Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden Adds New Wildlife

National Museum of Play News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700 museumofplay.org

January 27, 2011

For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Trien, 585-410-6359, strien@thestrong.org
Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365, srhinewald@thestrong.org

Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden® at the National Museum of Play® Adds New Wildlife

The Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden team at the National Museum of Play has raised the bar by introducing a variety of birds and animals into the butterfly garden to create a lively ecosystem that they have dubbed “butterfly garden 2.0.” Enter the indoor butterfly garden, and experience the beauty of a tropical rainforest. The new, improved Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden is teeming with colorful wildlife among its dense tropical foliage and cascading waterfall.  

In addition to nearly 800 tropical butterflies on the wing, guests are encouraged to stop, look, and listen as they search the garden’s habitat for a number of new creatures that have come to call the garden their home.  

Say hello to Socrates, a brightly plumaged, large-billed green aracari (the smallest member of the Toucan family). Standing 10 inches tall with a five-inch beak, the endearing bird was given his name by the butterfly garden team because of his pensive expression. In addition to contemplating humans, Socrates often enjoys being taken out of his cage to “socialize.”  

Listen for the whirring sounds of free-flying hummingbirds as they whiz by, beating their tiny wings at lightning speed. Six hummingbirds have been added to the garden this winter. You may also be lucky enough to spot one of four brilliantly colored honeycreepers sipping nectar at special stations set up for them throughout the garden.

The new avian residents join an increasing population of miniature Chinese button quail (tiny birds seen everywhere as they scurry around on the garden pathways) as well as happily swimming turtles, leisurely loping tortoises, and brilliant goldfish.

The hummingbirds were of special interest to staff entomologist Tad Yankoski, who travelled to Tucson, Arizona to collect them in the wild with the help of a leading expert on captive hummingbird care from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.  As a result, the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden is now one of about five butterfly gardens in the entire country to feature hummingbirds.

According to Yankoski, “The tiny, delicate hummingbirds were transported back to Rochester in specially created wooden shipping boxes that had small individual compartments, one for each bird. The walls of each were lined with fabric to protect delicate wings, and a specially designed spill-proof feeder was installed to ensure food would be at the ready. We then added small battery powered LED lights to each compartment so the birds would easily be able to find and feed from the feeders.” A bit shy at first, the hummingbirds are beginning to settle into their new habitat. 

Entry to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden is by timed ticket only and advance purchase is recommended. Admission requires the general museum admission fee plus $2 for museum members and $4 for nonmembers; children younger than age two are free. Please call 585-263-2700 to reserve and purchase tickets.



Museum Hours:

Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Admission Fees:

General Admission (does not include admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden®): Adults $12; Seniors $11; Children (2–15) $10; Children younger than two free; museum members free.

Admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden®:

General Admission fee plus $2 for members, $4 for nonmembers; Children under 2 free. Entry is by timed ticket only. Please call 585-263-2700 to reserve and purchase tickets.

Parking:  Free parking is available at the museum for all guests on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that, on high visitation days, the museum lot may reach capacity early in the day. If space is not available on site at the time of your visit, additional parking is available at neighboring municipal garages for a fee. The Strong is not responsible for fees incurred at off-site locations.