Taking Flight

 Taking Flight

The butterflies of Ecuador visit Cincinnati thanks to a new exhibit at the Krohn ConservatoryAmara Agomuo For 24 years, the Cincinnati Krohn Conservatory has put on a one-of-a-kind, annual butterfly exhibit that showcases different parts of the world through each region’s unique themes. This year, Ecuador will get the spotlight for 12 weeks in the Krohn Conservatory’s “The Butterflies of Ecuador.” This butterfly show will feature thousands of remarkably colored butterflies from all over the globe and from the surrounding Ecuadorian climate. Visitors will have the chance to get up close with butterflies like the big blue morpho—an eye-catching, luminous bright blue butterfly that hails from the tropical forest of Ecuador and South America.

“It’s a cultural butterfly exhibit,” says Andrea Schepmann, director of Cincinnati’s Krohn Conservatory. Known as the “Martha Stewart” of butterflies, Schepmann says the butterfly show first began with the idea of bringing in nature to spruce up the entertainment scene in Cincinnati. Schepmann herself has always been a nature enthusiast. She received a degree in horticulture and has since presented at workshops and conferences on the latest trends in butterflies.

So how exactly does one get thousands of butterflies into the Krohn Conservatory? Schepmann says the conservatory gets help from butterfly farmers. These butterfly farmers are scattered all across the world and raise butterflies in captivity and sell them to vendors for butterfly exhibits. And it almost takes a village to get all these alluring butterflies into Cincinnati for the show.

For the exhibit, the conservatory can expect a weekly shipment of 1,200 butterflies from around the world—including this year’s batch from Ecuador. Then at 11 a.m. every day, a brand-new collection of butterflies is released into the flight room during the butterfly show. All this behind-the-scenes work is what makes it possible for attendees to see at least a thousand butterflies at any given time.

And don’t worry, the journey the butterflies take to the Queen City is a safe one. One interesting thing about these butterflies is that they all arrive in chrysalis form. We may remember this as the cocoon stage; however, for butterflies, they actually dwell inside a shiny chrysalis. This form protects the butterflies from damaging their wings during transportation to the Krohn Conservatory. Once they’ve emerged from the chrysalis stage and are ready to fly, they are sent over to the butterfly display. If you’ve never witnessed a chrysalis form in person, you can catch this transformation by walking by the nursery room at the butterfly event.

Alongside the butterfly show, the Krohn Conservatory will also serve as a living museum with several other live attractions. While visiting “The Butterflies of Ecuador,” don’t forget to check out the orchid room featuring 300 orchids, the one-of-a-kind fern house with a chocolate tree and more.

Close to 90,000 people from all over the world each year attend this annual event. This year’s show runs March 23 to June 16. For more events at the Krohn Conservatory, visit cincinnatiparks.com/krohn/.