Cockrell Butterfly Center Houston Reviews
A Compact Rainforest in Houston Dec 22, 2009
If you cannot visit a rainforest, the Cockrell Butterfly Center may be the next best thing. Located inside a glass dome in the Houston Museum of Natural Science, over 100 exotic species of butterflies reside at the Butterfly Center. Seeing these insects at close range is a great experience and photo opportunities are everywhere.
The dome is heated to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with an 80% humidity level--the perfect condition for butterflies. These colorful insects are provided from various farms around the world including Malaysia, Costa Rica, Tanzania and the Philippines. The butterflies float around the dome and are not afraid of visitors. Two butterflies sat on my hands while one sat on my camera lens.
A waterfall, along with different fruit plants, generate the feel of an actual rainforest. The sounds of chirping birds add to the effect. It is very peaceful walking along the trails while butterflies circle the flowering plants. The museum has also scattered bowls of fruit and sponge-soaked nutrients throughout the forest to ensure large levels of butterflies.
If the weather is sunny, a large iguana will also be sunning itself by the glass windows.
The museum maintains about 1,500 to 2,000 butterflies in the Center at any one time. To keep these levels of insects, nearly 1,000 butterflies are imported weekly. I didn't realize that a special permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is required for imports as butterflies are considered pests.
If you are visiting Houston, the Cockrell Butterfly Center is unique. Admission is $8.00 and children in particular delight in seeing the butterflies along the trails. I had to laugh that when leaving the Center, there is a mirror to make sure butterflies have not stowed themselves in your hair, clothing or carry bags. Signs warn visitors to "Beware of Stowaways" and I had to make sure no butterflies left with me.
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