Butterfly Exhibit returns to Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens

Online Staff Report

Back by popular demand, butterflies! Last April, thousands of visitors watched these amazing insects fly right past them at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens, 1354 N. Second St., Rockford. This year, the Butterfly Exhibit has extended dates and extended hours.

Guests can explore the 11,000-square-foot-tropical exhibition area while seeing hundreds of native butterflies, including Monarchs and Painted Ladies, up close.

Inside the conservatory, experience the magical world of butterflies by visiting a special butterfly house where you will be surrounded by live butterflies exploring in a tropical environment. See the whole butterfly lifecycle in action as you view butterflies emerge from their chrysalis, and watch Monarch caterpillars munch on milkweed.

Butterfly Exhibit highlights

• Emergence box where you can see the metamorphosis process in action;

• Learn and watch what butterflies eat, how they grow, and where they live; and

• Adopt-a-Butterfly — A $7 donation includes a seed packet of favorite butterfly flowers, a Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens butterfly window cling, and your name on the 2014 adopt-a-butterfly wall, which is on display during the exhibit.

Butterfly Exhibit hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday; and 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Additional butterfly-related activities

Butterfly Release Celebration — A live butterfly release is a beautiful and symbolic gesture of freedom, life and love. Memorialize a loved one, honor a birthday, anniversary, wedding, or even “pop the question” in an unforgettable way at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens. Call (815) 987-1654 for more information.

Breakfast with the Butterflies — Saturdays, April 5, 12, 19 or 26; 8 to 9:30 a.m. Food provided by Granite City, and fun butterfly activities and crafts. Guests will also be able to walk through the exhibit and experience the magic of live butterflies. Cost is $8 for residents of Winnebago County, $10 for non-residents. Children ages 4 and younger are half-price. Call (815) 987-8858 or visit www.nicholasconservatory.com to register. Register early, as this program fills fast.

Butterfly Face Painting by Cyncie — March 29 or April 26; noon to 2 p.m. Cyncie is back, and ready to paint a beautiful butterfly on your face or hand; free with admission.

Make-It, Take-It — Join the conservatory for a fun craft activity you can take with you. Available most weekends and school holidays; free with admission. Following are Make-It, Take-It events:

• Butterfly visors — March 29 and 30, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;

• Caterpillar magnets — April 3 and 17, 4 to 7 p.m.; April 5, 6 and 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; April 18, noon to 3 p.m.; and

• Butterfly magnets — April 12, 13, 26 and 27, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; April 24, 4 to 7 p.m.

Botany Lab: Magnificent Metamorphosis — Wednesday, March 26, or Friday, April 18, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Learn about the butterfly lifecycle, and see metamorphosis live in action. Also learn about metamorphosis in other insects. (Includes admission for one parent/guardian, must be present at all times). Ages 5-12, $8 residents of Winnebago County, $10 non-residents.

Botany Lab: Backyard Butterfly Garden — Friday, March 28, or Saturday, May 3, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Bring the butterflies to your back yard! Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens education staff will show you the many ways you can make your yard and community butterfly friendly. Plant butterfly favorite plants to take home. (Includes admission for one parent/guardian, must be present at all times.) Ages 5-12, $8 residents of Winnebago County, $10 non-residents.

Build a Butterfly-Friendly Garden — Adult Class — Saturday, May 10; 1 to 2 p.m. As the butterfly exhibit at Nicholas Conservatory comes to a close, the season for butterflies in northern Illinois is just beginning. Learn from Nicholas Conservatory staff how easy it is to incorporate butterfly-friendly principles into your yard and garden. Free with admission.

Registrations are taken at (815) 987-8858, online at www.rockfordparkdistrict.org (click My RPD), by mail, fax, or at Customer Service locations in downtown Rockford, or at Carlson Ice Arena, Riverside and Perryville, Loves Park, Ill.

Posted March 26, 2014

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