If you love butterflies, and you’re in our area, why not take a couple hours to stop at the National Butterfly Center! This is a relatively new facility — I think the volunteer said it’s about 14 years old, and the association that started it was founded in 1993. And, in spite of being a jewel in the rough I think it deserves a visit.
The National Butterfly Center is all about attracting butterflies — not about purchasing butterflies to be shown off in captivity. All the creatures here are wild, native visitors to the area — they “find” the center because the center provides a wide variety of native plants that the critters like — so if you want to attract more butterflies to your own garden this is the place to come, see how it’s done.
Situated on 100 acres the site has lots of ideas for the lazy gardener! By that I mean that their gardens at the center are not pristine and museum like —they are a bit rough, a bit ragged, but the butterflies don’t care! You don’t have to be prissy or obsessive to make the butterflies happy. A few plants with some blooms are really all it takes to attract them and you can find hundreds of species here assuming you come at the right time for them all.
The seasons vary, and so do the flying visitors. WE’re told that December is absolutely the busiest month but any month that has some blooms will still attract numerous butterflies & moths. We saw a few hundred individuals for sure; a variety of species but not nearly as wide a variety as at some times of the year.
We made the trip on a windy day, but I could easily see bringing camera and tripod along for both some interesting butterfly shots and some plant images.
While we were that far west we stopped at one of our favorite seafood restaurants in McAllen, Mambo! I know this is a chain operation — there is on store down here and several each in Dallas and Houston — but multiple locations notwithstanding we find them thoroughly mouth watering.