Everyone aspires to live like the butterfly, beautiful and free, admired by one and all. They have been the theme of many a poem, describing their ethereal beauty since time immemorial. Kerala is lucky to have Asia’s first butterfly safari park that is host to about 125 varieties of these winged beauties along with some other flying creatures.
The safari park is based in Thenmala, an ecotourism center located in the Kollam district and about 66km away from Kollam city, a big tourist hub. The nearest airport is in Trivandrum, a scenic 72km drive away. Getting here from any other city is easy too as the place is well connected to the highways and rail. There is no best time to visit the park as butterflies can be seen throughout the year. However, the monsoon months are best avoided as its not much fun getting soaked.
This ecotourism center is not just for only butterfly lovers, but also for a host of other activities that range from trekking through well-planned shady forest pathways, boat rides through the tranquil water reservoir, musical fountain dance, deer parks, etc. And if you are the adventurous type, you can get real up close to nature by spending the night in the amazing Swiss luxury cottage tents with attached toilets; surely an amazing experience that you won’t find easy to forget. This tented jungle camping called ‘The Cocoon’ is located about 50m above the parking area, providing the ambience of the jungle. Check-in time is 12 noon and check-out time is 11am. Basic facilities are provided and you don’t have to worry about food as there is a restaurant too. But if you are a creature of comfort, then stronger abodes (The Honeycomb) is also available along with dormitories.
For those staying overnight, there are very convenient packages along with experienced guides that provide you with an educational as well as an exhilarating experience as they take you through the line-up of various entertaining outdoor activities. Being a tropical area, you are of course advised to wear loose, cotton attires and comfortable sneakers. Jewelry and ornaments are discouraged along with shawls, scarves and voluminous clothing.
For those coming for a day trip, its better you get there by 9am, so you will have ample time to sample all the adventurous activities available. Well-versed and multi-lingual guides are available at a nominal cost as well as refreshing rooms for four hours max, first aid for emergencies, cloak rooms for storing luggage, a parking area, drinking water, restaurant facility as well as an information desk for answering all your queries.
The butterfly park is a 3.5 hectare garden of a variety of flowering plants that recreate the natural homes of these wispy fliers, helping them to thrive here. A guided walk through the nature trail allows you glimpses of these colorful butterflies; and if you look carefully, you might even spot some caterpillars or pupas!
Other attractions of the safari park include the adventure zone where there is a thrilling elevated walkway, mountain biking, rock climbing, river crossing and trekking through a nature trail that leads you through all these areas as well as the deer rehabilitation center, the children’s park, the leisure zone which houses a number of interesting-looking sculptures, the breathtaking musical dancing fountains along with the colored lights background and boating through the scenic evergreen forests and tranquil waters.
An amazing way to spend time with nature!