Walk among hundreds of free-flying butterflies this summer in Vancouver (PHOTOS)

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This summer you can stroll through a lush, green, tropical rainforest amidst hundreds of butterflies (and other creatures) without even leaving Vancouver. The Vancouver Aquarium is now home to dozens of butterfly species that are flitting about freely for your delight, and learning, inside their Graham Amazon Gallery.

Photo courtesy Ocean Wise

Each week from May to September, the Aquarium will receive 500 to 750 butterfly pupae, representing 20 to 30 different species. As each butterfly emerges and is ready for flight, they are released into the gallery space. And yes – sometimes they will land on you!

Since butterflies can live anywhere from several days to months, the Aquarium estimates that there are approximately 1,000 butterflies in the Graham Amazon Galley at any given time.

Photo courtesy Ocean Wise

Think you’re good at spotting butterflies? It’s a little easier when a bright blue morpho flutters past, but harder when they blend in with the plant life and displays in the gallery. You can also get a peek at the pupae and the brand-new butterflies before they are ready to join the crew that’s flying about.

In this immersive space, Vancouver Aquarium visitors can get up close with the butterflies and learn all about their life cycle and how to conserve butterflies far away and here at home. Plus, learn about the Amazon rainforest and the challenges the region is currently facing, and how we can help.

Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

“We’re really excited to re-introduce butterflies to the Graham Amazon Gallery since they were last here in 2014. Watching them as they flutter from one plant to the next is nothing short of amazing. Most importantly, connecting our visitors to butterflies in such an immersive way allows us to also connect them with the crucial role butterflies play in ecosystems,” said Andrea Cotter, assistant curator- Amazon at the Vancouver Aquarium. “Butterflies are pollinator species and play a key part in plant reproduction. Almost 90 per cent of the world’s leading food crops rely on animal pollinators like butterflies. They are an important animal for us to conserve and encourage.”

Photo courtesy Ocean Wise

Fortunately for us, access to the Graham Amazon Gallery and its hundreds of free-flying butterflies is included with admission to the Vancouver Aquarium. The butterflies will be there from now through September.

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Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome
Photo courtesy Ocean Wise
Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome
Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome
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Lindsay is the Managing Editor of Vancouver Is Awesome, and the co-host and co-producer of the Vancouver Is Awesome Podcast. A fifth generation Vancouverite and life-long foodie, Lindsay also serves as a judge for the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Previously the Food Editor of Daily Hive, Senior Editor of Vancity Buzz, and Editor-in-Chief of LAist.com, in her past life in L.A. she earned an MA in English, attended culinary school, and was an English professor. Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancouverisawesome.com // Twitter/Instagram: @squashblossom