While I was in Stratford upon Avon recently I found the time to pay a visit to Stratford Butterfly Farm. This is located over the river from the theatre, a very short walk away. I didn’t find it too busy when I visited, perhaps because it was a sunny day – I can imagine it being a popular rainy day activity for families. It’s also popular with school groups.
The entrance to the Butterfly Farm is bright and attractive with lots of colourful wildflowers. The entrance is also the gift shop, which contains an array of toys and jewellery. After paying my entrance fee I moved into the main Flight Area, a tropical paradise full of plants, with butterflies flying overhead and a pond in the middle. There is also an iguana – thankfully there were signs directing us to look up, as he was sunning himself by the ceiling and blended in so well with his surroundings that he would have been impossible to spot otherwise!
The other rooms at the Butterfly Farm all lead off this main tropical room and I spent most of my time in here. The butterflies were gorgeous and there were lots of them to see. Naturally enough there were signs advising people not to touch the butterflies’ delicate wings. Signs displayed the kinds of butterflies that could be seen; some of them are bred here and others are imported. I have been to the summer-only “Butterflies” exhibition at London’s Natural History Museum and this experience was certainly comparable to that.
The Caterpillar Room contains several species of impressive caterpillar, as well as silk moths and pupae. Information boards explain the kinds of butterfly each caterpillar will turn into – it’s not always possible to tell from the caterpillar itself! There is also an Emerging Cage where, if you are lucky, you can spot a newly-formed butterfly emerging from its cocoon.
This room in particular, and the whole Farm in general, is also home to a family of quails. There is a sign up warning visitors not to step on or disturb these adorable little birds. The main room is also home to several brightly-coloured budgies.
I must admit I was rather worried about going into Arachnoland, as I do have a phobia of spiders. However in the end I wasn’t too worried about viewing these creatures from the safety of the other side of the glass – I was more concerned when the spider was hiding somewhere and I couldn’t keep an eye on it! If you are interested in spiders of all sizes from small Black Widows to larger tarantulas then this will be very interesting for you.
Insect City was a fascinating area, containing an incredible variety of insects from all over the world, including mantids, stag beetles, stick insects and grasshoppers. I think these creatures are amazing and I really enjoyed having a look at them. This area is also home to some impressive Giant African Land Snails, poisonous frogs and a rather cross-looking chameleon!
I spent around an hour and a half in Stratford Butterfly Farm and thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I had a great time getting away from it all in a tropical paradise for a little while. It’s definitely worth popping in here if you are visiting Stratford, particularly if you want a break from all the Shakespeare.
Address: Swan’s Nest Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 7LS
Opening Hours: 10am-5pm/6pm depending on season
Prices: £6.25 adults, seniors/students £5.75, children 3-16 £5.25