Mexico may be known for the great monarch migration, but West Michigan is known for butterflies of a different color.
Many different colors.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids brings more than 7,000 tropical butterflies to West Michigan every year for the Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition, the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the United States, which attracts 185,000 visitors from around the world.
Visitors arrive in tandem with the butterflies. More than 1,000 pupae migrate to Meijer Gardens weekly, representing approximately 60 colorful species from butterfly-and-moth-rich regions of Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Philippines and Kenya.
The exhibit offers a unique opportunity to see butterflies and moths at all stages in the life cycle. Visitors can observe chrysalides and cocoons in the Butterfly Bungalow and watch as adult butterflies and moths emerge and spread their wings for the first time.
Adult butterflies and moths fly freely in Meijer Gardens' five-story tall, 15,000 square-foot tropical conservatory. Climate-controlled at 85 degrees and 70 percent humidity, the balmy environment mimics the butterflies' native regions.
Make no mistake: The monarchs take up residence at Meijer Gardens, too.
The Caterpiller Room features monarch caterpillars. Visitors can watch as caterpillars feed on milkweed plants, grow, and look for suitable places to form their chrysalides.
Butterflies Are Blooming runs March 1 – April 30, 2018. But if your groups miss it this year, the butterflies will be back for many years to come.
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.