Best Butterfly Encounters For Kids Near Sydney
What is it about kids and butterflies? Is it their colourful beauty? Their non-threatening nature? Their fascinating metamorphosis from caterpillar to beautiful winged creature? No one ever tells this insect to go away, nor are there repellent sprays on the shelves to get rid of them, in fact, having one land on you is a privilege!
All kids go through a butterfly phase at some point (there are some adults I know who are still in it) so we discovered some places were they can get up close and personal with their favourite insect...
Sydney Wild Life Zoo
Surprisingly, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo is the only place in Sydney where you can have an encounter with butterflies (of the living, not pinned to a board in a museum, kind). In the Butterfly Tropics enclosure, the friendly butterflies are only too happy to perch themselves on you for a photo. Their tropical habitat has been specially designed to simulate a natural environment where the butterflies can fly freely through lush ferns and palms.
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Kuranda
It's a bit of a drive but for true butterfly lovers, it's just a quick flap of the wings up to far north Queensland. The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary is the largest butterfly flight aviary and exhibit in Australia and prides itself on providing a world-class wildlife experience in the tropical north, and the expert guides will take you on a free 30-minute tour. The all-weather experience is home to over 2,000 magnificent tropical butterflies including the electric blue Ulysses, the majestic green and yellow Cairns Birdwing and the Monarch butterfly - and they all are hand-reared on the premises.
Coffs Harbour Butterfly House
Think Coffs Harbour is just for bananas? No way! The far north coast is a paradise for butterflies. Coffs Harbour Butterfly House offers visitors the opportunity to stroll amongst hundreds of live Australian butterflies in an indoor subtropical rainforest setting. Experience the world of butterflies as they fly, court, mate, sip nectar or rest in the light showing off their fascinating colours and patterns. Then lose yourself in the outdoor maze where kids can have fun hunting for the hidden butterfly clues.
Grow Your Own!
Can't venture out to any of these locations? No worries! Buy your own butterflies and set up a colony at home. Butterfly Adventures is an Australian company who can send you your very own live Chrysalis Kit. Kids will love to watch a stunning butterfly emerge from the kit over 4-6 weeks. Simply hang and keep the chrysalis away from direct sun, and mist it with water once a day. Teach your kids about the amazing metamorphosis of the butterfly life cycle - and then release into the wild! Kits start at $40.
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Main image: Kylie Purtell