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GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - The 18th annual Butterflies are Blooming exhibition opens Friday at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids Township.
The exhibit contains more than 6,000 tropical butterflies, more than 40 colorful species and draws in more than 150,000 visitors from all over the nation.
This year's exhibition, which runs through April 30, highlights the flight patterns of each of the butterflies. The way butterflies fly may seem random and chaotic, but each species displays distinct flight patterns that aid in selecting mates, locating food and avoiding predators.
---- Photos: Butterflies are Blooming: Meijer Gardens (2012) --
"At first glance, it's easy to become lost in the quantity and color of the butterflies," said Steve LaWarre, director
of horticulture at Meijer Gardens. "But once you stop to watch them individually, you'll begin to notice all kinds of different flight patterns and will have a greater appreciation for their diversity."
More than 800 pupae arrive at Meijer Gardens weekly. Visitors can watch as delicate chrysalides and cocoons are placed in the Butterfly Bungalow, where adult butterflies emerge and spread their wings for the first time.
Visitors can also watch as caterpillars voraciously feed on milkweed plants.
After two weeks of tremendous growth, the caterpillars will look for a suitable place to form their chrysalides. Butterflies will open their wings for the first time two weeks later.
During the exhibit there are several activities centered around the butterflies --
- The Butterfly Ballet will take place on March 2 and 16 at 10 a.m. The unique performance highlights characteristics of butterflies through dance, and is performed by members of the Grand Rapids Ballet Junior Company. The event is $3.50 for Meijer Gardens members and $5 for non-members; free for ages 2 and younger.
- Every Tuesday night, visitors are encouraged to bring their flashlights for Tuesday Night Lights. Meijer Gardens is open until 9 p.m. on Tuesday nights, and visitors have the opportunity to see the nightlife in the Tropical Conservatory.
- There are also plenty of children's hands-on activities during the daytimes hours of the exhibit.
Ten people have filed a class action suit against Mercantile Bank, alleging the bank discriminated against minority business owners.
A camera mounted on a tow truck caught an example of a common incident Tuesday: a vehicle sliding off the road.
Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies worked together Tuesday evening to chase down an alleged van thief, despite slippery roads.