Butterfly Jungle opens at San Diego Zoo

Thousands of butterflies floated and fluttered around the Hidden Jungle Aviary at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park as children and adults alike marveled at the beautiful winged insects.

The attendees were treated to a sneak peek of the Safari Park’s annual springtime event, Butterfly Jungle, which opens Saturday (March 14) and runs through April 12.

At Butterfly Jungle, the walk-through Hidden Jungle aviary has been transformed into a temporary home for more than 30 species of butterflies. In the aviary, the delicate and colorful creatures surround guests, fluttering lightly through the warm air to find flowers to feed upon. The aviary is also home to lush greenery and exotic birds including finches, colorful turacos and sun-birds, as well as many others.

“It is a very unique experience where guest come in amongst thousands and thousands of butterflies every shape color and size from various parts of the world,” said Michael Mace, the Safari Park’s curator of birds.

The beautiful butterflies not only enchant guests but make ecological sense. They come to the Safari Park in the pupae stage from Asia, Africa, and Central, South and North America.

“It’s like the tropics and there are thousands of butterflies sometimes they land on you sometimes are on the flowers great opportunity for photos,” said Mace.

The more than 30 species of butterflies highlighted during this year’s Butterfly Jungle include the zebra longwing, orange-barred tiger, Grecian shoemaker, monarch, giant swallowtail and blue morpho. In addition, the butterflies include the threatened birdwing species from Indonesia. The Safari Park was able to offer sanctuary to these rare insects after they were confiscated by U.S. Fish & Wildlife officials from an illegal shipment sent to the United States earlier this month.

Guests to Butterfly Jungle are encouraged to wear bright colors and move slowly to increase the chances of butterflies landing on their clothes or hats.