• By: Kat Walcott

Butterflies Take Flight at the Canadian Museum of Nature

Photos by Kat Walcott / Feature image Pixabay

Though temperatures in Ottawa have been frigid over the past few days, the Canadian Museum of Nature is keeping things hot and tropical with their stunning new exhibit “Butterflies in Flight.” It is definitely one you and your family do not want to miss!

The exhibit is presented by Essential Costa Rica and features dozens of live butterflies, all native to the beautiful rain forests of Costa Rica. The attraction is divided into two parts. The first is a brightly furnished information area, located in the museum’s Activity Zone, which features infographics, murals and other materials where visitors can learn about the life cycle of the butterflies, anatomy, pollination and, most importantly, conservation.

His Excellency Roberto Dormond-Cantú, Ambassador of Costa Rica in Canada, emphasized conservation awareness as one of the main goals of the exhibit, “We are delighted to support this experience with live butterflies. This exhibition offers unparalleled beauty while allowing us to reflect on the importance of biodiversity and conservation.”

With approximately a quarter of its territory devoted to conservation through protected areas and national parks, Costa Rica is truly a shining example to the rest of the world of the benefits of wildlife protection.

The second part of the exhibit is the main attraction! A gorgeous, temperature-controlled solarium, equipped with tropical plants and a mini waterfall to replicate the Costa Rican rainforest, houses the stars of the exhibit–the stunning live butterflies. The butterflies are sourced from two sustainable farms in their home country and are transported all the way here to Ottawa when they are in their pupal stage. The pupae are hung in the Animal Care room and once the butterflies emerge, they are moved to the solarium. Because the lifespan of a butterfly is only about a week or two, there will be a constant rotation of different butterflies over the four month period of the exhibit.

The butterflies are surprisingly sociable, flying gracefully right above visitors’ heads and allowing you to come up close for a good look at their gorgeously patterned wings. If you dress in bright colours and stay calm, you might even be lucky enough to have one land on you!

The exhibit features a variety of butterfly species, both big and small, such as the lovely copper and green-coloured malachite, the atreus owl whose wing pattern amazingly mimics the eyes and foliage of an owl, and of course the face of the exhibit, who appears on the official poster–the majestic blue morpho which is even more stunning in real life than any photo can capture.

If you’re looking for something to do with family or friends during the winter season, come visit the butterflies, they are excited to meet you! The exhibit officially opens this Saturday, December 16th and runs until April 2nd, 2018. It is sure to be popular and only a certain amount of visitors can be let into the solarium at a time, so make sure to reserve your time slot over on the Canadian Museum of Nature’s website before visiting.