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The Butterfly Place set to open Oct. 1 in Branson

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by Carol Harris

SBJ Contributing Writer

A live butterfly exhibit called The Butterfly Place Botanical Garden, owned by Bill and Debi Hill of Naples., Fla., and George and Jane Leslie of Boston, Mass., will open Oct. 1 in Branson. Bill Hill said the partners also own The Butterfly Place in Westford, Mass.

The new Branson attraction, built by Metro Design and Construction of Branson, is located on about 1.15 acres along Missouri Highway 165, adjacent to the Welk Resort and Theater.

According to Hill, the 9,000-square-foot aviary will house 1,500 to 2,000 live butterflies. Many of the 50 to 60 varieties of butterflies are indigenous to the United States, bred at the company's facility, Butterflies in Flight, near Naples, Hill said.

He added that the aviary will also contain tropical butterflies imported from southeast Asia, Africa, Central America, South America and Africa. "You will also see a mass of blooming plants," Hill said, of the 10,000 potted plants located in the aviary to provide nectar for the insects. The building, which will also have a gift shop, must maintain a temperature of 80 degrees with 60 percent to 70 percent humidity for the butterflies and plants, Hill added.

Hill said visitors will view a five-minute video about the aviary before going inside. "It tells them that ... they are not allowed to touch the butterflies or remove butterflies and plants, alive or dead, from the aviary because we are a quarantine station of the United States Department of Agriculture," he said.

Hill said the facility has been inspected by the USDA and is awaiting USDA permits to open. Because of its importation of butterflies, the facility must have a special ventilated and sealed room called a "clean room" to open all packages containing butterflies. "We don't want to create a gypsy moth situation. ... We want to prevent releases of parasites that might come in with the butterflies," he said.

The Butterfly Place will be open 10 a.m-5 p.m. Oct. 1 through Nov. 1, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for the rest of November through Dec. 20, seven days a week.[[In-content Ad]]

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