Butterflies enchant visitors at Philadelphia Flower Show [video]

     (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

    (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

    A first time exhibit at the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show is delighting visitors and sharing critical concerns about one of nature’s most delicate creatures, the butterfly.

    The Butterfly Experience showcases 20 species of butterfly in the Grand Concourse of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Visitors are invited to interact with the butterflies in their simulated habitat.


    On day one of the exhibit, about 300 butterflies filled the room, but exhibit coordinator John Dailey says that he hopes to keep the number of butterflies to around 1,000.

    Inside the room, many have cameras in hand and attempt to coax the “flying gems” to land on them with a smile.

    Cole Henry, a visitor from Mt. Laurel, N.J., speaks softly to a Monarch butterfly poised on his hand. He says he’s never seen anything quite like the Butterfly Experience. “Butterflies are God’s gift to us, as far as bugs are concerned,” he says to his young niece, as she squeals with terror when one approaches.

    Dailey and the Butterfly Experience tour the country to encourage people to prevent habitat destruction and rebuild their own gardens to be more inviting to the creatures. Dailey adds that as pesticides became more effective in farming, much of the butterflies’ habitat has been destroyed.

    “Plant milkweed!” Dailey tells visitors. Milkweed is a plant that Monarch butterflies need to survive.

    The Butterfly Experience runs at the Philadelphia Flower Show through March 9 and costs $3.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal