There is plenty for visitors of all ages to discover during October half term at the newly refurbished Stratford Butterfly Farm. Along with the recent improvements, visitors to the farm can now see around 30 Maya sculptures and artefacts, which originate from an ancient rainforest civilisation in Belize.
In the Discovery Zone, visitors can see some of the crops that the ancient Maya farmed in the rainforest and are still being farmed today. These include sweet corn, maize, sweet potato, pineapple, avocado and even cacao saplings, which is the source of chocolate. Also in the Discovery Zone, children can take part in Mini-Beast handling sessions each day with a giant African millipede, African land snail and stick insects.
New on display in the Minibeast Metropolis are a number of giant African fruit beetles and rhinoceros rat snakes. The beetles are usually found in African tropical forests and their colours range from dull brown to bright green and blues. Females can grow up to 5.5cm and males up to 8cm. The males also have horns and clearer colours. As their name suggests, they feed on fruits and sap from trees. The snakes, which originate from Southern China and Vietnam, get their name from their unusual scaly protrusion on the front of their snout. They are relatively small, growing up to a maximum of 1m in length.
Within Minibeast Metropolis is the leafcutter ant colony, which is now one of the largest on display in the UK. Since their arrival in January, the colony has continually increased in size. Watching the ants transporting leaves back to their nest along overhead ropes is a fascinating sight to behold.
To see hundreds of spectacular butterflies, insects, reptiles and spiders, visit the Butterfly Farm from 10am to 6pm every day of the week. For more information including admission prices and group rates, please visit the website at www.butterflyfarm.co.uk or telephone on 01789 299288.