When thinking of all the wonderful things upstate NY has to offer, exotic butterflies are not usually what spring to mind. Unless, of course, you have already visited the Joseph L. Popp Jr. Butterfly Conservatory, in Oneonta.  

Despite being called a butterfly conservatory, the facility is full of a number of different creatures. Since it opened its doors in May 2007 the conservatory has been home to unique, bright, colorful animals and plant life from around the world.

Once inside the 3,000 sq. ft conservatory-herbarium, it is a delight for the senses.  Walkways are kept clean by a diligent staff.  The paths meander around the space and are wide enough to allow you to stop and observe any of the nearly 150 creatures that catch your eye.  Although touching or picking up the animals is not allowed, you will enjoy having the vibrant birds, like the Paradise Tanager, flitter around.  See butterflies, like the Glasswing, flutter by from branch to flower.  Look closely and you will discover painted turtles hanging out pond side; see Suzie the tortoise enjoying a stroll down the path.  Keep your eyes open for Crested Partridges seeking a nice spot to nap, an Old-Dutch Capuchine pigeon strutting past, or a Chinese water dragon hidden amongst the green leaves.  There are goldfish in the water features and unique insects like Australian stick bugs or Leaf bugs on view.  There is even a two-toed sloth, named Harmony, in residence.

The conservatory will appeal to nature lovers, bird watchers, world travelers and curiosity seekers, it is an oasis located just minutes from downtown Oneonta.

The conservatory is a great place for people of all ages.  If you want to simply sit on a bench and relax in the near tropical atmosphere or if you prefer to meander about studying the plants and animals, the choice is yours.  And with so many unusual critters, it can be a quality educational experience. No matter what questions you may have, there is a knowledgeable staff member at hand to answer questions and point out any animals that may be hiding.  On their website, you can download and print various resources for study.  The material serves as an excellent guide to enhance your experience even further.

Whether this is your first visit to the conservatory or your 30th, you will always find something new to see. 

For more information, visit poppbutterflyconservatory.com

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