It has been a goal of mine to take my kids to visit the Butterfly Farms in Encinitas since I first learned about it. So, last summer, on a warm bright day we took a day trip down from Orange County to visit San Diego.
First, we stopped by another favorite place of mine, Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary in Del Mar, and then made our way down to Butterfly Farms for an afternoon of learning and exploration.
Butterfly Farms, a hidden gem in San Diego, was established in 2012 out of concern with the decline of native butterflies and other native pollinators in Southern California. The focus of the farm is on education, conservation and research of these pollinators.
Butterfly Farms consists of a 3000 square foot Vivarium where butterflies constantly fly around you. Some will even land on you if you hold still long enough!
There are hundreds of different species of local butterflies on the loose to enjoy and admire, including the Cloudless Sulfur, Cabbage Whites, Painted Ladies, Gulf Fritillaries, Mourning Cloaks, Giant, Desert and Anise Swallowtails and Monarchs.
During our visit, we read many signs around the property that taught us about metamorphosis and conservation. In their onsite laboratory they raise native butterflies. We observed many butterflies in different states of development from eggs to larva (the feeding stage) to pupa (the transition stage) to adulthood (the reproductive stage).
Butterfly Farms also has a cute nursery where they grow and study dozens of plants important to the biology of our pollinators. I was tempted to take a few plants and plant them in my backyard, but then I was reminded by my husband we have no more room!
During normal times, Butterfly Farms offers 1-hour guided educational tours for schools, pre-schools, home schools and other organizations.
Students will learn about the earth’s fragile environment, learn more about the interaction of plants and butterflies, and be inspired to explore the secrets of outdoor life.
Students will have a tailored 30-minute classroom curriculum experience and 30-minutes in the vivarium with expert instructors to guide them and answer questions.
They also do field work monitoring, tagging and tracking Monarch Butterflies to their overwintering sites.
To learn more about Butterlfly Farms in Encinitas, visit https://www.butterflyfarms.org/