A smattering of butterflies have flitted through my yard this spring, loitering briefly around the lantana and aloe stalks before moving on to lusher landscapes. Those fleeting backyard glimpses are nothing compared to the up-close and personal look you get at hundreds of butterflies inside The Marshall Butterfly Pavilion at Desert Botanical Garden.
Open through May 12 (Mother’s Day outing, anyone?), the enclosed pavilion is home to a wider variety of winged wonders than I’ve ever spotted off my patio — from the pale and pretty Cloudless Sulphur and White Peacock, to the bold and striking Zebra Longwing, Question Mark and Red Admiral. Bring a camera, because you’ll be able to easily approach the creatures as they bask in the sun, take in nectar or drink at shallow puddles. One might even land on you.
Time your trip for National Public Gardens Day on Friday, May 10, and you (and up to 9 others) can get in free, with a coupon printed in advance at NationalPublicGardensDay.org.
DETAILS >> Open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through May 12 at Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix. $3.50 per person age 3 and older with paid garden admission of $8-$18 per person. Free on May 10 with a coupon printed at NationalPublicGardensDay.org. (480) 941-1225 or DBG.org.