Butterfly exhibit - sources for plants, etc.?

jennieboyer(8)January 6, 2014

Hi - I work at a small amusement park in south Georgia, and we are adding a butterfly exhibit this year (we have a petting zoo and interactive aviary already). We want to do this in as least a "commercial" way as we can, and want to be cognizant of education and conservation. We have other animals (from sulcala tortoises to lions and elephants), and so a lot of educational programs with out local schools.

I would love to get some recommendations on sources of plants and materials that could/should be used other than local, big box stores. Any non-profits that we could partner with and give credit to would be really good.

Also open to any suggestions or tips that you think could be helpful.


Jennie Boyer

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bernergrrl(z5 IL)

Hi there,

You could try looking for native plant growers--you will be looking for mostly nectar plants? There should be lists somewhere for plants native to your region that provide nectar. You can grow zinnias, Mexican Sunflowers, and Verbena bonariensis (popular nectar plants) at home or in a greenhouse.

If you want to show the different life cycles, you would need to include the host plants of the particular butterflies.

As far as education/conservation goes, maybe have a hand out for guests that explain how to create butterfly habitats at home.

I agree with staying away from big box stores for the most part since many of their plants could be treated by neonicontinoids and deliver sub-lethal effects to butterflies and other pollinators. Those pesticides are persistent and systemic.

Is your butterfly exhibit an enclosed one, or are you planning a butterfly garden?

Good luck with it and thanks for spreading the word about butterflies!


    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 9:20PM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

I recommend joining the International Association of Butterfly Exhibitors and Suppliers.
I have a friend that manages a local butterfly exhibit and her exhibit is a member of this organization.

Monarch Watch has a "Milkweed Market" now and is distributing local ecotypes of milkweed.

Monarchs Across Georgia

Pollinator Partnership

Georgia Native Plant Society

Wild Ones (Native Plant Non-Profit)

Butterfly Conservation Initiative

Sorry these aren't all linked. Just copy and paste. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 2:00PM
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There are many, many people who love to watch butterflies as they flit through the air slowly and gracefully. If you never have, you certainly should! Butterflies provide beauty in an often ugly world. They give us insight into the world of nature and how wonderful and complex it is. But the butterfly is much more than that.
Butterflies are some of the most beautiful and interesting creatures on Earth. A butterfly garden is an easy way to see more butterflies and to help them, since many natural butterfly habitats have been lost to human activities like building homes, roads and farms. It is easy to increase the number and variety of butterflies in your yard.
Creating a butterfly garden should start with some serious research to learn which kinds of butterflies are native to your area. You can learn that from this book âÂÂAttract Butterflies To Your GardenâÂÂ.
Here are some points you should focus:
A. Make a list of all of the different kinds of butterflies you would like to attract, and then learn which flowers and plants they both feed on and lay eggs on.
B. Plant the âÂÂButterfly Host Plantsâ to lay their eggs on.
C. You can add some butterfly garden accessories like a Butterfly House, which has slots the ideal size for keeping birds out while giving butterflies protection from the wind and weather, and are beautiful garden decorations. You could offer an additional nectar source close by to supplement your flowers.
D. Once you have designed and started your butterfly garden, you can be proud that you have made a habitat for butterflies in your own yard, which helps with the conservation of the many species of quickly disappearing butterflies today. You will certainly want to place your favorite outdoor furniture near so that you can enjoy all of your visitors day after day.

Here is a link that might be useful: Attract Butterflies To Your Garden

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 11:41PM
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