In the middle of the sunny Arizona desert, there’s an indoor rainforest sanctuary that’s home to many different species of butterflies and other rainforest creatures. The Butterfly Wonderland is the largest conservatory for butterflies in the entire United States and features more than 3,000 living butterflies from all around the world. WOAH! Inside this humid jungle-like garden you can walk or sit amongst the fluttering wings of many different types of butterfly, as well as other types of birds and insects. They even have camping and yoga classes too. Crazy-cool stuff, right?
The experience is like none other. It combines science and tranquility, as you start off by learning about the Monarch butterfly in a 3D movie experience. During the movie, you’ll learn about the migrations and habitats of the famous Monarch butterfly, and how recent efforts have been made to start protecting and conserving the species and other butterflies like it. You then make your way to the Emergence Gallery where you can observe various species of butterflies and moths from around the world who hatch daily from their cocoons and spread their wings for the very first time. The Caterpillar, Cocoon and fully emerged Butterfly can often look completely different as they transform from stage to stage, so it’s often a surprise to see how colorful some butterflies are that transform inside of such dull looking cocoons. Other times, it’s the most basic of caterpillar than slumbers inside of a shimmering and pearlescent cocoon, to emerge a bright and beautiful butterfly. Yes, exactly like A Bug’s Life.
There’s More Than Just A Bunch Of Butterflies
If walking around staring at nothing but butterflies all day sounds a bit boring to you at first, that’s not all that they have at the Butterfly Wonderland. The experience has expanded over recent years to include many other varieties of insects, and even a Rainforest Reptiles exhibit where you can see some of the types of snakes, lizards, amphibians, and even a dwarf caiman crocodile. Butterfly Wonderland even has scheduled feeding times where you can come and observe their eating behaviors.
One hall hosts the Rainforest Reptiles, while another hosts different fish and aquatic species. There’s even an insect gallery where you can see a few different types of giant insects that live within the various natural habitats some of the butterflies come from. Sorry, if you’re squirming in your shoes right now, but don’t fret, it’s honestly not that bad.
Have You Ever Purchased Bugs From A Vending Machine?
Having traveled around the world, we’ve seen some fairly odd stuff being sold in vending machines from time to time, but this is a first. At the Butterfly Wonderland, you can purchase bugs from a vending machine that are made into different types of food that you can eat, if you’re daring enough. They have Nacho Cheese flavored Meal Worms, Protein Bars made from who knows what, even candy made with Scorpions and other things that we just weren’t about to chow down on. Kids might find this type of thing more fascinating though, which is who the vending machine is more geared toward.