Butterfly shortage puts Fort Worth's popular butterfly exhibit on hold
No butterflies this weekend, so sorry: The Fort Worth Botanic Garden | Botanical Research Institute of Texas has been forced to temporarily shut down its popular "Butterflies in the Garden" exhibit due to not enough butterflies.
According to a release, the shortage could be a result of recent freezing temperatures or supply chain issues, but they're assessing all causes.
They've put ticket sales on hold, and anyone who had tickets for this weekend of March 4-6 will get a refund. Staff will reassess the situation early next week.
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden calls its exhibit the largest display of live, exotic butterflies in north-central Texas. The butterflies are bred and shipped here from countries like South America and Africa, to get released inside the Garden's Rainforest Conservatory, a greenhouse with plants, lizards, and other critters that has been around since 1986. An adult butterfly lives anywhere from one to four weeks.
The Rainforest Conservatory hasn't had the easiest of times: In 2016, its glass roof was damaged by hail and the facility was closed for renovations until 2019.
The butterflies are a very big deal. The opportunity to see what the Garden calls "brilliantly colored living jewels" fluttering about gets people amped up. When the facility announced its reopening back in 2019, the most popular query was about the status of the butterflies.
This year's exhibit, which began on February 25 and runs for six weeks through April 10, has drawn some Debbie Downer comments about there being not enough butterflies. They want more. For Instagram, probably?
Executive VP Bob Byers says in a statement that there are lots, but maybe not enough.
"This is one of our beloved, premiere events and staff are disappointed but hopeful and excited that we may reopen soon," Byers says. "While there are certainly lots of butterflies in the Rainforest Conservatory, the numbers are not what we have promised our guests, nor are they at historical levels."
Historical levels would be 400 to 500 butterflies. There are currently less than that. Say no more.
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is the oldest public botanic garden in Texas with theme gardens that include the Fuller Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, and the Victor and Cleyone Tinsley Garden. The Botanical Research Institute of Texas is a nonprofit that collects plant specimens and teaches about conservation and biodiversity. BRIT assumed nonprofit management of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on October 1, 2020.
Among their solutions to the butterfly shortage is the possibility of increasing butterfly releases.
There are companies whose entire business model is to breed and sell butterflies to be used as disposable decorations for weddings and other ceremonies. Imagine being a person who would buy a living creature that you would chill in a refrigerator for 20 minutes (to slow the butterflies down), then plop them onto your bridal bouquet, wedding gown, or graveside stone, whereupon you would have about 30 seconds to capture your photograph before the butterflies warm up and "re-animate" by slowly opening and closing their wings and walking at a slow pace. What a keepsake moment that must be.