Atlantis Marine World Aquarium (431 Main Street, Riverhead) has announced that a 28,000 square-foot addition that will open as the brand new Long Island Exhibition Center will open July 1, 2011, followed by the Sea Star Grand Ballroom this summer.
The first exhibit at the Long Island Exhibition Center will be Butterflies! and will showcase thousands of butterflies and birds set in an enchanted garden – a beautiful and colorful display of blooming flowers and trees throughout the year. The exhibit will feature more than 30 species of North American and exotic, tropical free-flying butterflies, 20 different types of birds, and archerfish. The exhibit will only be on display for a limited time.
The butterflies on display will come from all around the world and through butterfly distributors in other parts of the country, from Los Angeles, CA, to Kissimmee, FL. The more than 5,000-square-foot exhibit will not only be the largest butterfly habitat in New York State, but has also been designed with a storybook theme like no other in the country. Visitors will wander a loop trail that includes a giant tree house, a pond, and numerous gardens. The message of the exhibit will talk about the life cycle of the butterfly, why pollination is so important, and what we can do to attract butterflies to our own gardens.
The Long Island Exhibition Center is located just to the east of the original building (where the Aquarium’s City Treasures Gift Shop currently stands) and is wheelchair accessible. It is open every day from 10am to 5pm and closed on Christmas Day. Admission is $12.50 per adult and $10.50 per child and senior. There is also a gift shop, Enchanted Gifts, that will feature fun items, such as garden accents, clothing, hats, toys, and gifts, and for the more serious butterfly shoppers, a real chrysalis enclosed in acrylic. Butterfly plants will also be sold for those who want to attract butterflies to their own gardens.