SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Over the weekend, The Butterfly House & Aquarium officially welcomed back the general public, and joining them were some familiar flying friends.
After months of isolating due to COVID-19, Ashley Regimbal and her daughter Aria couldn’t wait to stretch their wings and visit the Butterfly House.
“It’s fun to get out of the house,” Visitor Aria Regimbal said.
“It feels like we’re starting to see some things opening back up, which is nice especially when we’ve been cooped up in the house for a long time,” Ashley said.
Also looking to stretch are the over 800 hundred butterflies that have returned.
“If you came here a couple of weeks ago, there would have only been about 50 butterflies flying around here,” C.E.O. of The Butterfly House & Aquarium Aurdey Willard said.
The COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for the house to receive their regular shipments of pupa, also known as chrysalis.
“We need new butterflies in here every week to keep up the population in here because the average life span is only 2 to 4 weeks,” Willard said.
Their most recent delivery came Friday with over 700. CEO Audrey Willard and her staff handle over 80 different species of butterfly.
“They’re hanging naturally like they would in the wild. When the butterfly emerges then they hang from the chrysalis, dry their wings until they’re ready to come out here,” Willard said.
Little Regimbal is hoping to catch one of the newborns.
“I’m just trying to get butterflies,” Aura said.
And a sense of normalcy.
“It’s definitely a fun place for families to go and get out and still experience safety,” Regimbal said.
The Butterfly House & Aquarium encourages that families book tickets in advance to guarantee admittance, but they still accept walk-ins. They’re only open to 50 percent capacity.