A hobby gone mad is the way Lloyd Hollett describes how his insectarium – only one of two of its kind in Canada – took flight.
Privately owned and in business for eleven years, the Newfoundland Insectarium‘s big wow factor is the 10,000-square-foot butterfly garden. Approximately 1000 tropical butterflies, mainly from Costa Rica and The Philippines, flap freely in this zone of zen with a goldfish-filled pond in the centre and two benches along the side where you can sit and listen to a soothing fountain and have a butterfly (or three) land on your shoulder.
The most popular is the Blue Morpho butterfly and there is even a nursery called The Emergence Room where the chrysalis are mounted and visitors can watch the organisms break out and slowly pump up their wings and take flight for the first time. As many as 110 have hatched in one day.
There are three floors all together in this converted dairy barn that sits alongside the Humber River just minutes north of Deer Lake. The second floor is neatly separated into geographic regions and is a mix of 30 per cent live displays and 70 per cent mounted. A real crowd pleaser is the new Leaf-Cutter Ant terrarium display. Here you can watch these industrious insects go back and forth taking foliage to their nest in hopes of growing mushrooms. Similarly, the beehive is not to be missed and if you look closely you can even catch some doing the waggle dance—something you never knew you wanted to see, but must!
For the bold there are several insects that can be held including the fascinating Wandering Leaf that, you guessed it, looks exactly like a leaf. Not for the ticklish! The ultra brave can hit the top floor and check out the big spiders if they dare—looking, not touching! As well, a series of fun insect focused videos plays in a cozy movie room on the site.
Wheelchair accessible and open seven days a week from mid-May to mid-October; tickets are $10 for adults, $8.50 for seniors, $6.50 for children under 15, and $30 for families.