Drive a Few Miles to the Tropics this Winter

January is the coldest month of the year in Utah, and it is a wonderful time for a change of scenery and a visit to a tropical jungle.

An easy trip up I-15 to Thanksgiving Point’s Butterfly Biosphere will take you to the 85 degree humid and lush green environment of tropical flowering plants and butterflies, more than 1,000 butterflies. The biosphere also has 20 species of tarantulas and a few other (harmless) crawly creatures. You quickly forget the ice and snow you came from The Thanksgiving Point Butterfly Biosphere opened a year ago, Jan. 18, with a 40,000 square foot facility that includes a 10,000 square foot temperature and humidity-con- trolled greenhouse that is a USDA approved containment facility, because none of the butterflies are native to Utah.

Essential to the educational mission of the facility is a 7,500 square foot play and exploration area for young people to learn about insects and their environment. There is also an interactive “Discovery Zone” that will fascinate all ages. This is a world-class facility in our back yard worthy of a visit.

The real treat of visiting this tropical get-a-way is the beautiful butterflies that will even land on you if you are standing still.

The best time to see the butterflies flying around is mid-day, later in day they are doing more resting and, in that respect, somewhat easier to photograph. To limit the number of people in the biosphere all tickets are timed for entries.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children 3-12 years and seniors 65 and over. Twice daily, at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday they release new butterfly’s and those tickets are an additional $4 per person. Strollers are available for $5 and wheelchairs can be rented for $10. (Helmick is a Serve Daily contributor.)

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