Over the last few weeks, the team in the Tropical Zone have been really busy preparing for our first major event of the year, and a first for us – Butterflies in the Glasshouse.
From Sunday 18th January until 22nd February we are inviting you to enjoy the marvellous experience of walking around the warm, moist environment of the Tropical Zone in the Glasshouse, surrounded by glorious plant life and being delighted by hundreds of tropical butterflies. But how have we got them here? This is the behind-the-scenes story.
The pupae (plural of pupa) started to arrive from the Stratford-Upon-Avon Butterfly Farm www.butterflyfarm.co.uk a couple of weeks ago and the team had to glue them onto canes, making sure they were all the right way up. These canes were carefully put into a cabinet, or emergence box, to pupate in safety and then the butterflies were released directly into the Tropical Zone. Our first batch was of 700 pupae, with more to come in the next couple of weeks to bring the numbers up before they reach the end of their natural lives. (They have an average life expectancy of a couple of weeks). It’s been a lot of work, but a great learning experience, and the butterflies add a real touch of magic to the Glasshouse.
We have comprehensive and impressive interpretation to help you learn about the wonderful (and sometimes scarily large!) tropical butterflies in the Tropical Zone. And in the Glasshouse Gallery you can learn all about the importance of our native species. Here, too, you can buy butterfly merchandise and see amazing prints created by photographer Rakha Singh, where each image is made by photographing butterflies up to 50 times in tiny sections and ‘stitching’ together the images. This creates a huge file that can be printed as a large image with incredible detail such as individual scales and fine hairs on the butterfly’s wings.
It almost has me lost for words, and I am full of praise for everyone who has helped put this together. But most importantly, I hope you take the chance to come and enjoy it for yourselves.
Look out for more images soon.