The Conservatory is a delightfully year-round destination housing 2000 butterflies and moths, of which there are nearly 40 beautiful species arriving from the Philippines or Costa Rica.
A well-known hotspot amongst parents in this part of Ontario, the Conservatory is a welcome respite from the cold. At a constant 28 degrees celsius inside, it’s imperative you take off your coat. Even wearing a t-shirt, you’ll sweat. Imagine that, in February. We ventured out one frosty morning with our friends Homer and Emily and thankfully the sun came out which made the butterflies more active.
As soon as you open the doors to the conservatory it is an assault on the senses; not only is it steamy, it’s loud. But sit yourself on a bench next to the waterfall to observe a turtle or pair of nestling quail, and it’s tranquil. If you’re lucky, a butterfly will take a liking to you. There is “no such thing as a stinging butterfly,” so nothing to be afraid of.
For kids and exhausted parents like us, the facilities are particularly well-equipped. Moo delighted in trying on butterfly wings, antennae and butterfly-vision glasses. The staff are incredibly friendly and happy to answer any questions. At their work station you can see the butterflies in every stage of their development – especially cool are the magical green chrysalides hanging upside down.
There are other bugs around as well. Our daughter was a bit intimidated by the awesome Atlas beetle, a large shiny black horned insect known for its strength on display prior to entering the Conservatory. Their pinned insect collection is also excellent and vastly interesting. Our favourites were definitely the popular blue morphos and owl butterflies.
Unfortunately, leaving the Conservatory means reentering the February cold outside, but at least we left feeling a little warmer.