Butterfly Keeper for a Day, an activity scheduled intermittently when a new shipment of butterflies is due to arrive, allows visitors to spend the day following one of the Center’s official Butterfly Keepers around. Callaway isn’t just for butterflies; Entomologist for a Day, next scheduled for June 16, invites guests to spend a day and evening learning about bugs, identifying whatever they’ve captured and finding out what it’s like to study insects.
September will see a whole series of events leading up to Callaway’s first annual Butterfly Festival on September 21—23. Breakfast with Butterflies, scheduled for September 9, welcomes guests to eat breakfast in the Conservatory as the butterflies are waking up. September’s Butterfly of the Month is the beautiful blue Morpho, and a series of receptions set for September 8, 15 and 22 allow visitors to stay late and enjoy a glass of wine or grape juice while watching the majestic Morphos, which are more active in the evening.
October is Migration Month, and the Center will focus on migrants such as the Monarch, which at the time will be undertaking its epic autumn journey to its wintering grounds in Mexico.
The Butterfly Center gets butterflies in the form of chrysalids from farms all over the world, skipping the caterpillar stage since it involves the future butterfly chewing its way through an impressive amount of foliage.
I visited the Center in May, when the Butterfly of the Month was the Owl, a native of Central and South America; its “eye spots” do indeed make it look like an owl. According to Carolyn the Butterfly Keeper, Owls are early risers—when she arrives at 6:45 a.m., the Conservatory is filled with flapping Owls. During my visit the Owls were relaxing and enjoying a snack of juice from their favorite fruits. The Conservatory itself is a big, light-filled habitat full of flowering plants, tropical foliage, waterfalls, and of course butterflies. These butterflies come from all over the world and seem to enjoy fluttering, perching and feeding on the flowers and fruits supplied for them. Anyone interested in encouraging butterflies to visit may want to take note of the plants the Conservatory houses. These include lantana, penta, marigold, shrimp plant, bottle brush and firecracker plant; still, as a sign advises, all you need for a butterfly garden is “a few carefully-selected plants and a tolerance for chewed leaves.”
Callaway Resort and Gardens is located at Pine Mountain, Georgia, about sixty miles southwest of the Atlanta airport, and thirty miles east of Columbus, Georgia. For more information about visiting the Butterfly Center, check the website at www.callawaygardens.com or call 1-855-348-4170.
all photos Kathie Farnell