If the kids love nature and the zoo – but you have some ethical questions about animals being kept in captivity – then Butterfly World is a great compromise, and the opportunity to support an organization that does great work.
The pivot to ‘The Animal Sanctuary @ Butterfly World’ is a nod to the fact that visions of having your cheeks tickled by swarms of loving butterflies need to be tempered by seasonal reality. In the absence of butterflies during the colder months, the sanctuary is still home to a fantastic array of birds, reptiles and other exotic animals, most of which have been rescued from people’s homes and given the chance to live out their days in a more appropriate environment.
That environment is an immersive one – and one which the kids will truly love. The reception area doesn’t give much of a clue to what awaits visitors, but with entry fees paid, a door swings open and offers admission to a warehouse-sized space where the birds (largely) fly free and the animals are housed in generous zones or pens to give them a taste of a more normal life. There are areas outside too that are home to monkeys and tortoises, a tragically lone Arctic Fox rescued from a vastly inappropriate habitat in a private residence, as well as a section that houses the creepier crawlies and the surprisingly whimsical ‘Road Kill Skeleton Display’.
Some parts of the experience are more interactive than others – watch out for the enthusiastic, curious free-flying birds that love getting up close and personal with visitors. Some sections are partitioned off, and are home to snakes, less social birds and the like.
Apart from being a great place to wander and marvel at the array of critters, the team is also happy to host more educational group outings – and there’s a daily animal show during holiday times.
The fact that many of these animals were once considered pets is borne out by the extensive vocabulary of one particular yellow-crested cockatoo… See if you can track him down.
Adult tickets cost R88 each, and children R49, with family packages for 2 adults and 2 children, at R225. Children under 3 enter for free.
Just off the N1 on the R44