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Welcome, butterflies! Butterfly release comes to Huntsville Botanical Garden

It's time to welcome butterflies back to the Huntsville Botanical Garden!

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — It's butterfly season at Huntsville Botanical Garden! Flutter on over to the garden to celebrate one of nature’s most beautiful creatures. Butterflies returned to the Purdy Butterfly House at HBG on Saturday.

Guests of all ages can share in the magic of safely releasing live butterflies into the Purdy Butterfly House, which re-opened after being closed for maintenance. The program begins with a brief presentation about butterflies and their habitat, followed by the safe restoration of the Garden’s indoor butterfly population.

Nettie Hardy, a horticulture educator at HBG, says during the presentation, "they'll talk about the lifecycle in our butterflies and then our adult butterflies come in little individual envelopes. And they've been cooled down so their metabolism slows down so that they can survive. And we warm them back up and then we let the public help us release them."

At any given time, 800 to 1,200 butterflies could be in the butterfly house.

Averie, a butterfly enthusiast, says she loves these creatures because, "they're just really unique."

And as they're beautiful and 'unique,' they're also very important to our ecosystem.

"They're incredibly important. All of our pollinators are. They pollinate our plants, which are incredibly important for our food and a lot of other things that humans rely on. They also are helping us increase our biodiversity," Hardy said.

Providing a safe habitat for these butterflies can be crucial and it's something you can even prepare in your own yard.

"Habitat is one of the most important things to support butterflies. A lot of that is planting more natives, incorporating nectar plants in your annuals that you plant, including houseplants, so that they can lay eggs and go through their lifecycle in your yard and provide shelter, a water source," Hardy said.

Averie had a special experience with these butterflies, "my momma was going to get a picture and it was like, it like, landed right on my dress. And then another time we were walking and it landed on my shoe, which was fun."

Hardy shares some of the best ways to interact with the butterflies is to, "try to find somewhere sunny because they need the sun. They're cold blooded. Get close to one of our nectar plants, which is normally where they'll feed. And to either sit or stand, get really nice and still."

Butterfly releases take place throughout the summer, and each program lasts approximately 30 minutes. Registration is required and space is limited. Butterfly releases are $8 per person, in addition to Garden admission for non-members.

Additional butterfly releases are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on each of the following days:

  • May 27
  • June 3
  • June 17
  • July 1
  • July 15
  • July 29
  • August 12
  • August 26
  • September 2
  • September 16

Entry to the Purdy Butterfly House outside of butterfly release program times is included in daily Garden admission. For more information, click here.

Other spring activities going on at the garden include Dog Nights, Faeries in the Garden, Founders Day Party, Family Campouts in the Garden, Origami in the Garden and Stickwork special installations, nature and gardening classes for all ages, and more.

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