich regions of Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Philippines and Kenya to fly freely in the five-story tall, 15,000 square-foot Tropical Conservatory. At 85 degrees and 70 percent humidity, this balmy environment mimics the tropical regions that the butterflies call home. 

Species of butterflies expected to arrive include the blue Common Morpho, whose iridescence impresses in flight, as well as Brushfoot varieties such as the Clearwing, Lacewing and Zebra Mosaic. Likewise, the Longwings captivate with distinctive wing patterns as seen on the Small Blue Grecian, Doris, Postman and Tiger butterflies. Gliders like the Emperor, Ruby-Spotted and Orchard Swallowtails will also add to the diverse assortment. 

“Our exhibition this year celebrates the journey that these amazing creatures take to reach us here,” explained Steve LaWarre, Director of Horticulture. “These butterflies begin their life cycle in the tropics and travel from thousands of miles away before making their appearance in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory. This exhibition provides a wonderful opportunity for our guests to learn more about this journey and view the diverse beauty of these winged wonders first hand.”

More than 1,000 pupae arrive at Meijer Gardens weekly from around the world. Guests can watch as delicate chrysalides and cocoons are placed in the Butterfly Bungalow, where adult butterflies and moths emerge and spread their wings for the first time.

The Caterpillar Room, located within the Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse, features Monarch caterpillars. Guests can watch as caterpillars feed on milkweed plants and after two weeks of tremendous growth, the caterpillars will look for a suitable place to form their chrysalides.  

This much-loved exhibition attracts 185,000 visitors from all over the world each year. 

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