Butterflies and More at the Greenhouse
Included in the ticket to the Insectarium is a free entrance to the neighboring Botanic Garden. With two dozen thematic zones like the Chinese Garden, Rose Garden and Courtyard of the Senses, the Botanic Garden is huge… but we wouldn’t be seeing much of it. It was freezing in Montreal, and snow was still covering the ground. So we decided to delay a thorough exploration of the garden, and instead scurried straight into the greenhouse.
Every year, from February to April, the Main Greenhouse of the Botanic Garden hosts an exhibition called “Butterflies Go Free,” during which hundreds of butterflies are set loose. The variety is astounding; along with the familiar species like monarchs, there are some massive and bizarre butterflies to be found. And they’re everywhere, munching on plates of fruit, sucking the nectar from flowers, flapping past your face, or resting on a leaf. If you have sharp eyes, you’ll also be able to spot caterpillars and chrysalises.
The butterfly exhibit was the highlight, but it’s just one section of perhaps a dozen in this incredible greenhouse. We spent an hour walking from one end to the other, checking out ferns, orchids, palms, cacti and more. Set inside a boomerang-shaped hall, it’s all beautifully designed, with waterfalls, raised platforms, and even a mock hacienda in the cactus section.