Taking flight in this week’s Hittin’ the Town

The Butterfly house in Whitehouse is open for the season.
Published: May. 12, 2023 at 5:04 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - If you’re looking for a place where beauty takes flight, look no further than The Butterfly House. After being closed for the last few years, the Whitehouse attraction is once again open and a trip to the special space will transport you to a whole other world.

“It’s educational, entertaining and fun for all ages,” said Christy Geha, Director of Operations for Wheeler Farms.

The Butterfly house is part of Wheeler Farms in Whitehouse. It all started after Geha’s parents visited a butterfly house in northern Michigan more than 20 years ago.

“We try to create a lush garden setting where people can come relax, listen to music and enjoy the incredible beauty around them,” said Geha. “It’s something you can do by yourself or with family and friends. Stay as long as you’d like in a peaceful, relaxing setting.”

They arrive in what’s known as a chrysalis and you can get an up-close look at the process of becoming a butterfly.

“They can look in our nursery and see butterflies emerging from a chrysalis while they are here. It is so unique and cool,” said Geha. “We’ll get 300 to 500 per shipment. All different species and typically the butterfly emerges within five to six days. They have a lifespan of about two to three weeks.”

Every year, The Butterfly House features different species from around the world. This year’s focus is Costa Rica, and getting them here is a little trickier than you might imagine.

“It is a rigorous process getting them to the United States,” said Geha. “It all starts months before the butterflies arrive. They go through customs, and then paperwork and permits have to be approved. Every week, we order hundreds of butterflies.”

The butterflies from Costa Rica come in a wide range of spectacular colors.

“The tropical butterflies are amazing blues, gorgeous greens, others are a vibrant orange,” said Geha. “They have to fit into a jungle setting.”

Geha says there’s also a camouflage component to the coloring on some of them.

“Some of them have what look like eyes on the outside of their wings,” said Geha. “That’s by design. A lot of their predators, like birds, might think they’re an owl and stay away.”

And yes, Geha does have a favorite.

“I think the Blue Morpho is my favorite,” said Geha. “I love the way it flies. It is so graceful and pretty. It’s color is unlike any other blue. It’s hard to describe.”

Like the butterflies, the plants inside the greenhouse are carefully chosen and cared for.

“We have to make sure all the plants are healthy. We have to be careful with the fertilizer. Anything toxic can kill or damage a butterfly,” said Geha. “Our plant health is critical to make sure the butterflies are healthy. We have a wonderful staff that knows exactly what to do.”

The temperature and humidity are also closely monitored in the greenhouse and the nursery.

“Butterfly wings are similar to a solar panel. They need to be hot and have regulated body temperature to fly,” said Geha. “When we turn up the heat in the greenhouse, you’ll see the butterflies become much more active.”

It’s a place to enjoy beauty from a world away right in our own backyard.

“It’s fun to provide a space for people to come in and just relax,” said Geha. “We are all so busy and distracted, it’s nice to sit with music playing and enjoy the beauty of the butterflies.”

Here’s an interesting side note. What’s the difference between a chrysalis and a cocoon? Cocoons are formed by moths and chrysalises are formed by butterflies.

The Butterfly House is open from now through the end of July. You can schedule tours with things like school groups and assisted living facilities.

To learn more, click here.

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