Many people don’t know this, but I’ve always been somewhat obsessed with butterflies and butterfly gardens.
I was inspired by the gorgeous butterfly gardens I’d visited while living in Japan, and it was my dream as a child
and is still my dream if this whole college thing doesn’t work out to open up my own botanical garden one day! So when I learned that the Dubai Butterfly Garden was located not even a 5 minute walk away from the Dubai Miracle Gardens, I was very excited.
After I bought my 50AED (~13.5USD/12.9EUR) I was still looking forward to the garden—however, that quickly changed when I walked into the first room.
Yep. Those are thousands and thousands of dead butterflies. As far as I know, the butterflies could have died naturally in captivity and been collected and made into art.
But for how perfectly intact and preserved each butterfly on the wall was… Somehow I doubt that was the case.
People may argue that these are ‘just bugs’, but as someone who loves animals and especially butterflies, this was honestly just disturbing. And this was just the first room.
I continued into the
moratorium garden, where I was greeted by an attendant who told me that were three main rooms to the gardens, and to please mind the signs and to not touch the butterflies.
The garden itself was alright. I was very surprised that it was all indoors, as previous butterfly gardens I’d been to where open-air with netting or fencing to keep the butterflies in.
Then again, this is the middle of Dubai and since the garden itself is only open from November to March because of the heat, I’m sure they need the cement walls to insulate the gardens for temperature control.
However, the heat control did make all of the rooms a little uncomfortable humid and warm.
I will say, there are a large variety of types of butterflies and they were very well fed. Anywhere you walked you could see a butterfly of different shape, size, and color than the previous one.
And all around the gardens were various flowers, ledges, sculptures, and plates filled with many different types of butterfly foods.
One thing I did not like seeing were the people not following the simple rules. I saw many instances of kids and adults grabbing and holding butterflies by their wings and taking photos with them.
Many people brought their kids with them which is fine, but they were sprinting around the gardens shaking all of the plants and scaring the butterflies into flying around.
Any signs that said, “No Running”, “Do Not Touch the Butterflies”, or “No Flash Photography in This Area” were blatantly ignored by the visitors, and I was surprised that the many attendants walking around the gardens never said anything.
There was one area I especially did not like. I believe it was in the second room, and there was a small enclosure room bound by netting. I assume it was for people to go into the room and sit on the benches and observe the butterflies, and if they got lucky, have a butterfly land on them and take a photo. Of course, this was not the case.
So many unruly kids kept running inside of the enclosure, hopping up and down on the benches and grabbing for the butterflies. No parents stopped them, and it made being in the enclosure bad for other visitors, but of course horrible for the butterflies.
An attendant actually came around and tapped on the net walls to get the butterflies off the side and to fly around the enclosure to be grabbed at by the kids. Hm.
This final photo is the quintessential reason that I would say “No” to returning to the Dubai Butterfly Gardens.
To the naked eye, it looks like a butterfly simply flew to my friend’s hand and landed on it. But this butterfly was actually passed to her by a little girl who had been taking photos with it before and left to go chase other butterflies. When I looked closer at why this butterfly was so fine with being handled, I saw why.
In the photos you can see it’s wing is a little torn, but what you can’t see is that on the other side where it’s other wing is only half there. It was also missing 3 out of 6 of its little legs.
This butterfly didn’t want to rest—it just couldn’t fly.
Aside from the venue of the garden being a little stuffy temperature wise, being constantly bombarded by uncontrolled children, and not having the best lighting for photos, watching the butterflies be mangled and stressed was enough for me to feel compelled not to visit Dubai Butterfly Garden again.