New butterfly house debuts at Greensboro Science Center | Local

GREENSBORO — People can get up close and personal with butterflies with the latest addition to the Greensboro Science Center.

Along with the new Cole Family Monarch Conservation Center and Butterfly House, visitors can also experience the butterfly’s life cycle as part of a traveling exhibit in the form of a maze. Both officially debut on Friday.

“Both exhibits are made to bring conservation awareness to children of different ages,” said Rebekah Robinson, who handles public relations and social media for the science center. “The maze shows the learning process, while the garden is an example of the real-life experience.”

Butterfly Exhibit (copy)

Monarch butterflies share a flower in the Cole Family Monarch Conservation Center and Butterfly House at the Greensboro Science Center.

In the butterfly house and garden, visitors start their journey at the Crystal Chamber, which shows the beginning stages of a caterpillar’s life as it remakes itself into a butterfly. People can look through the glass to see the process. After the caterpillars morph into butterflies, the technicians move them into the garden.

Volunteers and butterfly technicians will answer questions that explain the lifespan of monarch butterflies. Inside, native butterflies fly everywhere with the plants creating a safe habitat for them.

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The purpose is to bring conservation awareness about the monarch butterfly and show others how easy it is to help them survive. People can help by planting milkweed plants because the larva needs it to become a butterfly. The butterfly house is one of many conservation projects at the science center, which donates 25 cents of each ticket to conservation efforts.

Butterfly Exhibit (copy)

The Cole Family Monarch Conservation Center and Butterfly House at the Greensboro Science Center hosts monarchs as well as other types of butterflies.

Henry Thomas, a butterfly expert who will be a part of the conservation experience, said the types of plants in the conservation center are also important.

“There are several different species of butterflies that require a certain amount of a plant to survive,” he said. “The dry tree plant is one of the plants that we have worked hard to maintain for the caterpillar because, without it, they will quickly decay.”

Butterfly Exhibit (copy)

A monarch caterpillar that will become an adult monarch butterfly feeds on a milkweed plant inside the Cole Family Monarch Conservation Center and Butterfly House at the Greensboro Science Center.

The butterfly house hosts monarchs as well as other types of butterflies. One of the challenges in creating the center was finding and maintaining the proper plants for all seven species that are featured. Workers use an extra greenhouse to grow all of the plants with proper care. According to conservationists, the lack of the milkweed plant, the main source of food for butterflies, is causing their decline globally.

The back of the garden features a mural by local artist Jeks with multicolored butterflies as a background to blend in with the flowers. There is even a physical art station that allows children to digitally “paint” butterflies. Along with the tour, visitors can see butterflies animated through the Greensboro Science Center app. People can use the app to make any butterfly in the house animated. They can also use the app to reserve a spot in line.

For butterfly lovers looking for more, the Greensboro Science Center has added a traveling exhibit with hands-on learning.

Butterfly Exhibit (copy)

Angelica Palmer, 5, colors a butterfly at an interactive station outside the butterfly house at the Greensboro Science Center.

Amazing Butterflies, created by The Natural History Museum in London in collaboration with Minotaur Mazes, will be open until Sept. 11. Each station offers an interactive activity for children, including a magnetic butterfly maze, life-sized butterfly crystals, nectar bottles, and a life-sized spider web made out of ropes that children can climb on.

Erica Brown, the science center’s marketing director, said it has been rewarding watching people learn more about butterflies “up close and personal.”

“After all the hard work that was put into this project, it feels nice to see the success of it all,” Brown said.

Contact Tanasia Moss at 336-373-7371.