The festival marks its 20th anniversary this year. It is meant as a time to enjoy and understand nature and learn how to preserve it.
“Our mission is to inspire a love of nature and cultivate environmental understanding and stewardship,” Executive Director of the nature center Alan Mothner said. “When we get people here for something like the butterfly festival, it gives them that one-of-a-kind experience with nature that they would not get in a book. We are able to educate people in several different ways with this festival. We could do something similar with a snake festival, but I do not think we would get the turnout as we do with butterflies.”
This year the festival will have two tents to better accommodate each visiting patron. With the large crowds that came last year and the current pre-registration turnout this year, the nature center is hopeful for more than 2,000 visitors. Mothner said since there was such great success last year, they added an extra tent plus a few more entertainment venues to better accommodate guests.
Besides the butterflies, there will be a Nature’s Echo Birds of Prey show, balloon animals, the Bubble Man and two concerts during the day. Also, there will be crafts for children and concessions.
The butterflies come from Zane Greathouse’s farm in Florida. The butterflies go into hibernation mode and are sent in individual envelopes on ice. Once the butterflies arrive, Greathouse and his crew will safely take the butterflies out of hibernation and release them into the tents.
After the festival, the butterflies will go back into hibernation and return to the butterfly farm. Mothner said this provides a sustainable source for the festival each year.
The tents that will house the butterflies for the festival have a double door system to ensure the butterflies will not escape. Inside each tent will be tables forming a horseshoe path. Each table will contain nectar-producing plants and visitors can hold a foam brush with Gatorade on it to pick up a butterfly from a plant.
If you go:
When: Aug. 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Dunwoody Nature Center, 5343 Roberts Drive
Cost: Pre-purchase tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 4 to 12 and free for children 3 and under. Day of tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 4 to 12 and free for children 3 and under.
Information: visit www.dunwoodynature.org/Butterfly-Festival