Tour

Join us on a tour through the Sayn Butterfly Garden! You begin your tour by walking through a climate control entrance (daytime temperature approx. 24° C, humidity 60-70%).  Now, please turn right and have a look at the display cases. The first one contains butterfly pupae (chrysalis), which are sent to Sayn once a week by our breeders in Costa Rica, the Philippines or Madagascar.

A chrysalis often looks like a dry leave or a piece of wood, but it is in fact alive. Inside the pupae (chrysalis) the complete transformation (metamorphosis) from a caterpillar to a butterfly takes place. If you are lucky you may be able to watch a butterfly while emerging from a pupa. Usually this happens in the morning. The chrysalis splits apart and the adult insect can begin to force its way out. Following this, the butterfly rests for a moment and then starts to pump “blood” through the veins into it’s wings. They slowly expand to their full size. Next, the wings must dry and the butterfly will exercise the flight muscles before it is able to fly. It takes about 30 minutes until it can be released into its new habitat by our biologist.

In the adjacent display cases you can see various small animals such as tarantulas and scorpions. Now continue to the first little bridge, called Filippa Bridge. It is named after the second daughter of Prince Alexander and Princess Gabriela zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, owners of the garden. The other six bridges are named after the other children of the family, Alexandra, Sofia, Louis, Heinrich, Casimir and Christian-Peter.

Instead of crossing Filippa Bridge, you can also reach the slightly elevated Sofia Bridge via the “jungle path”. There you will find a feeding place which offers fruit as additional nourishment for our butterflies, especially for the owl butterfly. The main source of nourishment for butterflies, however, is nectar. Important nectar-producing plants like Lantana camara and Hibiscus are to be found in our house. Butterflies sip nectar through their long proboscis which they can insert into the deep tube of the blossom.

From Alexandra Bridge you can observe the Japanese Koi carps in the water and turtles on their small Turtle Islands. Following the path to the right, you pass the hibiscus hedge. Look out: you may encounter a quail family with its tiny chicks no bigger than a bumble bee. Immediately after hatching and drying, the young baby quails follow their parents, chirping and cheeping loudly whilst looking for food. However, they still need to be warmed every now and then by their parents for about two weeks.

From Sofia Bridge you can enjoy a view of the entire garden. Listen to the twittering of finches from Australia, Asia and Africa. In the display cases next to Sofia Bridge you will see various insects and other “creepy-crawlies”. Just like butterflies, these creatures have developed special survival techniques. Some of them are so well camouflaged that you have to look very closely to discover them.

Now enter another conservatory, the caterpillar and moth house. There you will find various moths, amongst them the Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas), one of the world’s largest species with a wing-span of up to 30cm. Do you know the main difference between butterflies and moths? Most butterflies fly by day and most moths are active during the night. This smaller glass house not only houses moths, but it is also the nursery where we breed butterflies. Here you have the opportunity to observe the entire life-cycle of the butterfly.

Back to the big greenhouse, you turn right. Crossing Louis Bridge, you reach the south side of the house, where on sunny days the butterflies enjoy dancing in the sun. On your right there is a waterfall planted with orchids, melias and ferns. Here our Green Iguana likes to hide. Through an arch you reach the benches. Here you may rest for a moment and observe the busy life around you. The banana plant opposite bears delicious fruit every year.

A bit further on, the orchid path takes you to the Christian-Peter Bridge, which is the only covered bridge in the butterfly house. Now you can either turn right and cross Filippa Bridge to reach the exit or you can continue and stay with the butterflies a little longer. There is still so much to see!

In our Butterfly Boutique, souvenirs and interesting literature can be purchased. Refreshments are available in the Cafeteria. After the visit in the butterfly house you may wish to stroll along our nature trail around the butterfly house. Discover the little herb garden, the cottage garden, the meadow, the dry stone wall, the fruit-bearing hedge and the flowering hedge. The path leads you to a small bridge from where you can watch the animals in a little pond. At various points along the route you may find information concerning the habitat of native butterflies. Perhaps this will be of use for the design of your own garden. Our biologists will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

In our pavilion we show videos and exhibitions concerning all aspects of butterfly life. Our program changes regularly during the season . Thank you for visiting Sayn Butterfly Garden! Now you are invited to visit Sayn Palace, where among other attractions you will find an Ornamental Cast Iron Museum and the chapel with its important reliquary of Saint Elizabeth. We do hope you have enjoyed your visit in Sayn and hope to see you again!