Elephants are the largest land animal and Cheetah’s are by far the fastest (with Ostriches coming in at second place!); but one of the most interesting animals in the world is the Butterfly. Scientists estimate that there are between 15,000 and 20,000 different species of butterfly. With so many species and millions in the world, there are bound to be some interesting and fun facts about butterflies.

For example, did you know butterflies have an exoskeleton? Unlike humans, elephants and cheetahs whose bones are inside their bodies; butterflies and most other insects have skeletons on the outside of their body.  Or, did you know that a butterflies flight speed is 12 miles per hour but they cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 86 degrees? But perhaps the most interesting aspect of a butterfly is its life cycle aka metamorphosis.

aruba butterfly

Whistler and I had an awesome time learning all about Butterflies at The Butterfly Farm on our recent mommy-son vacation in Aruba sponsored by The Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino. Open 7 days a week (8.30 am – 4.30pm) with hundreds of exotic butterflies from all around the world – including South America, South East Asia, China, Africa etc – the Butterfly Farm is a great way to see butterflies of all shapes, colors and sizes. The guided tour provides easy to understand educational information and and up close and personal look at butterflies in all of their stages of metamorphosis. All the boys LOVED it and I’m pretty sure all the adults learned something they didn’t know before :)

The Metamorphosis of a Butterfly

The Egg

The first stage in a butterflies life is the egg. It is a very small, cylindrical shaped object laid by the female butterfly. Using a special type of glue, the female attaches this egg to the leaf or stem on a plant. Once hatched, the caterpillar will use this plant as food. Butterflies will take nectar (food) from a wide variety of flowers, but female butterflies will only lay their eggs on the leaves of the specific plant that the caterpillar will eat!

aruba butterfly farm

Did You Know...

Humans can only taste with their mouths. But did you know, before they lay their eggs, many butterflies actually taste with their feet to determine if the plant is right for their caterpillars food!

The Caterpillar

Once hatched, the caterpillar (or larva) begins the stage of eating and growth. This hungry caterpillar may be stripped or patched and some even have hairs. Each caterpillar’s markings are suited for the type of plant they live on and their predators. They truly as masters of disguise as they confuse and warn other animals as they happily do nothing but eat.

As the caterpillar grows it sheds its skin four times to keep up with it’s growth spurts. Once the caterpillar is fully grown, they will seek out the perfect twig or leaf where they shed their outside layer of skin and form a Chrysalis.

The Pupa

As a Pupa, a caterpillar is hard at work during it’s transformation stage inside it’s chrysalis. It’s during this time that the adult insect begins to form. During our tour, we were shown many different types of butterfly chrysalis and as you can see, each is as unique as the caterpillar that made it!

aruba butterfly farm 1After emerging from its chrysalis an adult waits a few hours for its wings to fill with blood and dry, before flying for the first time. We were lucky enough to arrive at a time were many butterflies were just about ready to take their first flight. A new Monarch Butterfly took his first flight and landed right on Whistler (that’s a sign of good luck!).

The Adult Butterfly

As an adult, the butterfly is not only colorful but it’s now reproductive and mobile. During this stage, an adult butterfly will court, mate and lay it’s eggs. Depending on the species, an adult butterfly will live in this stage anywhere between one week and one year. While most stay local to where they were born, the Monarch Butterfly makes an incredible 2,000 mile journey from the US to Mexico and back over 6 generations to breed!

Fun Fact:

Butterflies range in size from a tiny 1/8 inch to a huge almost 12 inches.

Everything we saw and learned was so interesting, but I have to admit that the most incredible sighting of the day was actually not a butterfly at all. Behold the stunning Atlas Moth – the largest moth in the world with a 10″ wingspan. Unfortunately, this guy doesn’t “look” so big, but he is actually sitting on HUGE tropical leaves that are at least 18″ big. (Man I wish I would have gotten a picture with my head next to this!)

The body was the size of a small rat. I wanted to try and hold it, but was honestly a little scared as his body alone was bigger than my hand! Check out the edges of his wings – what do you see? If you said “a snake’s head” you’d be right! It’s great to ward off predators, although honestly, what would eat this monster of a moth anyway?

We loved this experience so much, Whistler was sad when it was time to leave. Luckily I remembered a product I had seen on Amazon a while back – The Live Butterfly Garden where you can witness the butterfly life cycle up close with your kids. I just ordered mine (it’s on sale for $11.75!) and can’t wait to show it to Whistler.

A HUGE thank you to the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino for making is possible for my son and I to experience the Aruba Butterfly Farm in person. As usual, all opinions and thoughts are my own!

Jeana Shandraw

Jeana Shandraw

Rarely caught without a camera, Jeana is an adventurous traveler with a passion for people, cultures and food that has led her to 38 countries in 5 years. When she's not using her powers for social good, she enjoys photography, cooking and building LEGOs with her son. On occasion, you may also find her crocheting cute things to hide in her husband's underwear drawer.

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  1. Mia
    August 11, 2013 at 11:11 am — Reply

    I love butterflies! So cool you got to see every stage of them!

  2. judy gardner
    August 7, 2013 at 2:52 am — Reply

    what beautiful creatures (and pictures) i have not seen most of these kinds of caterpillars or butterflies

  3. August 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm — Reply

    Butterflies are not something I know a lot about. I do know they are becoming the subject of more and more field trips and family outings. They are so delicate and of course, beautiful.

    • August 8, 2013 at 11:02 pm — Reply

      They’re fascinating creatures for sure.

  4. Mia Dentice Carey
    August 3, 2013 at 8:59 pm — Reply

    So COOL! My son & I just went to the Butterfly Garden at the Jacksonville Zoo!

  5. kristin sims
    August 2, 2013 at 11:27 pm — Reply

    They are beautiful, funny how something so ugly (caterpillar) turns into something so different and beautiful…like the ugly duckling that turns into a swan…beautiful pictures

    • August 8, 2013 at 10:53 pm — Reply

      I think a lot of life lessons can be found in the transformation process of a butterfly. :)

  6. Lily Kwan
    July 30, 2013 at 3:48 am — Reply

    The Aruba Butterfly Farm looks very nice. Thanks for sharing!

  7. July 17, 2013 at 8:59 pm — Reply

    Amazingly cool! I’d love to take my kids there!

  8. Sherry Compton
    July 17, 2013 at 3:27 am — Reply

    Butterflies are amazing and beautiful. Colorful and delicate but also strong to go through the changes they have to. Good to see kids getting involved.

    • August 8, 2013 at 11:05 pm — Reply

      I love attractions that allow kids to be hands on, they learn best that way.

  9. Susan Broughton
    July 17, 2013 at 2:55 am — Reply

    Wow how beautiful! Butterflies are so beautiful. I hope that we can take care of the planet so that they will be around for the next few generations to also enjoy

  10. Helene Tienda
    July 15, 2013 at 10:03 pm — Reply

    This place looks incredible!! I’d love to go one day.

  11. July 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm — Reply

    A trip to Aruba? Where was the Internet when I was young? I coulda been a contender! (In SciFi books, that’s where it was! ;)

  12. Pam B.
    July 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm — Reply

    I love to watch Butterflies. My favorite is the Monarch. I don’t think I have ever seen an Owl Butterfly Caterpillar before. I used to teach the OH/BEH and we had a study on Butterflies. one year. We got to see the whole process in our classroom. It is so wonderful to watch children’s expressions as the Butterflies are released. I love the expression of your son was holding the Butterfly! Was he scared when the Butterfly landed on his nose? Thank you for sharing!

  13. Gianna
    July 13, 2013 at 9:32 pm — Reply

    Wow, that is amazing! I would love to go see all of that.

  14. Chris Alejandro
    July 8, 2013 at 8:07 am — Reply

    Such a nice e experience to see the entire process!

  15. July 3, 2013 at 5:31 am — Reply

    That shot on his nose is adorbs!!

    • July 3, 2013 at 7:52 am — Reply

      I know – it stayed there forever. He finally asked if I could please take him off – lol!

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