Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory

The Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory is a butterfly zoo operated by the Niagara Parks Commission in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. It is located about 10 minutes (9 kilometers / 5.6 miles) north of Niagara Falls on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens & School of Horticulture, which is 40 hectares (99 acres) in size.[1][2][3] The conservatory was opened in December 1996 with a gift shop, 200-seat theater/auditorium room, and a climate-controlled greenhouse.[4][5][6] The conservatory has over 2,000 tropical butterflies from over 60 different species.[4] The conservatory glass dome is 1,022 square meters (11,000 sq ft) in size with 180 meters (590 ft) of paths inside the greenhouse portion, which has a wide variety of foliage.[1][2][4] The conservatory can accommodate up to 300 visitors per hour.[4] Since captive butterflies usually have a life span of 24 weeks, the conservatory imports up to 3,000 butterflies per month from world butterfly farms in Costa Rica, El Salvador, the Philippines, and Australia.[4][6][7] Special netting along the inside of the glass dome keeps the butterflies from getting stuck to it and from dying from hypothermia.[4] Butterfly food plants at the conservatory such as Lantana, Cuphea, Zinnia, Ixora, Liatris, and Pentas are replaced every 23 weeks because caterpillars have large appetites.[4] Visitors who want the butterflies to land on them should wear bright clothes, move slowly, and wear perfume or cologne.[5][6] Eurasian quails, turtles, goldfish, toads, and beetles help keep the insect population in balance.[6] The Emergence area allows visitors to view the butterfly life cycle and produces over 45,000 butterflies annually.[6][7] The species of butterfly at the conservatory include the Banded Orange, Blue Morpho, Common Mormon, Cydno Longwing, Doris Longwing, Gulf Fritillary, Julia, Low's Swallowtail, Monarch, Mosaic, Owl, Red Lacewing, Sara Longwing, and Small Postman.[ In tot l, the Commission is in charge of about 16.19 square kilometres (6.25 sq mi) of parkland along the river, in addition to the Niagara River Parkway which spans 56 kilometres (35 mi). In this corridor, the NPC manages numerous trails, historic sites, picnic areas, and attractions. These include Journey Behind the Falls, the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory, and the Queenston Floral Clock. The Commission manages Navy Island National Historic Site under a lease agreement with the Parks Canada. It also owns the Chippawa Battlefield Park, and has developed a historical interpretive walk at this War of 1812 site. The NPC also runs the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture and the adjoining Botanical Gardens. In 1997, the Butterfly Conservatory was added to the gardens. Other significant properties include the Mackenzie Printery & Newspaper Museum, which holds the nation's oldest press; McFarland House, an 18th Century Georgian home offering tours, tea, wine, and light fare; the Laura Secord Homestead, home to the heroine of the War of 1812, and a National Historic Site; and Old Fort Erie, a War of 1812 site that is claimed to be one of Canada's bloodiest battlefields. In addition, the NPC has placed dozens of green plaques marking significant sites and events along the Niagara River. Niagara Parks also operates the People Mover, a shuttle bus system intended to aid transportation along the Niagara River and help reduce automobile crowding near the Falls. The buses are powered by propane and include a trailer unit during most popular hours. In the long term, the Commission is planning for a fixed track transit system along the Niagara River Parkway, although no decision has been taken on the exact technology to be used.[2][3] NPC now attempts to protect the natural beauty and attract tourism along the Niagara River, Niagara Gorge and Niagara Falls. The NPC is a self-financed agency of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation.