Spring has sprung and while it's just starting to feel like it outside, one Rockford area tourist attraction is warm year round. At Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, community members aren't waiting on the weather to celebrate a new season. Spring is about a fresh start which you can see for yourself inside the greenhouse. Roughly 200 conservatory members released butterflies into a special netted area Monday afternoon to represent new life.
It's the kick off to Butterfly Month at the conservatory. Starting Tuesday, visitors can come and learn about these bugs and maybe even release a butterfly themselves. Most of the butterflies in the exhibit are monarchs and painted ladies with a life span of about two weeks. According to facility manager Kelly Moore, most are grown as pupa at the conservatory. They get a shipment of 350 of those each week from Florida.
The exhibit isn't just about the butterfly house, there's also an educational area set up in the lobby for visitors to learn more. This is only the second year for Butterfly Month. Before this was available at Nicholas Conservatory, butterfly enthusiasts Jim McDowell and Jodi Beach traveled across the country, even to Canada, to see exhibits. They say having this is good for the area.
"When we talk about all the wonderful things that are happening in Rockford, this is such an amazing gift. There are communities that don't have anything like this beautiful conservatory and now a butterfly exhibit. Before this came here we traveled two days' journey to see butterflies and now it's right here." -says Beach with a smile.
The exhibit runs until April 28th.
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