August means butterfly time at Powell Gardens.
About 20 tropical species and dozens of native species are colorfully fluttering about the botanical sanctuary for the 19th annual Festival of Butterflies. It opened this weekend and will continue next weekend.
The indoor conservatory is home to favorites like the blue morpho butterfly from Costa Rica and the moon moth from Africa.
The star of the outdoor breezeways is the monarch, which is the educational theme of this year’s festival.
“What we are trying to talk about is the million pollinator garden challenge,” said Powell Gardens spokeswoman Callen Fairchild Zind. “It’s a national challenge to save the monarch and other pollinators.”
Monarch butterflies, which migrate between Canada and Mexico, are threatened by a loss of habitat. They lay their eggs on milkweed plants.
Powell Gardens will be selling milkweed, which can be planted on a patio or deck or in the garden. An outside vendor will also be selling other plants that are good for butterflies.
“The idea is to encourage all of us, when we’re choosing plants for the garden or to landscape, to think about making choices that will help the pollinators, particularly monarchs,” Zind said. “You can make a difference for butterflies in your back yard.”
Representatives from Monarch Watch, a conservation group, will be on hand to answer questions.
This year’s festival includes 27 Lego “sculptures” by artist Sean Kenney, who used more than 300,000 bricks in 14 scenes “that represent the complex and amazing network that interconnects all living things on Earth,” according to the Powell Gardens website. A highlight is a nearly 6-foot tall monarch butterfly.
The Lego exhibit will remain until Sept. 7
Powell Gardens is about 30 miles east of Kansas City on U.S. 50. Festival of Butterflies admission is $12 adults, $10 seniors and $5 children ages 5-12.