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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Mar 19, 2010

Butterfly park

One of the main reasons, besides seeing my mom, that I looked forward to my trip to the Caribbean was the prospect of seeing and taking pictures of birds and wildlife. This particular stop on our Caribbean cruise, St Thomas Island, was to be dedicated to exploring the local shops, tourist market and the beaches. So of course I was looking forward to visiting the beach, rather than the shopping.  Imagine my surprise in discovering that at the port in St Thomas, the first thing I was told about was a butterfly park situated directly next to the docks and cruise ships.

St Thomas harbour

Because time spent at each of the stops along the cruise is limited, and plans had already been made as to which activities would take place, at first I didn't think that I would get the opportunity to visit the butterfly gardens, but as it happens I did get to do just that, since my mother decided  that she would rather rest after shopping, than visit a local beach. Now of course, I was at first torn between visiting the beach and possibly seeing wildlife there and visiting the gardens.  In the end, despite an invitation to go to the beach by a couple we'd met aboard and an unexpected rainfall, I  decided on the butterfly gardens instead simply because  butterflies have a tendency to bring a certain amount of cheer into a day just by  their presence, and  I was very glad that I did.

St Thomas Tourist market & local foliage

Of course the shopping trip though interesting and expensive, had to be endured  first.  While the shopping  trip admittedly had allowed for the opportunity to take some really good pictures of the local vegetation, sea birds and of all things chickens roaming freely, humming bird nests, and some insights into the locals, I generally do not enjoy shopping, as I have very little patience for it.  In fact if it weren't for my  mom and promises to family to return with souvenirs, I would have by passed the shopping very cheerfully altogether and gone to the beach instead, and then the butterfly gardens.  But of course promises have to be kept and I will do almost anything for my mom.

Beautiful blue

Tour of the butterfly gardens included a guide's explanations of  life cycle of butterflies, preservation of butterflies, their feeding and survival habits and much more, and was very informative.  Entering the butterfly gardens was like entering a large securely closed gazebo, the walls made of fine mesh, allowing for an  open air atmosphere and for sunshine, and in this case rain  to enter.  The butterfly garden itself was about the size of very large entertainment tent, but well maintained and of course included a little shop for tourists before one entered the garden itself.   There were many species of butterfly and moths to be seen, and despite the rain which causes the butterflies to hide under the foliage and vine covered  shelters inside the gardens themselves, I managed to get some decent pictures.

Small and colorful

Giant butterfly

The butterflies of course varied in color and size and were absolutely beautiful, and the moths were huge. They were not the only inhabitants of the park either.  I saw  several lizards  hanging off  the mesh walls  and hiding in the foliage, which added a nice little bonus to the experience.  After the guided tour, we were invited  to explore the gardens at our leisure.  Which suited me just fine since, when I get in the mood to explore and observe, I like to take my  time, and of course I did pay to enter  the park.

Moths hanging from roof
Black and white butterfly

The park included a couple a small ponds and a display of butterfly cocoons, some of them in the process of hatching. Some of the larger cocoons even had a  gold sheen to them and were shining like a newly minted coins.  I found it all very fascinating.  It was explained that the butterflies would not be released once they were hatched, as some species have the potential to become a threat to the local ecosystem and also as pests.

Navy blue
Orange and white beauty

In fact when we first entered the park we were told that before we left the park, we were required to check ourselves to make sure that none of the butterflies had landed on us and thus prevent them from escaping as passengers on our person.  I didn't think this would happen of course, but to my incredible delight one butterfly did  indeed land on me at one point during the tour.

Butterfly garden pond

Since for some reason I don't see butterflies where I live very often, and certainly not the more exotic variety, visiting the park was a special event for me and the butterfly landing on me only caused it to be more so.  My only regrets,were that I couldn't stay longer to observe all the different butterfly species, and that it was raining intermittently throughout the tour causing most of them to hide. Still, even though I was soaked to the bone by the time I left the gardens, I was filled with joy and excitement.  If you love butterflies and ever happen to find yourself on St Thomas Island, the butterfly garden is an wonderful visual experience. 

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1 comment:

  1. Very nice! The butterfly park must have been really beautiful!