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White Christmas at Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory

QMI Agency writer Jim Fox.

By Jim Fox, Special to Postmedia Network

A rice paper butterfly rests on a leaf at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. (Jim Fox/Special to QMI Agency)

A rice paper butterfly rests on a leaf at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. (Jim Fox/Special to QMI Agency)

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ONTARIO - It's going to be a white Christmas at Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. Thousands of rice paper butterflies are making it so for the 6th annual Flight of White.

“This truly unique holiday exhibit transforms the tropical butterfly conservatory into a magical oasis featuring thousands of additional rice paper butterflies that flutter like snowflakes throughout the conservatory,” said Doug Wilson, board chair.

With a wingspan of up to 14 centimetres, this species of butterfly – a large white relative of the monarch – is “impossible to miss as it floats through the air, moving gently from flower to flower,” he added.

The Flight of White experience also includes lush tropical poinsettia flowers, thousands of sparking white lights and the soft strains of classical music playing in the background.

“The rice paper is a favourite of our guests because among all of our butterflies, they land on visitors most often,” said Adrienne Brewster, executive director and curator.

As visitors stroll through the exhibit, they encounter fascinating information about the rice paper’s behaviour and biology, she added.

The butterfly conservatory is a “cheap trip to the tropics,” Wilson said and the current exhibit is a “relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of holiday activities.”

It’s a great spot to spend a few hours with some 2,000 free-flying butterflies in an inviting enclave that’s warm and humid with cascading waterfalls, flora and fauna.

This lush and tropical privately owned indoor conservatory has 75 species of plants along with birds, bugs and Cheecho – the fun-loving, green-cheeked and cheeky conure parrot – native to South America.

There are waterfalls, streams, reflecting pools, tropical finches, Chinese painted quail and red-eared slider turtles in the facility where the temperature ranges from 24C to 28C with high humidity.

Visitors stroll along the pathways to discover various types of butterflies that are hatched from shipments received from Costa Rica and the Philippines. They are flying, resting on leaves and feasting on fruit and nectar drinks.

Humans can also feast at the Paradise Garden Cafe offering a “fresh and healthy menu” with daily features prepared from fresh and locally farmed ingredients or visit the Paradise Gift Store selling butterfly and bug collectables, framed butterflies and insects, nature books, educational children’s toys and more.

NEED TO KNOW

Flight of White continues throughout the holidays and until Jan. 30 at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory, 2500 Kossuth Rd., Cambridge.

It’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Mondays, through March 1, but open on Dec. 29 and Family Day, Feb. 16. It is also closed from Dec. 22 to 26 and on Jan. 1.

Admission is $11.50 adults; $10.25, seniors 65 and older, and youths, 13 to 17; $6, children three to 12; and free for infants to age two. There’s a 10% discount for buying tickets online. Parking is free. cambridgebutterfly.com.


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