California Academy of Sciences Opens New Butterfly Observation Floor in Indoor Rain Forest - NBC Bay Area
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California Academy of Sciences Opens New Butterfly Observation Floor in Indoor Rain Forest

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    Beginning Friday, visitors will be allowed up to the very top of the indoor rainforest to see a project in the making for more than a year at the California Academy of Sciences. (Published Friday, March 3, 2017)

    Glasses fogged and sweat droplets forming, visitors enter a tropical oasis where biologists are releasing some colorful new additions for a conservation exhibit open to the public Friday.

    Above the aquarium, the cafe and current exhibits at the San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences, guests can now explore the undiscovered floor.

    The new butterfly observation gallery features a living wall and a look at an array of butterflies and moths at various levels of metamorphosis.

    "Butterflies are really special," Tim Wong, a biologist working in the butterfly exhibit said. "They're beautiful, they're diverse and they're also incredibly important.

    Hundreds of Butterflies Released for New ExhibitHundreds of Butterflies Released for New Exhibit

    The addition completes a sweeping four-level indoor rain forest with 1,600 live plants and animals.

    Wong and another biologists released butterflies into the exhibit in preperation for the public opening and estimates they will continue to purchase new species in order to diversify their exhibit to around 500 butterflies. 

    In the making for more than a year, scientists and curators have been paying special attention to the origin of the new butterflies as each purchase helps fund conservation efforts by farmers in tropical ecosystems, according to Wong.

    Rebecca Greenway covers news on the San Francisco Peninsula. Connect with her on Facebook or send an email to