A Butterfly Fashion Show at the Penang Butterfly Farm

As a child, I was the epitome of a tomboy. I’d spend hours in my childhood home’s back yard in the Midwestern United States, hunting for critters large and small, tending to my open air clubhouse, and maintaining the ravine’s trails as if I were a park ranger. Because of this past, it’s no surprise that I so enjoyed our visit to the Penang Butterfly Farm, outside of Georgetown, Malaysia, several months ago. Seeing the delicate butterflies on parade with their extravagant costumes was a treat: sophisticated black & white dresses, polka dots, neutral ensembles, colorful madness!

The manner in which some of the butterflies systematically laid eggs on leaves reminded me of Braille, or the sugary dot candy I so enjoyed as a little one. Despite the signs warning visitors about treating the insects with care (hands off!), some kids were so fascinated by the life cycle that they plucked at the eggs with Mom & Dad staying silent.

Another butterfly stood guard near a neighborhood of vacated chrysalises.

My husband turned out to be a butterfly magnet, attracting a dainty, yellow butterfly for the duration of our visit inside the greenhouse-like structure.

After Shawn had bid farewell to his flighty lady we marveled at the pitcher plants – just as a tiny ant was about to fall into the sticky vessel. Despite their carnivorous ways, I loved the plants’ design – twisty, curly-q like limbs and a textured pottery-like appearance!

We then visited the ducks, toads and frogs, iguanas, cockroaches and spiders (the latter two of which I have an irrational fear). As a former owner to a toad named Timmy, I was thrilled to see the croaking creatures, warts and all.

Now, if only I can work on that silly, childhood fear of certain insects that are so plentiful in Southeast Asia and beyond! :)

Getting There: Time certainly flies while at the Penang Butterfly Farm, billed as the “tropical world’s first live butterfly & insect sanctuary.” Be sure you arrive a few hours before closing time, as we found ourselves with much to see in the exhibit areas and not enough time. We traveled to the sanctuary by local bus and then taxi (a short ride) from our guesthouse in Georgetown.

Have you been to the Penang Butterfly Farm – what did you think? What favorites from your childhood would you like to revisit? 

Georgetown, Malaysia: An Illustration of Contrasts

A stroll through Georgetown gives one a sense of being whisked to several countries in a matter of hours. In this largely Chinese city, bundles of smoldering incense scent the maze of bustling streets as crimson red lanterns sway overhead. Bollywood music rumbles in Little India, echoing off storefronts dotted with colorful saris and bins of sparkly bangles. Women donning headscarfs whizz by on motorbikes. A pristine white clock tower from the colonial era commemorates the reign of Queen Victoria. Georgetown is indeed an illustration of contrasts.











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Photography & text © by Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.