Fancy Nancy leads the Festival of Butterflies parade held each day of the festival at 11 a.m. Children display their own handmade wings and antennae and march from the north side of the Visitor Center, around the Fountain Garden and back. If you missed out, remember weekend II of the Festival of Butterflies is this weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday: August 13, 14-15. (photo by Linda K Williams)
The big question of the festival is when are the Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas) cocoons going to hatch? It is hard to fool mother nature and this largest moth in the world is on its own schedule. We will place any updates on this blog, Facebook and Twitter. Look for the cocoons in the Conservatory, and hopefully the moths soon!
Friday night’s Magical Moths and Milkshakes event attracted moths and nature enthusiasts to the black light stations. (photo by Betsy Betros)
This Wavy-lined Emerald was one of many moth species who showed the intricate colors and patterns found in our local wild moths on Friday night. Be sure and visit the Butterfly Museum and see this moth’s caterpillar which is known as the camouflaged looper as it attaches bits of the flower it is feeding on to itself for camouflage! (photo by Linda K Williams)
Other creatures of the night voiced their locations on Friday night like this Gray Treefrog. All-in-all the evening was a nice experience at Powell Gardens beyond the usual visitor hours including: katydids and frogs singing to a snorting armadillo in the grass, Venus and the Milky Way above. Thanks for the more than 100 people who attended this first-time (limited admission and sold out) event. (photo by Linda K Williams)
The Butterfly Breezeway in the front of the Visitor Center greets festival visitors with a up close and personal contact with our native butterflies and moths. Here volunteer Jane Jones shows off our biggest caterpillar from the largest moth in North America: a cecropia. (photo by Linda K Williams)
Another “breezeway” hoop house behind the Visitor Center offers more chances to see our locally native butterflies for a close encounter. This “caterpillar petting zoo” is where the Johnson County Kansas Extension Master Gardeners have a marvelous display of gardening for these “flying flowers” and offer chances to see many caterpillars up close. Monarch Watch (http://www.monarchwatch.org/) from Lawrence, KS also has a fantastic display of our popular Monarch butterfly with all stages of the butterfly present (eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises and adult butterflies) for your close observations. You may even see a Monarch emerge from its chrysalis right before your eyes! (photo by Linda K Williams)
Be sure and cool of in our interactive Fountain Garden. With temperatures in the 90’s the Fountain Garden was a popular destination! Make sure you stop by the homemade ice cream tent too for a chance to cool off. (photo by Linda K Williams)
The Butterfly Museum in the air conditioned Visitor Center also provides a cool place to learn and see local butterflies and moths. Here visiting children decked out in wings and antennae look at a display of the creatures of the night from moths to other insects that visit night lights. (photo by Betsy Betros)
Volunteer Brett Budach (left) shows off some of the critters he is raising in the Butterfly Museum and helps answer questions visitors may have. The table tent is full of Pipevine Swallowtail chrysalises that emerge throughout the day — another place to see a butterfly being born! (photo by Linda K Williams)
Brett’s Cecropia Caterpillars (from North America’s largest moth) are a major hit and most visitors don’t believe they are real. (photo by Linda K Williams)
Butterflies are still the stars of the show with magical Blue Morphos in the Conservatory and this beautiful male Pipevine Swallowtail in the entrance Butterfly Breezeway. (photo by Linda K Williams)
Be sure and visit the rest of the gardens and look at the wild butterflies like this Monarch nectaring on a purple coneflower. The annual North American Butterfly Association (http://www.naba.org/) butterfly count held at Powell Gardens counted its highest total of butterflies and this was the eighth annual count here. From the Heartland Harvest Garden to the Perennial Garden, wild butterflies have never been better.