The Bronx Zoo's
It was a beautiful summer day, so my friend Jenn Galvelis and I decided to take a trip to the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo. We both wanted to see everything, but our top priority was to see the butterflies! We weaved our way around past the bison, wolves and monkeys and were suddenly confronted by The Great Caterpillar. This huge 170-foot long Spicebush Swallowtail larva was waiting with its jaws wide open for us to enter. We decided to venture in.
Immediately upon our arrival, we were greeted by an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and a Zebra Longwing. They fluttered in front of our faces as if to show off their graceful wings. They flew away, leaving us standing amidst a beautiful oasis of lush green plants and flowers - a butterfly's heaven.
This is The Butterfly Zone's third season running. The two previous years brought in around 385,000 visitors per season, and it looks like the third year will be just as successful. It gives people a wonderful opportunity to experience butterflies close-up and learn more about them from the nicely designed interpretive signs throughout the exhibit. I especially enjoyed the cases of chrysalises within the exhibit. Ed Spevak, assistant curator of mammals and our guide through The Butterfly Zone, told us that they receive the insects as chrysalises and then exhibit them in these cases until they emerge as adults. They receive about 800-900 chrysalises each week while the exhibit is running! On average, there are about 1,000 butterflies and moths within the exhibit at one time, and over 35 species.
Upon exiting the giant caterpillar, you are confronted with The Butterfly Zone Maze. You are asked to take the challenge of starting as an egg and trying to make it through your life cycle. Dead ends bring no food, no mate, or even predators. It is a wonderful way to learn all of the phases of the butterfly's life cycle, common myths, adaptations and threats to its survival.
Once you make it through the maze, you enter the Butterfly Zone's Gardens. This beautifully landscaped garden will help you learn about the plant species that are crucial to the butterfly. Learn what to plant in your own garden in order to attract butterflies to your home. What a great way to become involved in butterfly conservation.
The Butterfly Zone was originally only meant to be a temporary exhibit. However, due to its incredible popularity, the zoo is going to make it a permanent exhibit some time within the next few years. Let's all show our support by taking a trip to The Butterfly Zone this season.
The Butterfly Zone is open from May 23rd to October 4th during regular zoo
hours. Admission is $1 Thursday through Tuesday and $2 on Wednesday. The Bronx
Zoo is open 365 days a year from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and until 5:30 p.m. on
weekends and holidays (April - October). Admission for adults is $7.75, $4.00
for children (2-12) and seniors (65 and over). Children under 2 years old are
free. General admission is free on Wednesdays. For directions and general
information, please call (718)367-1010 or visit their
Other places in the area to see butterflies.