When I was a kid, my 5th grade class planted a butterfly garden on our school grounds. We got to learn all about different butterflies that were native to our state and the different flowers that they each liked. Then we planned the garden, ordered the plants, and had a big planting day where we got to forego math and science lessons and play in the dirt. The whole experience was a magical one for me, and it instilled in me a great love of butterflies.
So when my friend Jen asked me if I wanted to go check out the Butterfly Haven in Pingree, ID, for their one year anniversary celebration, how could I say no?
A Garden Dreams are Made Of
The first thing to greet you when you enter the greenhouse at the Butterfly Haven is an incredible garden filled to bursting with gorgeous flowers. There were so many colors and varieties that I’d never seen before. I was so mesmerized by all of the flowers that I hardly even saw any butterflies for the first five minutes. There’s also a beautiful little waterfall near a stone bench—the perfect spot to relax and take it all in. Were it not for the heat (it is a greenhouse, after all), it would have made a great place to sit and read.
All the Butterflies
But of course, the main attraction was the butterflies—all 600 of them! We saw monarchs, swallowtails, heliconians, fritillaries, and more. I was delighted by the Zebra Long Wing Heliconians, who were incredibly difficult to get a picture of because they never stopped moving. I also really liked the Pipevine Swallowtails. I had no idea there were other varieties of swallowtail besides the classic yellow and black version, but these Pipevines are like their little emo cousins. And I could not get over how pretty the blue tint was on the wings of the White Peacock butterflies.
And Don’t Forget the Birds
The Butterfly Haven is also home to a few varieties of birds. The canaries were easy to spot with their pretty yellow feathers—especially the male who sang his little heart out the whole time we were there. There was also a sweet little mama canary quietly guarding her nest on the brick pavers edging the planter beds. The button quail are notoriously elusive, but we got lucky and spotted them under the shady plants near the waterfall.
Butterfly Life Cycle
The Butterfly Haven staff are very knowledgeable and pointed out lots of fun little details to us. Thanks to their sharp eyes, we were able to witness every stage of the butterfly life cycle. We saw the yellow eggs of the heliconians, swallowtail and monarch caterpillars, a caterpillar that was just starting to turn into a chrysalis, full and empty chrysalides, a brand new butterfly with curly wings, and the tattered wings of butterflies nearing the end of their two-week life span. We also learned that if you see a butterfly curling its abdomen downward toward the surface of a leaf (like the monarch above), she’s laying an egg. Sure enough, we watched some monarchs and heliconians lay egg after egg on each of their host plants.
Pingree, ID is a bit off the beaten path for much of eastern Idaho, but the Butterfly Haven is well worth the trip from Pocatello, Blackfoot, or Idaho Falls. At first, I thought the $10 admission fee for adults was a bit steep, but we spent a good hour or two exploring the gardens and had such a good time that I’m mostly convinced that it’s worth it. As their popularity grows, they have plans to expand into additional greenhouses. I’m very excited to see how things go for them in the future, and I look forward to visiting again.
[pricing_column_name comment=”Pingree, ID”]The Butterfly Haven[/pricing_column_name]
Children Under 3: Free
* Prices current at the time of writing, but subject to change. Please see the official site for current prices.
[price comment=”Rating”] (4 / 5)[/price]
Have you been to a butterfly garden like this one?
I’d love to hear what your favorite butterfly is! Tell me in the comments below or over on my Facebook page.
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