Butterflies and Bugs in Stratford-upon-Avon
We just had the most amazing time at the Butterfly Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon. We didn’t know quite what to expect, other than butterflies, of course, because it had been quite a few years since we visited last and we knew that a lot of work had been done on the farm since then. And it really had….
The main attraction at The Butterfly Farm is, of course, still the beautiful butterflies. The huge flight area is warm created to liken the exotic rain-forest in temperature as well as in habitat, and home to more than 1500 butterflies. It is the largest of it’s kind in the UK and it is magnificent!
You can spend hours in the flight area, walk around and explore, take a seat and wait for the pretty butterflies to get up close and personal with you, they will land on you and stay a while if you sit quietly, there really is no better place to study and explore the lives of these beautiful creatures.
The butterflies in the flight area have some non-butterfly friends too, in two awesome iguanas, Stumpy and Princess. The two are green iguanas from South America, both donated to the Butterfly Farm several years ago and now living the high life in the trees in the flight area alongside quite a few seed- and fruit eating birds (the insect-eating kind wouldn’t work so well for the butterflies)
There are quite a few birds in the flight area also, all of them chosen for being the kind of bird who like to eat seeds and fruit rather than insects and butterflies… obviously. They are budgerigars, parakeets, mousebirds and Chinese painted quail, among others.
The Mini-Beast Metropolis
The Butterfly Farm is home to some magnificent creepy crawlies as well. We entered The Mini-Beast Metropolis and were simply bowled over with what met us in there: A Leafcutter Ant Colony that goes from a huge Queen’s ‘nest’ at one end of the room to the food area in the other, with a ‘pit-stop’ over an aquarium. All areas are connected by 15 meters of rope where the worker ants walk with pieces of leaves. It is incredible! You are able to get so close without disturbing nature, you can see the thousands and thousands of ants working their way from one end of the room to the other, I never thought I’d be able to see that, but there it is, right in front of you, close enough to touch (not that you would, of course, they are creepy crawlies after all.
The Creepy Crawlies
All around the walls in the room where ants travel above your head, is aquariums and terrariums with pretty fish, not so pretty bugs and insects and the biggest spiders I have EVER seen! While I loved the fact that the ants are walking right above your head, I loved even more that the rest of the mini-beasts did not, but behind glass they are interesting to study – they were not just an opening act or a bi-attraction to the butterflies, they were worth going for in their own right.
The Discovery Zone
The third section of the farm is the Discovery Zone – now, if we thought we’d been ‘up close and personal’ with the butterflies and ants before, we were wrong. In the Discovery Zone it was about to get a lot more personal! In here we were accompanied by a couple of escapees from the flight zone, in the form of two of the unbelievably beautiful Blue Morpho butterflies. They didn’t sit still with their wings open close enough or for long enough for us to take a good picture, so this image is courtesy of The Butterfly Farm, but it’s just too pretty not to share.
The real up close experience was not with the blue beauties, however, it was with a MAHOOSIVE millipede that the kids were brave enough to handle (me, not so much!) and a giant prickly stick insect (yes, that really is it’s name!). And I may not have been up for a cuddle with the two crawlies, but it was so interesting to see them so close and to hear about them.
In the Discovery Zone you will also learn about all the stages of butterflies’ life cycles from egg and catepillar to chrysalis and butterfly. It’s so interesting to both see and experience these stages in an environment where you feel you are in it rather than outside looking in.
At the end of our experience at The Butterfly Farm, we’re let loose in the gift shop, a super shop with all things butterflies, bugs and creepy crawlies – we loved that too!
For a super experience for any age, we simply cannot recommend The Butterfly Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon enough – we all loved it and left having learnt so much about so many insects, reptiles and butterflies.