Butterfly Gardens brings in more critters, plants for local exposure
For the first time in its 20year history, Victoria Butterfly Gardens won’t be closing for the winter.
The Brentwood Bay attraction – home to thousands of butterflies, hundreds of plants and dozens of tropical birds – will be open year round in an effort to lure more locals, said general manager David Roberts.
“Actually we had a very good year for tourists. This is more of a response to being next door to Butchart Gardens, who are open all year, and trying to garner support from residents,” Roberts said.
“Locals want something to do in the winter, a place to go to get out of the rain and warm up and – given the challenges of the economy – that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.”
Roberts said the 12,000square-foot facility at 1461 Benvenuto Dr. is doubling its butterfly population to 6,000 and is introducing several new species, including geckos, chameleons, poison dart frogs and sulcata tortoises, which will grow to 70 kilograms.
The attraction normally closes for five months, but last year that was shortened to five weeks.
Roberts is introducing free field trips for elementary schools, a move that is expected to feed return visits with entire families. Those students can bring in their tickets for a $10 season pass, the equivalent of two normal admissions. Student season passes are $20 and adults $30, both the same as two regular admissions.
A lighting display is planned for Christmas in the Jungle promotion from Dec. 1 to Jan. 6, meshing with Butchart’s long-time holiday light up. The garden will close only Dec. 25 and 26 and Jan. 1.
Local artisans will also be featured over the winter months in the gift shop.
Butterfly Gardens was acquired in early 2008 by Don Caveley’s Truffles Group of companies, which also owns Truffles Catering, Canoe Brew Pub and private liquor stores.