When I entered the flight room, there was an attendant cautioning me to watch where I
stepped. Good advice – there were butterflies everywhere: on the ground, plants, walls,
even on me. There were hundreds of the fragile flyers in all colors, sizes and designs from
six continents. Part of the Reiman Gardens at Ames, Iowa – the largest public garden in
Iowa – the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing is designed to look like a butterfly in flight.
Inside this 2,500-square-foot all-glass building is a tropical garden filled with exotic
butterflies. Butterflies are magical somehow, made all the more so by their seemingly
unafraid approach. I discovered though, that while they would land on my shoulder, hair,
back and so on, I couldn’t quite reach out and touch them. With 165,000 butterfly species
in the world, and hundreds of them here, you can spend hours inside this tropical
sanctuary. When I left, there was an attendant checking to see if I had picked up any
Reiman Gardens’ hours are seasonal and the Butterfly Wing is closed on Mondays
for maintenance, so call first. There is a charge; (515) 294-2710, reimangardens.com.