Discovering Butterflies In Person at North County's Butterfly Farms

Spring has sprung in Southern California! And even though another El Nino storm is expected in the next couple of days, the sun shone on Friday for us and we were able to visit Butterfly Farms in North San Diego County. This quaint butterfly sanctuary is nestled inside a local nursery and tended to by caring and knowledgable staff and volunteers.
We spotted so many beautiful butterflies! 
Check out some of the photos from our experience.

A bright orange gulf fritillary butterfly

Butterflies landed on my son's hand as we were exploring.

We waited patiently for butterflies to come close.

A monarch resting perched on a beam.

Getting a closer look at the protected chrysalis'.

 A volunteer spotted and pointed out these tiny caterpillar eggs. So amazing.

We got the chance to see empty chrysalis

 Our volunteer talking about the tropical milkweed plant and how to spot eggs and even a newborn caterpillar right before our eyes.

A queen butterfly (foreground), a monarch (middle) and a gulf fritillary (background) all showing the underside of their wings. We learned that the queens have white spots in their veining, unlike the monarchs which for us, helped to tell them apart.

Close up of a queen butterfly. A queen has little to no veining on the front side of their wings. 

Tips for visiting Butterfly Farms:

  • Visiting the butterflies won't take long, 30 minutes to maybe 45 depending on if you get the chance to speak with one of the caretakers.
  • Admission is a donation to Butterfly Farms (which is a non-profit and tax deductable)
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions of the caretakers. They have tons of knowledge, but they are also caring for plants in the attached plant nursery, so they might not share unless you ask (unless you schedule a tour with a group.
  • It is important to be respectful of the environment and to take great care when inside the butterfly enclosure.
  • Entrance to Butterfly Farms is located off of Oleander. If you are coming from south county, it will take you a good 45 minutes by car. 
  • There is a nearby park (Sunset park) just a few minutes drive from Butterfly Farms and would make a perfect picnic spot and complimentary activity to visiting the butterflies.
  • While the butterflies are for all ages, kids of elementary age will LOVE it.
  • If you ask, you may just be able to purchase a milkweed plant variety for your garden.

 Gorgeous cabbage patch planted inside a wheel barrel, just outside the enclosure. I had to snap a photo.

For more butterfly fun more or to learn about butterflies before or after your trip:
NatGeo Kids Monarch page - full of fun info.
Super cute butterfly life cycle craft from Buggy and Buddy.

We had a blast and can't wait to go back!


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