Butterfly Gardens of Wisconsin set to open

TOWN OF CENTER – Butterflies are taking flight this weekend. The Butterfly Gardens of Wisconsin open to the public Saturday.

It was a spectacular sight Friday as the butterflies were released to their new home.

One butterfly after another, found a new home at the Butterfly Gardens of Wisconsin. A sanctuary north of Appleton that Jack Voight has long dreamed of having.

“I’ve always been interested in nature and interested in butterflies as a young boy when I collected butterflies.”

Opened last year, Voight says the attraction surpassed his expectations.

“We had about 5,000 people last summer and we expect about 10,000 people this summer.”

Voight, his wife, and other volunteers released monarch butterflies Friday at the gardens. Voight says the monarch’s will multiply over the summer in preparation for an important migration south.

“The monarchs are very endangered I believe, because right now, the monarch population is down about 90 percent.”

In addition to education, Voight says the Butterfly Gardens are also on a mission of preservation.

“Our mission is really to encourage people to have backyard butterfly gardens and by having more habitat, I think we can increase the amount of monarchs that we have in this state.”

And volunteers say with the gardens opening to the public Saturday, that mission should hit home with visitors.

“I believe that it is very important that people know about butterflies and they are more important to people than they thought until something like this came along,” said Karen Nocito of Appleton.

The gardens also feature about 20 other kinds of butterflies. There are also walking trails to explore where you too can have a hands-on experience with nature.

In addition to Saturday, the gardens will be open Wednesday’s through Sunday’s through September.

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