We went to Butterfly World near St Albans in Hertfordshire accompanied by our nature loving 9 year old grandson. The site consists of several buildings set amongst land planted to be “butterfly friendly” and several small designer gardens. The main attraction is the butterfly house where a variety of tropical butterflies and moths fly among plants in what could be called a large greenhouse. The patient are rewarded by butterflies settling on them. Everyone is helped by the staff to see the caterpillars feeding on the plants and told about the various butterflies. Coming out of the back of this building you can see where they eventually hope to build a large butterfly dome.
The other buildings include an insect study centre where, at specified times during the day, the children get the opportunity to hold creatures such as stick insects and Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Also here are the cupboards where the chrysalises are hung so you can watch the butterflies emerging before they are transferred to the butterfly house. Adjacent to this is “Ant World” where the largest British colony of leaf cutter ants can be observed going about their daily life.
The designer gardens (about a dozen) are very variable in both style and quality. All are worth a look, however, and are generally on the theme of the environment and sustainability. Opposite them is a garden with flowerpots, garden tools etc made very large so you can imagine how they would look to an insect.
In addition to these there is a café, gift and plant shop and a picnic area with children’s play area and sand pit. Several walks are laid out around the site.
We spent several hours here, including more than one visit to the butterfly house. An excellent trip for those interested in insects including both British and tropical butterflies. If you wish to find out more about it before deciding upon a visit its website is: butterflyworldproject.com and ticket prices range from £5.50 for a child to £7.50 for an adult. There are also family tickets and quite often you can find vouchers for money off, half price child etc.