A short distance from the Welsh coastal town of Aberystwyth is Cwm Rheidol (English translation: Rheidol Valley), a beautiful, stunning valley perfect for walking, cycling and fishing. This week our visit there was to The Magic of Life Butterfly House, but there is plenty to see and do in the area if you have time.
The Magic of Life Butterfly House is only small, but they do pack a lot of butterflies in there. They also have a few other creatures, but the moment the receptionist mentioned the word “tarantula” I turned a funny shade of green and decided I’d not venture to that area. Thankfully, that particular creature wasn’t in with the butterflies!
Even before we went into the butterfly house I was in awe… Clinging to a log on the reception desk was a Madagascan Comet Moth. It was absolutely massive and far more beautiful than any other moth I’ve seen. Once they have emerged from their cocoon as an adult moth they no longer feed and so, tragically, only have a matter of days to live. This means they don’t have long to find a mate. Sadly, much of the Madagascan Comet Moth’s natural habitat has been destroyed through deforestation, this is yet another creature which could disappear from the planet (although it is being successfully bred in captivity, apparently).
The butterfly house is home to tropical butterflies and so it is rather hot and humid inside (more about this later!). The butterflies are plentiful and flutter around, landing anywhere. There were a few times when I was taking photos of one butterfly another would land on my camera or hand.
By dipping your finger in some liquid it is possible to encourage a butterfly to sit on your finger. The young children who were there on my visit found this very interesting and fun. Some types of butterflies seemed more likely to do this than others. Likewise, some butterflies were more inclined to stay still, whilst others would constantly be fluttering about.
It was very interesting to see all the different butterflies at The Magic of Life Butterfly House, but I have to admit to being relieved to go back out into what felt like cool air outside (it wasn’t actually all that cool outside, it just felt like it after the humidity of the butterfly house). I’d definitely visit again, in fact, I’m hoping to take my niece and nephew there during the summer holidays as I think it would be something they would enjoy.
A tip: Don’t apply sunscreen before a visit to the butterfly house. Within minutes, the sunscreen I had applied to my face was running down into my eyes in the humid air. Lesson learnt!
From the car park of The Magic of Life Butterfly House (shared with Rheidol Visitor Centre), we were lucky enough to see the first Vale of Rheidol steam train wind its way through the valley after wildfires ravaged the woodland in the valley. The railway had to be shut for two weeks whilst the fire was put out and tracks repaired. The damaged woodland looks a sorry sight at the moment, but it was great to see the steam train back on track. We hadn’t realised it was re-opening that day, otherwise, we might have included a visit to The Vale of Rheidol Railway in our plans. Never mind, another time!