Jul 272016
 

Butterfly Magic at Assiniboine Park Zoo

A visit to the Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden at Assiniboine Park Zoo, Winnipeg, Manitoba

There is something magical about butterflies. They are beautiful and elusive and remind me of freedom, hope and joy. A glimpse of a butterfly flying by can lift one’s spirits. The butterflies at the Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden certainly put a smile on my face.

Shirley Richard Butterfly Garden at Assiniboine Park Zoo

The Garden is located within Assiniboine Park Zoo  in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is comprised of two 2000-square-foot mesh-covered quonsets connected by a central area. The central area contains a hatchery, displays and demonstration space.

butterflies in the Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden

Butterflies fly freely in the quonset

Butterfly Garden at Assiniboine Park Zoo

Gardens inside the quonsets contain annuals and perennials preferred by butterflies

Many cultures associated butterflies with the soul. Psyche, the Greek goddess of the soul, is depicted as a butterfly-winged woman. In Christianity the butterfly is a symbol of resurrection. To native Americans, the butterfly is a symbol of change and joy. The butterfly animal totem is associated with transformation.

Butterfly garden

Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden

Butterfly landed on my sister’s shirt

owl butterfly

This owl butterfly did not want to leave my niece’s leg

The average life of most butterflies ranges from one week to a month, although there are a few exceptions, such as Monarchs, with average lifespan of around nine months. The Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden brings in new butterflies every couple of weeks during its open season.

Assiniboine Park Zoo Butterfly Garden

Butterfly on dish

Assiniboine Park Zoo Butterfly Garden

Garden outside butterfly quonsets at Assiniboine Park Zoo

The area outside the quonsets contains beautiful gardens, planted with flowers to attract local butterflies. I didn’t notice any local butterflies, but I did see a large blue butterfly fly through a field as I left the area. It was definitely not a local and must have escaped from the quonsets in spite of air-locked entry and exit vestibules. We were very careful to make sure no butterfly hitchhiked on our bodies before we exited.

The Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden is open from late spring to early fall.

Assiniboine Park Zoo Butterfly Garden area

  4 Responses to “Butterfly Magic at Assiniboine Park Zoo”

  1. Assiniboine Park is a real gem in Winnipeg with some of the best gardeners/landscape artists on staff. I haven’t visited the butterfly garden as yet, but it looks lovely.

  2. Oh my! Butterfly Magic at Assiniboine Park Zoo does indeed look magical! I took my great nephew to a butterfly park in Florida…both of us were wide eyed with wonder the entire time. There truly is something magical about butterflies.

    • Jacquie, wide-eyed and smiling would describe me at the exhibit. It’s like the butterflies carry away some of what weighs you as they fly by.

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