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Butterfly Garden reopens at Detroit Zoo after months-long closure


The Detroit Zoo's Butterfly Garden, a must-see stop for visitors that's been shut down for months for building updates, is finally open again and zoo patrons aren't the only ones who seem happy. So are the butterflies.

Located inside the zoo's Interpretive Gallery, the Butterfly Garden, home to dozens of species of butterflies, was closed since at least March so contractors could do roofing repairs. Lighting and landscaping upgrades also were done to the nearly century-old building.

They also installed a large "living wall" across one wall in the Butterfly Garden, filling it with dozens of lush, green plants. 

Sarah Culton, a zoo spokeswoman, said the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery, Butterfly Garden and Matilda R. Wilson Free-Flight Aviary all reopened to the public July 22.

The Butterfly Garden's closure came just a month after the zoo reopened its $32 million Polk Penguin Conservation Center. It was shut down for more than two years because of building leaks. 

In late July, butterflies flitted throughout the Butterfly Garden, stopping to land on different plants. Crowds wandered around the humid garden, snapping pictures and sitting to watch, before going into the aviary.

The zoo's 10,000-square-foot Wildlife Interpretive Gallery, built in 1926, was originally the zoo's Bird House and has a large glass dome ceiling.

Inside, the Butterfly Garden houses hundreds of butterflies. According to the zoo's website, it purchases about 250 butterfly pupae, or chrysalises, each week from growers in Central America. There are approximately 25 species.

mfeighan@detroitnews.com