MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA — They are the flash of brilliant orange in your pintas patch, the Monarch fluttering at the corner of your eye, or the White Peacock appearing as a proud herald of Spring.
If you keep still and concentrate you might count about 250 butterflies in the new Papilion at Honor Heights Park.
6 varieties are just coming out to dry their wings.
Muskogee Parks Director Mark Wilkerson helped count them all.
“Everything moves a little faster in the warmth,” he says after an un-seasonable May cold snap ended. “They love this sunshine.”
The Tulsa and Oklahoma City Zoos have butterfly gardens, but for now Muskogee can boast of Oklahoma’s only butterfly house.
Robin Aguirre is the flower and butterfly grower here.
He shows off a row of chrysali, butterflies within days of emerging.
“These two will come out within the next couple of days,” he says.
Aguirre is also the go to guy for questions from 2nd graders at nearby Creek Elementary who flutter in to see things up close.
“This is something really delicate,” he says to the students leaning in to look at a Monarch that’s just emerged.
By the end of summer, some 26 varieties will call this butterfly house home.
They trade open skies for a good supply of pollen and nectar.
If you stand very still, which is pretty hard for some of today’s guests, they might seek a place to rest where you can study them up close.
One particular Julia butterfly makes a good impression.
A few minutes later, the Papilion Butterfly House has an eager reception line.
For more information on the new Papilion Butterfly House in Muskogee go to http://www.cityofmuskogee.com/shell.asp?pg=410