Wednesday, August 25, 2010

THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE FLUTTERS WITH ACTIVITY DURING ‘OCTOBER OWLS AND ORCHIDS’

WHAT:          October Owls and Orchids
            WHEN:          Oct. 1 through 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed Mondays except Oct. 11,
                                    Columbus Day); open late on Tuesdays, Oct. 5, 12, 19 and 26 from 4 to 7 p.m.
WHERE:        Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, 15193 Olive Blvd. at Faust Park
COST:            Included with Butterfly House admission
            ($6 adults; $4 children ages 3 to 12; free children ages 2 and under.)
INFO:              www.butterflyhouse.org; (636) 530-0076

(CHESTERFIELD):  The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House in Chesterfield is fluttering with activity this fall during October Owls and Orchids. Always a visual delight, the Butterfly House is adding to the excitement inside the 8,000-square-foot Tropical Conservatory by expanding its owl butterfly collection from 150 to nearly 2,000 animals - one of the largest concentrations in the world! The butterflies’ home will also be spruced up for the occasion with the addition of 100 vividly-blooming orchids to the existing lush plantings. Witness the spectacle from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, Oct. 1 through 31 (closed Mondays except Oct. 11, Columbus Day) and during extra evening hours from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, Oct. 5, 12, 19 and 26. The October Owls and Orchids experience is included with Butterfly House admission.
Owl butterflies (Caligo eurilochus, Caligo atreus and Caligo memnon) are most recognizable at roost, when the markings on the underside of their wings are prominently displayed. The animals’ name comes from these markings, which resemble a bright yellow owl eye, surrounded by rich, chocolate-colored feathers – a useful defense mechanism to scare away predators. Hungry owl butterflies feast on a diet of carrion, tree sap or juice from decaying fruit in the wilds of their native Costa Rica and Surinam. At the Butterfly House, strategically-placed, fruit-covered tree trunks will serve as a central gathering place for the hundreds of resting creatures and  as a unique photo opportunity for visitors.
They may roost the day away, but owl butterflies are not always so relaxed – in fact, they are most animated at dawn and dusk. While other creatures are settling in for the night, owl butterflies swoop through the conservatory at top speeds in groups of a dozen or more, actively seeking out food and mates. Watch these animals in action during expanded evening hours from 4 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday night in October. Explore on your own, or take a guided tour with Butterfly House staff at 6 p.m. As an added bonus, Tuesday evening visitors will receive a complimentary Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich coupon valid at Chick-fil-A at Chesterfield Valley (limit one per person, while supplies last).
Owl butterflies aren’t the only visual appeal at the Butterfly House in October. Day or night, nearly 100 blooming orchids (up to five times the normal collection size) will provide a treat for both the eyes and the nose, showcasing dazzling colors and fragrant scents. Stroll through the warm conservatory to spot Phalaenopsis, Cattleyas and Dendrobiums in all their glory, nestled alongside peacock flowers, powder puff trees, jungle geraniums and other tropical plants. Bring along your camera; hand-held photography is welcome for personal use only (tripods, monopods and external flash equipment is not permitted).
A host of special events are also planned throughout the month:
·        Saturday, Oct. 2 - Children can create colorful souvenirs and learn about owl butterflies with Craft Saturday activities from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
·        Saturday, Oct. 9 - Expand your knowledge of petals and wings beyond orchids and owls with a Butterfly Gardening with Native Plants class for adults from 2 to 4 p.m. Cost is $15 and advance registration is required; visit www.mobot.org/classes or call (314) 577-5140.
·        Friday, Oct. 15 - The Young Friends of the Missouri Botanical Garden bring their annual Fest-of-Ale to the Butterfly House from 6 to 10 p.m. Enjoy the flight of owl butterflies at dusk inside the conservatory, and then head outside for appetizers, beer and live music under the stars Cost is $30 per person ($15 for Garden members). Advance reservations are required; call (314) 577-9570 or visit www.mobot.org/membership/YoungFriends.
·        Tuesday, Oct. 19 - Feathered friends from the World Bird Sanctuary will join the other “owls” in residence from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
·        Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 23 and 24 – It’s the return of Bootterflies, the Butterfly House’s annual non-spooky Halloween family fun weekend, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Follow the lead of butterflies masquerading as owls – don your own Halloween costume to masquerade as someone or something else, too! Enjoy games and crafts inspired by insects, orchids and owl butterflies, designed for children ages 3 to 10.
·        Throughout October - Drop in the Lopata Learning Lab for hands-on family activities designed for ages 3 to 12 during expanded Tuesday evening hours. See all four stages of an owl butterfly’s life, make a colorful orchid mask, experience different smells and textures, play matching games and paint with watercolors. Pick up an all-ages quiz sheet and look around you for answers to the clues; complete it correctly to receive a same-day 10-percent discount in the Madame Butterfly Gift Shop.
The Butterfly House is located at 15193 Olive Blvd. at Faust Park in Chesterfield, Mo., accessible from Interstate 64 at exit #19B. October hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, Oct. 5, 12, 19 and 26, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays except Oct. 11, Columbus Day). The last ticket is sold 30 min. prior to closing each day.
Admission is $6 for adults (ages 13 to 64), $4.50 for seniors (ages 65 and over), and $4 for children (ages 3 to 12). Children ages 2 and under and Missouri Botanical Garden members are free.
For more information, visit www.butterflyhouse.org or call (636) 530-0076.
The Butterfly House is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
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NOTE: Digital images available by request. Download media materials at www.butterflyhouse.org/press.  

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