Your Time: Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens, South Deerfield

  • Carlos Ayala —Kevin Gutting

  • Postman butterflies (Heliconius melpomene) —Kevin Gutting

  • 1. Richard Merriott 2. From left, John Ashey, Karelys Ayala, Noa Rhodes, Susan Raker, Karena Krouch, Deborah Felix 3. Coco Li 4. Karelys Ayala, Noa Rhodes 5. Jacob Roig, Wes Dunford 6. Ezra Meyer 7. Billy Chang 8. Avery Wright 9. Aaron Kennedy, Amber Strickland (holding a jungle nymph walking stick) 10. Rimas Santali, Melissa King

  • Ezra Meyer —Kevin Gutting

  • Billy Chang —Kevin Gutting

  • Jacob Roig, Wes Dunford —Kevin Gutting

Published: 6/2/2016 1:44:05 PM

At Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens in South Deerfield, visitors are treated to up-close and personal views of hundreds of very active butterflies, mostly tropical, and even some tropical, non-winged creatures like a bearded dragon and a jungle nymph walking stick.

The kindergarten students of Fort River School in Amherst formed the largest contingent of visitors one day last week after studying the lives of painted lady butterflies. Following a short educational introduction by Magic Wings “flight attendant” and guide Amber Strickland, the excited classes crowded into the display room to see exotic creatures, like the hissing cockroaches of Madagascar.

Then it was on to the large, airy and jungle-like Francis R. Redmond Conservatory to see the main attractions. All visitors are advised not to touch the butterflies — but the butterflies are not discouraged from landing on the visitors. A pair of butterflies landing on the clean-shaven head of John Ashey provided amusement for many of the kids. Ashey, of Springfield, noted that on a previous visit he had attracted eight butterflies at one time — all on his head.

For some kids, the tickle of the butterflies’ legs was too much to bear and for them the guides provided swatches of thin netting to cover themselves. But for most, the main goal seemed to have butterflies land on them. This required patience, sitting still and some bright clothing. Many had bright clothing; some had patience. Even fewer could sit still. But kindergartner Finn Jones had one butterfly land on his hand thanks to a “good luck” charm of sorts. He had borrowed his big sister’s tie-dye T-shirt that worked for her on her kindergarten visit.


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