Jul. 22—In the coming weeks, a crop of butterflies will hatch in Aullwood Audubon's new Monarch House.
Filled with nectar flowers and a dozen types of milkweed plants — native and exotic species — the house is home to 35 caterpillars.
"The monarch population has been in decline and we thought it would be great if people could come and see the different types of milkweeds that support monarchs," said Alexis Faust, executive director at Aullwood.
"Any opportunity we could take to educate the public about plants they could put in their own yards that are beautiful and support these amazing creatures would be a great exhibit."
Many caterpillars are in the chrysalis stage — the final transformation before emerging as a butterfly.
They are "soft green with a golden zipper," and stunning to look at. "They're just beautiful," Faust said. "They are like a piece of jewelry."
After the monarchs hatch in a week or so, the butterflies — with their orange wings laced in black — will flutter around in the house before they are released.
A visit to the Monarch House, located at Aullwood's Farm Discovery Center, 9101 Frederick Pike, is a self-guided experience.
It is included with regular admission to Aullwood. Tickets can be purchased at the Aullwood Nature Center, 1000 Aullwood Rd.
The nature center and the farm are now open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
More information about Aullwood Audubon can be found here.