"Wings of Wonder" Butterfly Exhibit at Big Cypress National Preserve

Butterflies are a colorful part of the landscape in many parks. Photo by Jim Burnett

Birds and human "snowbirds" aren't the only critters that enjoy spending the winter in Florida, and "The Wings of Butterfly Exhibit" at Big Cypress National Preserve offers beautiful photos and useful information about these lovely residents. Special programs and hikes featuring butterflies will also be offered in the park on December 11.

The exhibit, which will run through February 26, 2011, is presented by the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association. It will feature "photos of the winged jewels of the swamp, butterflies native to Big Cypress and provides beautiful photography along with useful information on butterfly conservation and protection."

You can enjoy the exhibit at two locations in the park: the Big Cypress Swamp Welcome Center located at 33000 Tamiami Trail East in Ochopee, Florida, and the Oasis Visitor Center at 52105 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee, Florida. Both facilities are open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Directions and maps are available at this link.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the park will offer special programs on butterflies and walks searching for butterfly species on Saturday, December 11. Programs will be presented at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at both visitor centers.

The special displays are made possible through a grant from the South Florida National Parks Trust and features photography by Jamie Bernard, Lisa Blackwelder, Linda Cooper, Ron Nuehring, Bill Perry, Hank Poor, Holly Salvato, Jim Spencer, Mickey Wheeler and Michelle Wisniewski.

Getting a good look at butterflies in the wild can sometimes be a challenge, and unless you've got a bit of experience or a good guidebook, perhaps you're not confident in the identification of those you do spot. The combination of these exhibits and upcoming programs offer a fine opportunity to take advantage of some expert help… and the colorful specimens in those photos will stay put for as long as you want to watch!