“ Europe's premier butterfly farm. Swan's Nest Lane,Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 7LS. Tel: +44 (0)1789 299 288 Fax: +44 (0)1789 415 878. „
A friend and I took my daughter to the butterfly farm in early July this year. After looking at the website, which states this to be 'The Uk's largest tropical butterfly paradise,' I thought it would be a fair sized place with a good amount to see and do. I was quite wrong actually!
The surroundings to the farm are quite nice, set just outside Stratford's town centre and just more than a stones through from the River Avon. And to get to the entrance you walk through pretty gardens filled with a nice array of flowers. Looking at it from the outside the farm just looks like a few big sized greenhouses and as you pay your entrance fee in the gift shop and enter through the big plastic flaps, which you could once find in a supermarket separating the milk and chilled isle from the non chilled section, you soon realise a big greenhouse is actually what it is. However it's a greenhouse with plants, a bit of water and humidity to recreate that 'Rain forest' effect.
From the minute you step through the plastic flaps your greeted instantly by butterfly's of all sizes who don't seem to mind where they land which is actually quite nice to see them just doing there own thing. Unfortunately there did seem to be quite a few on the ground that looked like they'd been trodden on and we'd not been told to look out for them on the floor so I imagine the farm must lose a lot of butterfly's this way. The main part of the farm is filled with plants and shrubbery to mimic the rain forest and a stream runs through the centre. The website also states that there is an Iguana (just the one!) and a few varieties of birds fluttering around. I saw a couple of cockatiels, which could of possibly once belonged to my Gran, and that was it. As you follow the path it leads you to another green house section filled with cocoons of different stages held in cabinets where the constant butterfly supply starts life. You then go back out to the main area which takes you along and around a mini waterfall and pond. The pond is filled with large fish and there is also a platform area with a couple of seats which you can sit at and take in the very artificial, but still quite nice looking view.
Through another set of plastic flaps you arrive in a semi darkened room with a few glass viewers filled with ants and spiders, 'Arachnoland.' We didn't really have the chance to have a good look around this area as there where two school groups in and the room just didn't seem large enough for everyone to be able to browse comfortably so off we popped through the next set of plastic flaps leading onto 'Insect City,' which houses, well Insects. The entrance was again blocked by a large school group so we missed the first few insects but there are quite a few glass cabinets containing such things as stick insects, beetles and ants so we did get to try and spot some of them, which for my daughter, became a boring game after the first 4 cabinets. After Insect city the path leads back to the main farm area and then out to the gift shop, which sells all sorts of random un-butterfly related items. This area can become quite condensed as people queue to enter and pay for their goods at the same till but if you steer clear of this part until the queue goes down you can have a leisurely look.
Overall I found the butterfly farm to be much smaller than the website would have you believe and slightly over priced for what it is. I would say that unless you have a particularly keen interest in butterfly's and their conservation save yourself the £5.95 admission fee and buy yourself a Purpurea/Butterfly Tree and enjoy their delights from the comfort of your on garden, I'll even ask my Gran to dig out the cockatiels!
I used to live just next door to Stratford Butterfly Farm, & it's a place I enjoyed visiting several times.
You walk up to the Butterfly Farm through a nice little garden designed to attract the UK butterflies in the summer months, & then you go into the shop where you can purchase your tickets. You are directed through a doorway with a double set of plastic flaps designed to make sure the butterflies don't fly through, & you come out into a very large, warm room that is like a giant greenhouse. Immediately you will see exotic butterflies flying through the air around you as well as resting on the plants, on the floor, or anywhere they can land, including on the visitors!
It is fascinating to see all the beautifully coloured butterflies flying around everywhere & you will not believe how many there are. For the first part of your visit you'll be completely immersed in watching them & seeing how many different kinds you can spot. It is lovely to be so close to them & they may even land on your clothes! If you don't like them landing on you then you can just shake yourself slightly & they will fly off. Please don't worry that you will be constantly shaking off butterflies as they don't actually land on people all that often; they much prefer the plants & the special nectar feeders & fruit that are provided for them!
You would probably like to know about the butterfly house in more detail. It is warm & humid, but not unpleasantly so - I easily get uncomfortable in hot places but I find the heat in the butterfly house perfectly bearable. It is full of very well-kept exotic plants & trees, with a path to follow & plenty of benches along the way. It really is like you are in a very large, tropical garden. There are some nice water features & a pool with some fish, as well as lots of information boards telling you about which butterflies & other animals you can see, as well as information about a butterfly's life cycle, what they eat and so on.
There is a caterpillar room off to one side in which you can see caterpillars & pictures of the butterflies or moths they'll turn in to, & also a small section in which you can see chrysalides & often you may even see a butterfly hatching out of one! It is fascinating to see how they come out covered in a sticky fluid & have to let themselves dry out before they can fly.
Although the butterflies are amazing, I find the farm's other residents equally fascinating. These include various types of exotic birds, which it is fun to spot flying around & landing in the trees. My favourite ones to look out for are the tiny Chinese Painted Quail that can be found wandering around in the undergrowth if you look carefully. We even saw them with chicks once!
Another animal to look out for is the iguana - well, three of them actually! If you are there as a family you could play a game of who can spot one first, as they can be quite well hidden, but you can usually find them in the end! A tip is to look on top of walls & on tree branches.
There are also separate rooms housing various creepy crawlies in glass cages, such as exotic spiders, glow-in-the dark scorpions, & the very creepy giant millipedes!
It currently costs £5.75 for an adult ticket, & £4.75 for children over 3 (or £16.75 for a family ticket). I consider this to be excellent value for money for such an unusual, enjoyable attraction, with the unique experience of being able to get so close to the animals.
The Butterfly Farm is open every day except Christmas Day, from 10am-6pm (or until dusk in the winter months).
The Butterfly Farm is very easy to get to as it is only a few minutes' walk from the centre of town: just cross the river from the Bancroft Gardens & follow the signs; it is almost straight ahead of you.
I would recommend allowing at least 2 hours for your visit, although I could happily sit in there all day just watching all the creatures around me!
One thing I should also mention is that there is no cafe, although a few canned drinks & ice creams are available in the shop. There are also no toilets. To make up for this, your ticket is valid all day so you can come & go as you please. There are plenty of places to eat nearby & also public toilets.
Stratford on Avon's Butterfly farm is a popular attraction in our area with families, it's based in Stratford upon Avon and is only a few minutes walk from the town centre, and is very well sign posted, even having its own bus, which runs around the area. I think this makes a great addition to any family day out when visiting Stratford.
There are also many children in our area whom visit the Butterfly Farm on school trips especially at primary school and nursery ages, and they always seem to enjoy it, no matter what age or sex.
I have been there a few times with family and friends and every time we have had a really lovely day, it really is a really gorgeous place to visit in my opinion and very interesting, I also think the staff am brilliant, very knowledgeable and great with the kids.
Well I am going to try and be brief as there is so much to see there is no way I could write it all down, so basically its like huge greenhouses, full of gorgeous different species of butterflies, from your normal UK species, so species from the Amazon and giant Owl butterflies there are so many its just amazing to see. But not only butterflies grace this farm, but there are many other lovely creatures that you can get a look at, such as; leaf cutter ants, caterpillars, giant millipedes, snails and crabs, over 15 species of spiders and scorpions, parakeets, rosella birds, parrots, doves, sunbirds, cockatiels and even a couple of iguanas, and there is probably so much more that I am forgetting.
I would advise everyone to be prepared for tropical temperatures, it's really warm obviously for the butterflies and animals that are used to warmer climates than our own, so you really do not need a coat or anything too heavy on, or else you'll be sweating buckets. It is really nice though if you have been trekking through the attractions of Stratford and the weather has not so good, which lets face it, is quite normal for our country, its so nice to walk into this lovely environment where you feel you have stepped inside a rainforest and with the sound of the water running, its such a relaxing place to visit and there are plenty of seating areas located around the farm for you to sit and soak in the atmosphere.
My best bit, although not everyone would enjoy this (my mum could not stand this at all ) is that a lot of the butterflies are flying around you, and sometimes you will be looking at something and before you know it you'll have a couple of them resting on your back or your arm or your head, its so sweet. So make sure you do not forget your cameras as I have the most gorgeous photos of my daughter with butterflies on her head and also I have a great one when she was one, and she was in her pushchair and one landed on her hand and she just sat there with her mouth wide open.....its my favourite photo in the world. But if you are scared of moths and stuff like that then I would imagine you may not like this place, as there are some very large butterflies, and if you are scared then it may make you a bit squeamish.
My son has just been doing a project on rainforests at school, so he went on a school trip there a few weeks back, and he loved it. The staff showed them around and explained which butterflies were found in which rainforest and explained all about all the different species. They also did an Amazon challenge, which was basically a tour based around their topic, so was great for them. They also hunted for the iguana, unfortunately this time they did not find him at all. It's a bit hit and miss really with the iguanas, they tend to hide, but I have seen them twice out of the four times I have visited, so not too bad of odds.
Apart from the main area there is insect city, arachnoland and the caterpillar room. All are brilliant, I must admit I'm a bit scared of the arachnoland and I don't like the scorpion, but my son loves them to bits, especially the huge scorpions..... You know what boys are like with this kind of stuff my hubby is the same, and they have some that glow in the dark, so I was freaked out, I really do not like scorpions. My son even held a tarantula is his school visit...eeerrruuuugghhh!!!
Last time I went with my daughter we spent a lot of the time in the caterpillar room, as she was convinced she was going to find Eric Carle's hungry caterpillar in there, chomping on an ice-cream!!!! Bless her!! But there was a lovely female member of staff there whom went through everything with her and explained how they change, and showed her loads of cocoons and the pupae etc, by the end of the talk, she is now a little four year old expert!! Well she thinks she is.
I could go on forever explaining all the different areas, plants, animals, attractions etc but then this review would end up an essay, but I can promise you a really lovely time no matter what your age. There is a gift shop on site that have some really nice gifts ranging in prices and styles from small souveniours like pencils etc to special ranges of gifts, like butterfly t-shirts, plates etc.
I would warn though, in my opinion this is not a whole day visit, I would imagine 2-4 hours at the most, but you can still make a day of it anyway, with the surrounding attractions at Stratford upon Avon.
We have also just had a picnic at the side of the riverbank when we last visited, and went to the park and had a great day, we mainly did this as we did not want to spend a lot of money and with the financial times the way they are I would imagine a lot of families are looking for affordable things to do in the holiday, if not affordable then free!!.
Every day in the Summer 10.00 am till 0600 pm.
Every day apart from Xmas day in the winter 10.00 am till dusk.
Seniors and students 5.25
Children under 3 free
Children over 3 - 4.75
Family 2 adults and 2 children 16.75
Group rates for over ten
Seniors and students 4.75
Stratford Butterfly Farm
Swan's Nest Lane
Tel 01789 299 288
With the school holidays starting today, then if you are in that area or visiting that area than why not give it a try, you will be not disappointed and also normally during school holidays they normally have loads going on, for e.g. bug hunts and talks and tours more specific to the children.