Up, Up and Away

See the butterfly flutter by

Butterfly on the rocks.


Halloween colors are in this season.

Story and photos by Bondo Wyszpolski

The butterflies are out, or rather they’re in — inside of a walkthrough, tentlike pavilion created by Spineless Wonders and stocked with an abundance of painted ladies, blue morphos, giant swallowtails, and other tropical butterflies. SOAR invites us to cavort with these living bits of vividly-hued confetti as they flutter around us.

Someone didn’t just go out with a butterfly net one morning to capture these little guys; they were bred on butterfly farms, although originally from all over the Americas. While many of them cling to the netting, some hover about the flower beds and many others — seeking warmth — lie flat on the gravel walkway: prime candidates for the soles of your shoe (so tread lightly). They prefer bright colors, so dress like a Van Gogh painting and you may soon have one or two on your clothing. When we leave, of course, we are told to beware of hitchhikers. There are mirrors near the exit to ensure us and others that we’re not harboring any fugitives.

Unlike elephants, giant tortoises, and Okinawans, the lifespan of a butterfly is considerably shorter than its wingspan: They only live two to four weeks. However, SOAR is replenished regularly. 

After the exhibit closes to the public its little residents will be allowed to die out naturally. When the last one gives up the ghost, the pavilion comes down. [News flash: the pavilion will stay up, and Monarchs will be introduced in the fall]

Special Bonus Photo: Larry has just learned where the butterflies are

Capacity is limited, so tickets are timed and reservations are necessary. No food or drinks allowed, and no baby strollers. Admission for members is just five bucks, but for the rest of us admission to the gardens and the pavilion can top out at $22 adults ($18 seniors and students with ID), $12 ages 5 to 12, and $7 ages 2 to 4. The interactive exhibit is up through July 31.

South Coast Botanic Garden is located at 26300 Crenshaw Blvd, Palos Verdes Peninsula. To buy tickets tap into SouthCoastBotanicGarden.org/soar/. ER


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Written by: Bondo Wyszpolski

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