Travelling Islanders taking a jungle walk and the day my boy learned about real butterfly kisses at Victoria Butterfly Gardens.
As we walked into the beautiful Victoria Butterfly Gardens I closed my eyes, smelled the air, listened to the jungle noises, felt the warm moist air on my skin and instantly I was transported back to Hawaii.
I would have taken my family here just to experience the tropical garden, let alone all the amazing butterflies and creatures we were about to see. The garden is kept at a warm 25 degrees celsius and 80% humidity… without a doubt I have now added a backyard mini version to my Christmas wish list.
We are always on the hunt for great family indoor activities to do on Vancouver Island during the rainy winter season and especially around the holidays. Victoria Butterfly Gardens is top on our list.
If you live close to Victoria or will be visiting soon, this experience is a must. Round up the whole family and surprise them with a trip to a tropical jungle on Vancouver Island complete with thousands of butterflies, they will love it!
Upon entry, Gretta and I were slowly taking it all in. The kids on the other hand were wide-eyed and ready to go! I may have had something to do with that since I got them all pumped up the night before by showing them online all we would see, touch and experience to help build the anticipation.
So they all had something in mind of what they wanted to see first. My oldest Kaia (7) wanted to see the tortoises, Titus (6) wanted to see the butterflies, and my youngest Koen (4), well he was already long gone leaning over the railings of the bridge seeing how close he could get to the koi fish in the pond below.
The amazing thing about the Victoria Butterfly Gardens is that the environment forces you to slow down the pace and just relax.
We called the kids over to the first exhibit and helped them explore the emerging of the adult butterflies from their “pupa” (aka cocoon). It was really endearing to see the kids settle down and carefully examine these beautiful butterflies that were minutes old, or even some cocoons not even open yet and just hanging there wiggling.
Victoria Butterfly Gardens provides many opportunities to have special memories like this with your loved one.
Fun Butterfly Fact: Butterflies taste with their feet (so wear fruity lotion and they may stop for a quick lick!)
With butterflies flying throughout the garden, we could continually enjoy their presence as we took in all that the garden had to offer. One time a butterfly actually flew right by Titus’ (6) face. At first he was a bit surprised and then Gretta quickly told him the butterfly was giving him a kiss. His face immediately lit up as he connected the dots for how we get the name “butterfly kisses” and promptly came over to give a few of them to his mama.
If the tropical garden sounds, meandering paths with waterfalls, flowers and amazing butterflies aren’t enough for you, then you will be pleased to know there is so much more to take in.
We saw tropical frogs that had more colours and designs then I had ever seen before. There were geckos, lizards, tortoises, turtles, song birds, tropical birds, koi fish, and even two pink flamingos! Those were the favourites of the kids, it’s not every day you get to see a pink flamingo on Vancouver Island.
I couldn’t have been more impressed with the Butterfly Gardens and the informative friendly staff. From the moment we entered the front doors, to the moment we left, it was an absolute pleasure.
Five things to know about your visit to Victoria Butterfly Garden:
1. The garden has just undergone an extensive enhancement construction project and are building up their population of butterflies. At peak capacity there will be approximately 6000 butterflies in different stages in the garden and flying about. We were impressed with just the 400 we saw! Could you imagine being in a garden with 6000 butterflies!
2. Go with the expectation to be in a smaller, intimate (12000 sq. ft.), well laid out tropical jungle. If you have kids, get a game plan before going into the garden of how you will explore. We enjoyed going through together as a family the first time through, then we split up and joined back together for a snack in the lobby. After talking about all our favourite things, we went back into the garden one last time and each member of the family got turns having undivided attention in showing their very favourite thing.
3. Your pass is good for the whole day, so if you need to grab something to eat, feel free to come back and see how the garden changes at a different time of day.
4. The garden lover in you will find tranquility in this tropical paradise. Sit on one of the benches, take a deep breath, and take in over 200 species of orchids and thousands of tropical plants.
5. If you want to increase your chances of having more butterflies land on you, be sure to wear bright yellows and reds. You can also increase your chances further by wearing fruity lotion or soap. The Traveling Islander boys just went for the Hawaii shirts!
If you haven’t fallen in love with Victoria Butterfly Gardens yet… watch this video. Absolutely incredible what this tropical garden has to offer.
Thank you to Levi Allen (Leftcoast visuals) for joining the Traveling Islanders on this family travel adventure and providing all these amazing pictures in this blog post.
While our visit to Victoria Butterfly Gardens was complimentary, all findings and opinions here are our own as always.