One of the subjects I love to photograph the most are flowers and butterflies; so when I saw that the 15th edition of Butterflies Go Free, a yearly event organised by the Montreal Insectarium, was going on I was eager to attend. The event takes place at the Botanical Garden and it goes on until April 29th 2012. Before you reach the space where the exhibition takes place, you get to walk through the greenhouse and admire some very trippy flowers. The orchids were definitely my favourites! Some of them looked like aliens.
The event has two separate spaces: one showcasing butterflies that are active at dusk (those that are diurnal but only become active at sunset) and moths (active only at night); and another for the butterflies which are active in bright daylight. The moths are actually quite big and hairy! In fact, this year’s star, the Cobra Moth (Attacus Atlas) can reach a wingspan of between 15 and 25 cm!
Also, it seems that moths were around when dinosaurs used to roam the Earth; since the oldest fossil discovered yet dates from 190 million years ago! Making them older than butterflies, which have only been around for 70 million years. During my visit I was impressed by the looks of these night creatures and I relished the chance to photograph them in this setting.
After admiring the moths, it was time to move on to the butterflies section. There were so many flying all over the place! According to the Insectarium they release a total of about 20,000 butterflies during the course of the event; which goes on from February 16th to April 29th, 2012. In fact, they estimate that they release about 100 butterflies every day during the event.
There are about 75 different species present during the event coming from farm butterflies from countries like Costa Rica, Colombia, Canada, Malaysia, Tanzania, etc. One of the most popular species at the event is the Blue Morpho (Morpho Helenor) with its bright and flashy blue wings.
The temperatures inside the greenhouses are quite tropical, they range between 24ºC to 29ºC; and if you factor the humidity, they can actually reach up to 36º C! So don’t forget to check in your coats at the coat check :) Also, if you prefer to avoid crowds for a chance to take better photos consider visiting the exhibition earlier during weekdays; as the event is quite popular.
Once you’re done walking around the greenhouses, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Insectarium; where you can admire many different mounted insect species. Some of them look like they could actually be jewelry pieces, with their many bright and beautiful colours.
For more information about the event, check the contact details below. And for the full photo collection, don’t forget to check out my gallery!
Espace Pour La Vie
At Montreal’s Botanical Garden (Metro Pie IX)
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 09:00 – 17:00