Butterfly World, Coombs, Vancouver Island
to walk into Butterfly World and not stop dead in your tracks, stand
there slack-jawed and finally just say, Wow.
Nine times out of 10 thats what happens.
And no wonder. Youve just stepped out of the pretty mountain
scenery of Vancouver Island into a hot, humid, tropical jungle alive
with hundreds of darting, dancing, ballet-leaping exotic butterflies.
a swallowtail doing a jig just above your head, an owl butterfly
sipping nectar from a Day-Glo purple bougainvillea and if you stand
quite still, that huge Blue Morpho will probably settle on your
in Coombs, just north of Nanaimo is the oldest Butterfly house in
Canada and one of the most successful. Its not just a tourist
attraction, the staff say, its a real living, breathing, butterfly
habitat where you can see the entire life cycle of these gorgeous
creatures. Youll spot the miniature eggs on the understands
of palm leaves, the caterpillars munching on a giant banana frond
and the pupae clinging to jasmine vines. You can watch adults emerging
from their cocoons, gently drying their wings and eventually fluttering
off into the welcoming jungle.
Troops of school
children visit Butterfly World every day to marvel at the pool stocked
with koi and lazy turtles, the tropical birds nesting in the bushes
but most of all, at the fluttering creatures that seem like fairies
come to life. Alongside the paths are interpretive signs and the
helpful staff are always ready to tell you little known facts about
Like the fact
that butterflies wake up at about 10 AM and go to sleep at 5 PM
every day. And they hide under leaves when the sun isnt shining
because they think the monsoons are coming. And they sleep in the
exact same place every night. And the fact that different species
of butterflies have different tastes in food. Most of them sip on
nectar but some eat rotting vegetables - which explains the cut-up
bananas set out on the earth, and some feed on human perspiration
- which may explain why that gorgeous orange Flambeau just landed
on your ear.
in Coombs is open April through October, seven days a week 10 AM
to 5 PM (4 PM in April and October) Phone 250-248-7026.