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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory’s newest residents aren’t shy.

To the delight of many visitors April 15, the residents – recently hatched butterflies of varying exotic species – perched on children’s and adults’ noses, fingers and arms, often remaining still for photographs.

“They’ll come to you,” said Tom Hegge, a supervisor at the Botanical Conservatory.

April 15 marked the second day of the popular live butterfly exhibit, now in its 16th year. It’s the only show repeated annually, Hegge said, and it began April 14 with a line at the door.

“They were ready to go,” he said, estimating a few hundred people attended each weekend day. “We were just steady all day long.”

Along with entering the butterfly tent, visitors can view a live bug display that includes millipedes, beetles, milkweed bugs, cockroaches and scorpions.

The butterflies, however, got the limelight.

Warsaw resident Jennifer Hogenson posed for a photograph as a butterfly rested on her right index finger, a perch it seemed unwilling to leave. It didn’t budge when Hogenson’s companion, Ben Fullmer, held up his finger alongside hers.

“It seems pretty comfortable on her finger,” Fullmer said.

The day’s cold and rainy weather prompted the Price family’s visit to the Botanical Conservatory, mother Rachel Price said.

Her three daughters and son, ages 3 to 10, had energy to burn, she said, and it was a nice surprise to learn the butterfly exhibit had begun.

“You want it on you, too?” the Fort Wayne woman said to a daughter after she helped guide a butterfly on her son Ashton’s nose.

Although an illustrated butterfly guide was available, mother-daughter pair Leah Black and Riley Shimizu, 9, learned identification isn’t always easy when a butterfly’s wings are closed.

About 35 to 40 butterflies occupied the tent, with many more waiting to hatch.

Timed right, visitors can watch as butterflies emerge from their cocoons; a viewing area is available outside the tent. The exhibit typically has about 125 to 160 butterflies, Hegge said.

The exhibit continues through July 8. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with Thursday open until 8 p.m. The conservatory is closed on Mondays.

Anytime is a good time to see the butterflies, Hegge said, but he noted they are most active in the afternoon, when it’s warmer and the sun is at its brightest.

Visitors don’t have to worry about fighting for the butterflies’ attention. The staff ensures the tent doesn’t get overcrowded, Hegge said.

“Everybody has their moment,” he said.


Source: The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette


Information from: The Journal Gazette,