Butterfly House to open for the season at Thompson Park Zoo

WATERTOWN, N.Y. — The Heather A. Freeman Butterfly House at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park is scheduled to open to the public this weekend – May 26, 2018. The Zoo will open at 10:00 and activities will run from 11:00-3:00.

Ceremonies will begin with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:00. The Butterfly House will begin letting visitors in after the ceremony.

In addition to the Grand Opening ceremonies, staff and volunteers will be on site with activities and opportunities including “Sponsor a Butterfly” – a new chance to help raise and release monarchs (monarchs are currently under review to be classified as an endangered species). Each $5 sponsor ensures that the zoo is able to raise an additional butterfly. Paid butterfly sponsors will also have the chance to create a flag to memorialize their donation. Flags will hang in the Butterfly House throughout the season.

Another new addition to the festivities will be the participation of a local group known as Watertown NY Rocks. The group will be on site, offering visitors the opportunity to paint “kindness rocks” to add to the Butterfly House rock garden. The purpose of the rocks (often hidden throughout Watertown and surrounding areas) is to spread positivity and happiness to the individuals that find them. The rock garden at the Butterfly House will act as a hub for the trading and placement of these “kindness rocks”.

 The Heather A. Freeman Butterfly House

The Butterfly House at Thompson Park opens each spring to provide visitors the opportunity for an up-close and educational experience with thousands of butterflies. The House acts as hatchery for various native and transient butterfly species and allows them to carry out their lifecycle in a protected environment. Some butterflies, like the Monarch Butterfly, are released at the end of the season in partnership with Monarch Watch ™ – an organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of wild Monarch populations.

The Butterfly House closes each October and the ecosystem created for the butterflies is then allowed to over-winter. Once spring begins, the plants are restored and netting is placed around the framing to ensure the safety of each butterfly resident.

For the past few months, zoo staff and volunteers have worked to prepare the enclosure with appropriate plants for each species of butterfly. Each element in the butterfly enclosure is perfectly orchestrated to ensure the butterflies have adequate food, water, and nesting space.

The Heather A. Freeman Butterfly House is sponsored in part by the Heather A. Freeman Foundation – dedicated to sharing the values that make a difference in our communities.

For information about the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park or the Heather A. Freeman Butterfly House, visit www.nyzoo.org or call (315) 782-6180.