Butterflies are cold-blooded insects which means they take the temperature from the air around them. In order to fly, their body temperature needs to be between 30-35°C (85-100°F)
Butterflies heat up by basking in the sun with their wings open, and they also absorb heat from warm rocks and bare ground. In the conservatory I could find the most butterflies in the sunny areas and only a few in the shady part of the garden. Hahaha, it meant that I got boiling hot, but they seem to enjoy this tropical heat a lot. Butterflies control how much warmth they're getting by slowly opening and closing their wings.
Did you know that all butterflies have six legs and feet? In this photo you can see it clearly, as it has three legs on the one side, hahaha, and I assume it has three on the other side as well ;-) But it's not always that easy to spot all the legs. Some species keep their front pair of legs tucked up under the body, and that makes it difficult to see all of them.
Did you know that butterflies don't have mouths that allow them to bite or chew? Butterflies don't have jaws so all their food must be liquid. They have a hollow tongue, called a proboscis, which they use to suck up their food, nectar and juices. It's a bit like drinking through a straw. When not in use, the proboscis remains coiled like a garden hose.
Their antennae are club-shaped, like a baseball bat, and they use them to smell and help keep their balance. And as you can see in the photo, it's amazing how they can balance, even on a delicate flower like this.
Butterflies roost for about 14 hours each day, usually upside down and often on the underside of leaves. Some species roost on grass stems. They roost overnight and in bad weather.
I spotted this owl butterfly hanging underneath a leaf.
The greenhouse is wonderful, as you can see in the picture it isn't big, but it is lush green with all the plants overhanging the pathway. In the middle of the conservatory is a little stream and even a waterfall.
The Conservatory is over 10,000 square feet in size and the temperature ranges from 24°C(75°F) to 28°C(82°F) year round.
In the distance you can see one of the employees walking towards me. They are so very friendly and helpfull. If you have any question about the butterflies when you are there, don't hesitate to ask them, they love to tell you all about the butterflies and the conservatory.
Besides the greenhouse there are two exhibition rooms as well. I won't show any of that in my travelpage, but I do want to mention them.
The Flying Jewels exhibit room contains one of the most renowned collections of butterflies and moths in Canada.
The Incredible World of Bugs exhibit room is full of exotic species from the insect world.
I am not an expert on butterflies, I just love to see them. So I hope I have found the right names for the butterflies on this page.
This is the Zebra Longwing Butterfly (Heliconius charitonia). The zebra longwing has elongated, black wings with yellow stripes, a thin abdomen and long antennae. The butterfly's brilliant colors serve as a warning to predators of it's nauseating taste if eaten. The diet of the longwing larvae consists entirely of passion flowers.
Zebra butterflies seem to be the most intelligent of butterflies and have a structured social life. The zebra longwings sleep in groups and return to the same roost every night. The oldest butterflies seem to have first choice at sleeping perches. At dawn the first butterfly up wakes the others by gently touching them.
This flying insect lives in tropical areas of southern North America, the West Indies, Central America, and northern South America.
This butterfly was hard to spot as it was hanging on the stem of a tree low to the ground in a dark corner. That was what was so great in the butterfly conservatory as well; the more I looked around the more butterflies I could see. Some had bright colours and others, like this one, had more mimicry and were harder to find.
the Owl Butterfly (Caligo memnon memnon) has a big spot for defense. When the butterfly spreads its wings, the two eyes look like an Owl's face. Little birds that eat butterflies get eaten by owls, so they fly away from the scary butterfly.
You can find these butterflies widespread throughout South America, from Argentina up to Surinam.
The whole Conservatory is filled with tropical plants and beautiful flowers. Of course the butterflies love them. I think that these wonderful flowers add so much to the charm of this Butterfly Conservatory. There are a few artificial feeders around for the butterfly, but the butterflies seem to prefer the flowers. I don't like those artificial plastic feeders, it makes it all so unnatural. The flowers make the Conservatory into a beautiful place, and I think the butterflies agree with me when I say that :-)
After you've visited the butterflies it's nice to take a walk on this nature trail that starts right beside the greenhouse. I didn't do the hike because it is still so early in the season and there isn't so much to see there now. But next time I'll certainly will! It looks like a lovely trail to walk on a nice sunny day!
Hahaha, it's actually not so easy to take a good picture of a butterfly as it might seem. They never want to sit still and pose for the picture ;-)
I have to figure out still what kind of butterfly this is... so if anyone knows... please let me know! The same goes for all the other butterflies on this page that I don't know the name of.
The linear trail is a great little gem tucked away that you would never find unless you live in Preston. Directions below. The trail itself twists and turns to follow the Speed River so it is actually about an hour and a half walk and you can also kayak along the river.
This trail is a great way to escape the idea that you are in a small city. it is a gravel pathway lined with trees and stunning nature. I have even seen giant deer dart out of one end and buond across the trail to disappear wherever.
The only downside of it is that people love to go fishing and drinking along the water which runs away from the main trail so it tends to add a lower end vibe to certain areas. When I first moved here 5 years ago this place was a treasure find where I could run my dog off his leash along the waterbank and now I hate taking my dog along the water because of glass from broken beer bottles and the remnants of hobo camps. It drives me nuts that people want nature and yet I find their empty water bottles everywhere and Timmies coffee cups. Stick to the main trail.
Whenever I go to a new town I love to explore their main street. To me this sort of tells me the vibe of the town or city I am in. Generally I look for the same things; cute stores, cafes, and funky restaurants. Our main street is no different then most I suppose, but it is worth a look. It runs the gamut of a variety of shops with no particular theme. There is a retro sweet shop, an organic wool shop, an upscale furniture boutique, and a few clothing boutiques- some consignment designer or just designer (Joseph Ribcoff seems to be popular here). The age range seems to be a little older as there are several retirement apartments and homes in the area but there are some things for the younger generations.
My personal must stop in at just for fun are: Ginny's for her neat variety of different shoes and purses ( I've gotten several pairs of black boots for a steal) as well as other little things, The Cambridge Book Nook for used books ( home of the half price paperback), Nest for funky shabby chic home items and Iguana Beads for imported beads and hand made jewellery.
Follow this browsing with lunch at the Groove Kitchen for a funky atmosphere and great eats.
Fusionmovement yoga studio offers a variety of drop in yoga classes. There is no snotty attitude - the staff are all very out-going and welcoming. Classes are your first two for $10 and after that $15 for drop in. Classes are offered up to 5x a day in various styles: Hatha, hot power vinyasa ( which is their most popular and dynamic),yogafusion( yoga and free form dance), kundalini, pilates, gentle and rejuvenating flow. They have a community class every Sunday for $5 at 10:30am. The main instructors/owners were trained by Shiva Rea so the classes are never dull or static- you get a great workout and can really develop your practice.
This is great day outing location with the kids. Drive through or if you are worried about your vehicle take the park bus through the African Lion Safari. Beware, I have seen cars coming out without their license plates, not a good thing especially if you are from out of town. Other damage has been known to happen the animals can be all over your car. Feeding the animals in not done. There is even a small but nice water play area for the kids.
Refer to the Lion Safari web site for further details and maps.
Admission to African Lion Safari Includes Leisurely cruise aboard the "African Queen" Boat - very pleasant tour around Water Safari Lake and islands with some exotic primates including the Ring-tailed lemur, black and white ruffed lemur and spider monkey.
Boat tour takes about 15 minutes.
Open daily at 11:00 a.m., weather permitting.