September is Blue Morpho Butterfly Month at Callaway Gardens’ Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center. Typically there are a variety of more than 1,000 tropical butterflies flying freely throughout the conservatory; however, this month it will filled exclusively with spectacular Blue Morpho butterflies.
“During September, visitors to the Day Butterfly Center will witness the largest display of Blue Morphos on the planet at that moment,” said Michael Buckman, manager of the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center. “This is our fifth year filling the Center with Blue Morphos. I’ve been told by suppliers that we are receiving all that they have. When I heard that, I knew then we were doing something very special.”
The Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides) is a spectacular iridescent blue butterfly native to the rainforests of South and Central America. The undersides of the wings are brown with eyespots, but the contrasting upper sides could be considered the most brilliant, vivid blue that nature has to offer. This iridescent color actually results from microscopic scales on the back of their wings reflecting light, giving the brilliant shimmering blue appearance. As a Blue Morpho flies, its contrasting wing colors of brilliant blue and dull brown fool the eye and make the Morpho look as if it is appearing and disappearing. The word ‘morpho’ actually means “to change or modify.”
This tropical butterfly is usually a forest dweller but will venture into sunny areas occasionally. They are diurnal, or active during the day, and they can be territorial so they spend much of their time in flight. When courting, they often fly in long chains of five or more to make a spectacular sight.
As one of the largest butterflies, with a wingspan of five to eight inches, the Blue Morpho makes a beautiful subject for photos and video. And, because they feed on the juices of rotting fruit, they are usually easy to locate at the fruit feeders in the Day Butterfly Center. Butterflies do most of their flying between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. For those looking to take photos, consider visiting when the butterflies are resting, before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m., for best results.
General admission* to Callaway Gardens, home of the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, is $18 per adult (ages 13-64); $15 per senior (65+); $9 per child (ages 6-12); and free for children 5 and younger (admission prices include tax). Annual Passholders, with their pass and valid ID can enter the Gardens with up to five guests in the same vehicle for free per day. Military and their spouse receive free admission as well. This price includes access to Callaway Gardens and its many attractions and activities. The Day Butterfly Center is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Take a break and enjoy the Day Butterfly Center and the many other attractions of Callaway Gardens. Ask for the special Blue Morpho Overnight Package, available in September, starting at $139* in the Mountain Creek Inn and includes lodging; breakfast buffet at the Plant Room Restaurant, a special gift from the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, use of the Mountain Creek Inn Fitness Center and admission to Callaway Gardens and its many attractions for each day of stay and day of departure.
For more information or to make a reservation, call (855) 421-4199 or visit www.callawaygardens.com.