On Saturday September 26, Pacific Science Center’s Tropical Butterfly House was reopened to the public! After two weeks of closure, visitors will find a brighter, cleaner and more sparkly habitat for our butterflies.
Thanks to the heroic efforts of Horticulturists Jeff Leonard and Maida Ingalls, Discovery Corp Intern Ileana and many other staff members. Many hours of plant pruning, vacuuming, scrubbing and washing the garden surfaces are evident. All of our 1000 watt full spectrum light-bulbs were replaced to give the garden a natural daylight feel throughout the year.
The biggest job, of course, was replacing the netting that encloses the garden. The netting is essential as it is the secondary containment structure in the event of a breach in the glass windows. Life Science Manager, Sarah Moore explains the scope of the project like this:
“Imagine making a bed to hospital standards. Only the bed is 4000 square feet of surface area; and vertical instead of horizontal; and 15 feet high; with plants in it; then throw in some thumbtacks here and there to snag on the blankets. Getting nets to hang perpendicular and straight around all the obstacles is a fussy laborious process. It looks great now that it’s done!”
Frequent guests should notice a slightly different look in the Tropical Butterfly House. First of all, the new netting is orange! But as Sarah points out, “The new netting and lights give the garden a crispness. Pruning - in some cases removal - of a lot of plant material gives other plants a chance to show off a little. You know how products sometimes advertise ‘new and improved, same original formula’ or a similar oxymoron? The butterfly house cleanup somehow manages to actually embody that dynamic!”
Now is a great time to visit the Tropical Butterfly House! In addition to the fresh environment, the emerging window is full and daily releases will soon bring the butterfly population back up to it standard numbers. Also, keep in mind that with fewer school groups visiting this time of year, the butterfly house is a perfect place for a relaxing visit.