Last time that we went to see the butterflies, Raffy was only about 10 months old and I remember him looking around in utter amazement as all of the huge butterflies fluttered around him. The setting is amazing; a sort of indoor jungle with pathways winding through the great big tropical plants, beautiful orchids and water features. Last time, I also remember having to queue in the bitter cold for about an hour to get in as it’s such a popular exhibit.
This time, we were lucky. Joined by a heavily pregnant friend of mine, we arrived at Wisley for 10am, just as it was opening and walked straight to the Glasshouse at the back of the garden to find that we were one of the first there!
The butterflies are incredible. Not so surprisingly, the Glasshouse is filled with gigantic lens wielding butterfly enthusiasts taking close up shots of the butterflies. Although lots of them are hard to spot amongst the flowers, thanks to the many huge and brightly coloured ones fluttering around, Raffy was completely immersed in the whole experience.
The one difference that I did notice between our trip with an 11 month old and with a nearly three year old was his desperation to step on the butterflies. Thankfully he kept missing, as we would have been extremely unpopular with the hardcore butterfly set had we had to scrape one from his wellies.
After the butterflies, we stopped for a cup of tea in the Glasshouse Cafe while Raffy played in the new soft play area. This has been recently moved from the main cafe at the other end, and upgraded to include a little wendy house and a soft slide making it perfect for toddlers. Raffy had a great run around with a very sweet little boy before we made the slow walk back, stopping to have a good old chat with every duck we came across.
The butterflies are in the Glasshouse right up until the 8th March, so there’s plenty of time to visit. There are even special kids events on over the February half term (daily activities vary, events schedule here). Glasshouse entry and all activities included in the price of a normal entry ticket or free to RHS Wisley members.