Waterfall. Photo: www.butterflyworld.com
The largest butterfly habitat is right here in Florida. If you’re a fan of butterflies and their conservation, you may want to visit Butterfly World. This habitat for butterflies is also the largest in the entire world. Thousands of different types of butterflies call this place home and flutter around the premises happy and carefree. Sometimes they even land on your head or on your nose. Wouldn’t you want to experience such a place?
The butterfly house first opened to the public in 1988 and it was the very first park of its kind to open in the Western Hemisphere. The park is also home to over 600 birds that fly free like butterflies (pun intended). Additionally, there are other species of insects and birds housed on the premises.
Butterfly World is the creation of Ronald Boender. Born of Dutch immigrants, Boender grew up in Illinois and was always fascinated by butterflies. After retiring from a successful career as an electrical engineer, Boender moved to Florida in 1968 where he decided to pursue his life-long interest in butterflies. He began by raising local butterflies and butterfly food plants in small numbers at his home.
From there, after hearing there was a market for “farmed” butterflies for sale to Universities and Zoos, Boender decided to start his own commercial butterfly farm, MetaScience Co., in 1984. While working on his farm, Boender heard of the London Butterfly House. So he got on a plane and headed to England in 1985 to meet with the House’s owner and founder, Clive Farrell. They became friends almost immediately and soon were partners in the venture that became Butterfly World.
Watch a video about Butterfly World here.
Butterfly World opened its doors on March 28, 1988. Butterfly World is made up of 3 acres of butterfly aviaries, botanical gardens and the functional butterfly farm and research center established by Boender. As well as establishing Butterfly World, Boender helped start a campaign in 1988 to educate and supply FREE butterfly gardening materials specific to each region, called “Bring Back the Butterflies” Campaign. The campaign has proven successful, making thousands of new butterfly habitats possible in North America.
For more information on the park, the types of animals there and to get your tickets. Please visit the Butterfly World website.