But CNC’s director of operations Henning von Schmeling still gets excited by sightings, especially those that are out of the ordinary.
“On May 1, 2012 we were lucky enough to spot the first recorded occurrence of the Queen Butterfly in Atlanta. She was flitting around the butterfly garden, laying eggs on the milkweed plants we had planted,” von Schmeling said.
“A Southern Dogface Butterfly showed up in our gardens a couple of years ago, another southern species far from its range. These are some of the examples of rare butterflies that find safe haven in the green spaces we preserve.”
On June 7 and 8, the nature center once again shines its spotlight on these ethereally beautiful critters with its annual Flying Colors Butterfly Festival.
The live releases of hundreds of butterflies twice each day has always been a festival highlight. This year, a mixture of Red Admiral, Gulf Fritilary, Zebra Longwing and Painted Lady butterflies as well as other types will be released.
Have a camera ready because butterflies land on kids, grownups and flowers after the releases.
There are many more to meet flying around freely in the Butterfly Encounter tent as well. The tent exhibit has been expanded this year and visitors’ close up experience includes a way to hand-feed more than 250 free-flying butterflies.
The festival also offers live music, entomology exhibits, arts and crafts, face painting, butterfly parades and more. Kids can wear butterfly costumes and join the daily butterfly parades.
Food trucks on site will include sweet snacks from Brusters Ice Cream, King of Pops and Brain Freezz Snow Cones. Among the artisan vendors will be Kathy Walton’s Steel Arts for the Garden, Mary’s Garden Cottages, Webbington’s Jams and Jellies, Sweet Brown Sludge and Handcrafted 4 U in Georgia.
Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission at the entrance is $12, $8 for CNC members and free for children under age 2.
Parking on site is limited.
Additional parking is available at the St. Francis School on Willeo Road just south of Ga. Hwy 120 and a free shuttle bus is in operation.
For information, call (770) 992-2055 ext. 236 or go to www.chattnaturecenter.org.