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Natural Awakenings Hudson County NJ

Butterfly Watching in DeKorte Park

Butterflies might just be the world’s most popular bugs. They don’t bite, sting or buzz, are colorful and easy to see, and their delicate, symmetrical wings and celebrated color patterns are one of nature’s marvels. The 30.4-square-mile Meadowlands District, comprising parts of 14 municipalities in Bergen and Hudson counties, puts prime butterfly habitats within easy reach of Hudson County residents. The Richard W. DeKorte Park is home to dozens of butterfly varieties, and offers educational programs, guided walks and butterfly photo ops.

Hotspots include the butterfly bushes by the Meadowlands Environment Center, the flowers at the WTC Memorial Cove and the Butterfly Garden near the AMVETS Carillon on nearby Disposal Road. The best time of day to see butterflies is from mid-morning to mid-afternoon on sunny days. Most butterflies can be seen with the naked eye, but special butterfly binoculars can give a magnified look at the subtle features of these amazing insects. Unlike birding binoculars, built to see things far away, butterfly binoculars typically focus closer than six feet. 

There will be a free Butterfly Walk at 10 a.m., July 3, led by volunteers from the local chapter of the Audubon Society and a Photowalk: Monarch Butterflies in the Meadowlands ($49), from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., July 7. Michael Downey, of Unique Photo, will teach a brief photography seminar and an expert naturalist will discuss different butterfly species and the many ways they benefit the environment. 

At National Moth Night, from 8:30 to 10 p.m., July 25,  the Meadowlands will recognize these misunderstood cousins of butterflies with a presentation by Dr. Elena Tartaglia, a co-founder of National Moth Week. Industrial-strength lamps and white sheets will be set up and sugar bait used to attract, identify and admire the moths.

Butterfly Day, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., July 30, is a free, annual one-day butterfly fest that includes butterfly walks, slide shows on identification and learning to attract and view butterflies. Onsite experts will help identify the majestic monarchs, skippers and crescents that are likely to be among species seen. There will be activities for children 12 and under, including a butterfly costume contest, face painting, door prizes, butterfly crafts and a scavenger hunt. 

World of Wings

The World of Wings (WOW) is part playground and part nature museum,  encapsulates the emotions that wash over children and adults alike during a visit. The family-friendly education and activity center's centerpiece is the butterfly atrium, a tropical oasis of flowers and waterfalls with thousands of living butterflies from around the world. The atrium houses tropical plants and trees, including nectar flowers to support many different species of Lepidoptera.

Inside the atrium guests can stroll along the winding path and relax to the sounds of cascading water and chirping birds year-round. Staff members help visitors understand the butterfly behaviors they witness. A butterfly release is scheduled once a day, usually at 12:30 p.m. Due to the nature of the butterfly cycle, the schedule may change without notice. Dining options range from a food court to full-service restaurant. 

World of Wings is located at 1775 Windsor Rd., in Teaneck. For more information, call 201-833-4650 or visit Download a butterfly guide at

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