Cinnamon Creek Tropical Butterfly Garden Flutters With Activity

By Kelli Levey on April 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm EST


The hushed fluttering of hundreds of wings provides the soundtrack for the Cinnamon Creek Tropical Butterfly Garden‚ a Hill Country treasure. The atmosphere is ethereal – “like God is here‚” says Peggy Smith‚ who started the project in 2003 with her husband‚ Clyde. The garden is a gift to the community‚ though the Smiths wish it weren’t such a secret one. A busy day sees 50 patrons‚ while some days no one visits the site.

Tropical species are imported from a conservation ranch in Central America‚ and curator Catherine Urban‚ who came here after working for several years at the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Cockrell Butterfly Center‚ says Cinnamon Creek’s variety is comparable to any other garden in the state. Some species are as big as saucers‚ and perhaps the most striking is the metallic blue morpho‚ which is nicknamed the “miracle butterfly.”

“We get about 300 chrysalis in every week‚ and you can see the butterflies hatching daily‚” she says. “I love watching people watch that for the first time. It’s part of the whole experience here.”

Urban also enjoys sharing obscure butterfly facts: They taste with their feet‚ and they have 10‚000 eyes‚ though they appear to have only two.

The lush tropical greenery that garnishes the 2‚000-square-foot center provides shelter for the stunning‚ silent residents and practically draws a crowd of its own. Outside‚ picnic tables line the creek‚ so families and groups can settle in for picnics and make a day of their visit.

The garden is at 833 FM 289 in Smittyville‚ 28 miles west of San Antonio on Interstate 10.

It is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults‚ $3 for children 5-12 years old. Group discounts are available‚ and group tours are available at a discount. For more information‚

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