Valdosta Daily Times


March 15, 2014

Wild Adventures opens with a colorful new attraction

VALDOSTA — Butterflies drop from the haze of small, waxy envelopes. Monarchs and Painted Ladies. Wings spreading from the coolness of a dormant state to the warmth of a mid-March sun. Fluttering colors wavering against the bursts of flowers in bloom and hundreds of other butterfly wings.

These butterflies awaken to a new season and a new attraction for Wild Adventures. The theme park opens its doors today following its winter hiatus since the first of the year.

The new Butterfly Garden is a 3,000-square-foot, walk-through attraction, featuring the 400-plus butterflies released into the lightly meshed, enclosed structure Friday afternoon.

Tony Padron of Wild Adventures says the Monarch and Painted Lady butterflies are indigenous to South Georgia.

The garden contains approximately 100 plants and vines that attract butterflies, says Laurie Windham, a park spokesperson. Visitors may also notice an orange slice attached to a tree, or a banana on a stick, all to feed the butterflies, while the other plants serve as food for the expected caterpillars in the future. Milkweed, for example, is for the Monarchs, Padron says.

Park guests will be given nectar sticks to attract the butterflies. Visitors will also be requested to stick to the walk paths and watch their steps so as not to step on the butterflies.

Life expectancy for these butterflies is four to six weeks, Padron says. The park hopes that the butterflies will be self-sustaining, but is prepared to order more butterflies to repopulate the garden.

The park based the interactive idea of the Butterfly Garden on a Stone Mountain attraction of butterflies in a tent and Wild Adventures’ bird aviary. With the Butterfly Garden, like the aviary, the butterflies are in a habitat that allows them to move freely, in a setting open to the elements, but enclosed. As Molly Deese, Wild Adventures general manager, notes, the garden is enclosed with mesh that seems almost invisible; inside, it’s all sky and fresh air.

In addition to the Butterfly Garden, Wild Adventures debuts new shows this weekend. “Arlo’s Silly Science” features a country scientist. The “Family Frenzy” game show pits relatives against one another with physical challenges.

The park’s 40 rides, including seven roller coasters, return, along with the animals, and numerous attractions. At the end of the month, the year’s concerts begin. Splash Island is scheduled to reopen the first weekend of April.

More information: Visit

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