“A small piece of paradise” is how Victoria’s Butterfly Gardens was once described – and a more appropriate phrase would be hard to find. Thousands of exotic moths and butterflies flutter freely amongst lush blooms and foliage in this unique and fragrant indoor tropical garden.
Twenty minutes north of Victoria, the Gardens are a riot of colour and sound. A wonderful family experience where almost 75 species are showcased from around the world. The Giant Atlas Moth from Southeast Asia is one example. Its one-foot wingspan is a sight you’ll not forget. Photo opportunities are plentiful, so why not join one of their free guided tours. Starting at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily, they are a great way to learn about the Gardens and their multi-coloured residents. For family groups, the Gardens offer a 10 percent discount on admission. Awarded Where Canada’s Best New or Improved Attraction for 2012 and the winner of Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence award for 2013, it is one of the most popular tourist spots in Victoria.
Butterflies and moths are not the only colourful spectacle in this amazing kingdom. Throughout the Gardens, you can enjoy geckos, chameleons, tree frogs, sulcata and red footed tortoises. Pause for a moment as brightly coloured goldfish, giant butterfly koi and carp flourish in a large water feature fed by gentle waterfalls.
Have your camera ready as you feast your eyes on exotic tropical ducks and button quail and watch your kids make friends with “Houdini” and “Mango” the Caribbean flamingoes. Enjoy the antics of “Bungee” the cockatoo, “Spike” the Peruvian Ibis and “Leo” the orange winged Amazon parrot. Meet the newest and most amusing additions, Bella, PW and Saffy the Indian ring-necked parakeets. Marvel at the thousands of tropical plants and over 200 orchids thriving in their controlled environment – a carefully balanced and unique eco-system. All around you songbirds fill the air with their tropical sounds. The Gardens are a truly memorable audio-visual adventure.
Education for everyone plays a central role at the Gardens. A fascinating preview video is a great way to start. This enables you to enter with some prior knowledge, giving you the chance to see far more. Inside the gardens, there is a naturalist who is available to answer any of your questions about the wondrous life cycle of both the butterflies and moths. Ask as many questions as you wish.
The specially themed gift shop is a must for those last-minute souvenirs. With plenty of variety for the butterfly enthusiast, their selections make ideal gifts or lasting memories. Whatever your choice, be it casual colourful textiles, wind chimes, stained glass or women’s fashions, their friendly staff will help you find it. Open daily, the gift shop can offer season pass holders 10 percent off their purchases. As well as shipping worldwide, they accept all major credit cards.
Situated close to the Butterfly Gardens, the Gazebo Bed and Breakfast is an ideal accommodation. Offering guests peaceful relaxation in a garden cottage or elegant private room, this well established B&B is surrounded by beautifully tended gardens. Cottage and guest rooms offer king, queen or twin beds and private ensuite bathrooms with whirlpool bath and shower. Traditional charm mingles with modern amenities in a location ideal for that special occasion, memorable vacation or romantic getaway. For details go to www.gazebo-victoria.com, or call (250)-727-2420.
If you are on the hunt for a totally unique venue for a birthday party, wedding or corporate event, the Butterfly Gardens couldn’t be a more perfect place. With warm, tropical temperatures year round, they can cater for all events large and small no matter what the weather. For a fun-filled family day out with a difference, the annual “Butterfly Places and Pumpkin Faces” open day is one event not to miss. Held in October, this charity event features pumpkin carving, garden tours, face painting and a petting zoo. Running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the open day is a fundraiser for the Victoria Hospital Association, and admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages three to 12.
Those fortunate enough to have had a butterfly land on their outstretched hand, will know what a unique experience it is. With their amazing and colourful selections from butterfly farms in Malaysia and Costa Rica, it is a delight that is virtually guaranteed. For adults and children alike, Victoria’s Butterfly Gardens is a wonderful tropical haven of information and learning. Entertaining and educational all at once. For more details, visit www.butterflygardens.com.