The Tropical Butterfly House, Falconry and Wildlife Park is turning 25 this year with celebration events taking place throughout 2019. Starting on Saturday with a giant Birthday cake for the animals and fun activities throughout the day.
The park started out with just a butterfly house, a nature trail, a small café and shop. Jo McDonough, operations director explains “The Park opened with just three employees, butterflies, peacocks, a tarantula and a snake.”
25 years on visitor numbers have grown to over 150,000 per annum (in 2018) with a 60+ team of dedicated staff who work hard to connect people with the animals. Still owned and run by the same family that founded it in 1994, the park works to promote and conserve the natural world and inspire the next generation’s passion for nature.
The wildlife park is also an oasis for native British wildlife. Purpose-built pond environments have attracted common newts, frogs and toads, great crested newts and grass snakes. Over 100 nest boxes are a refuge for birds including the tree sparrow, which has grown from one breeding pair in 1998 to forty pairs last spring. The park also owns three other conservations sites (in South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and the Peak District). Not open to the public, they are managed with wildlife in mind to help protect and encourage native species.
Looking to the future, Andrew Reeve, wildlife park manager explains the vision for the coming years, “The focus is firmly on endangered species, to join the many species that have been added over the years, from lemurs and otters to vultures. This has driven our fundraising efforts, for example when visitors see the lemurs and learn about their story, they are essentially helping to raise funds for survival in their native wild habitat”.
Many exciting memories have been made at the Tropical Butterfly House so they are encouraging people to share their stories and images from over from the past 25 years with #mybutterflymoment.
Butterfly House by numbers
- Over 50 different species of butterfly
- 10 lemurs
- 2 daily free flying Birds of Prey displays
- 1 T-Rex
- & 40,000 snowdrops planted
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