Located on the lands of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens
and School of Horticulture, about 9 kilometres north of the waterfalls, the Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory
is the largest butterfly zoo in Canada and one of the largest in the world.
The facility consists of a large (over 1000 square meters) glass dome conservatory with about 180 meters of meandering paths amid lush tropical rainforest foliage, ponds and a beautiful waterfall. Within the conservatory, close to 2000 butterflies of no less than 45 different species fly freely among the vegetation, stopping on food plants and feeding stations, and also on the shoulders of visitors wearing white or colourful garments.
Depending on the species, some butterflies can live for just a few weeks to almost a year. Although the conservatory provides most of the environmental conditions for tropical butterflies to live and reproduce, most captive butterflies complete their four-stage life cycle (egg, larva, pupa, and adult) in about 4 weeks. Therefore, the Niagara Falls Conservatory regularly imports about 60 -70% of its butterfly population from breeding farms in Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador) and from the Philippines, Australia or South Florida.
The large pavilion replicates a tropical balanced environment with high temperature and humidity. A high tech climate control system maintains a constant 26.6 °Celsius and 84% humidity. Plants preferred by voracious caterpillars are frequently replaced. Animals such as turtles, goldfish, koi, and toads living in the ponds, and beetles on the grounds, take care of dead butterflies, control parasitic pests and assist in keeping the insect population balanced and healthy.
The Niagara Falls Butterfly Conservatory
provides a delightful exotic break for visitors to the Niagara Falls area and a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the beauty of these colourful insects while learning about their diversity, live cycle and habitat at the visitors’ orientation section of the complex which include a video theatre and interactive displays.
The Conservatory offers especial events and seasonal displays. A new exhibit called “The Enchanted Rainforest”
will be on display until January 6, 2013. Fall hours (to Dec. 23rd) are 10:00 to 16:00 hrs.