Columns | Kane County Chronicle

World of wonder: Tropical species adorn Peck Butterfly House

“I can’t believe I’ve never been here before.”

This may be the most commonly uttered phrase from visitors when they reflect on their first visit to Peck Farm Butterfly House, according to the volunteers who shepherd the sanctuary.

Perhaps only second to this expression is the gasp of awe after visitors’ footsteps carefully cross the threshold, shrouded by a brief burst of air (which helps to safely distance the butterflies from the entrance and exit) and then their eyes drink in the lush haven that awaits them.

A unique experience

Whether it is your first or 15th time to the butterfly house, each visit offers a unique experience.

“We strive for a good mix of butterflies that are native to North America, as well as species found in other parts of the world in order to provide a sense of place, as well as wonder,” Peck Farm Manager Adam Dagley said. “To achieve this goal, we must file permits with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This process includes detailing our containment operations, the species we plan to house and specifying at which state of the butterfly lifecycle we will tend to maintain these amazing insects.”

These days, tropical butterflies, including the common blue morpho and the banded peacock, call the place home. Some have wings so large that a visitor may feel a gentle flutter as one sails by on their way to the next tree, flower or snack station inside the 2,400-square-foot habitat – one of only a handful in Illinois.

The common blue morpho reside in the wild in South America and Central America. The banded peacock is commonly found close to the forest floor in southeast Asia, using its iridescent green color as camouflage.

Education and appreciation

“Our mission is to educate the public about the unique characteristics of butterflies and encourage an appreciation for the role that butterflies and other insects play within a given ecosystem,” Dagley said.

This goal could not be achieved without the support of volunteers. Heidi, who has volunteered for five years, said her philosophy is to encourage visitors to make the most of their time, whether that is asking questions, observing as much as they can about each species or just enjoying the peace in the surroundings.

If a butterfly happens to land on a visitor, Heidi suggests taking a quick picture. She then uses her “magic wand” to carefully return the winged wanderer to a flower. “Of course, some older kids recognize my ‘magic wand’ is only a stick and then everyone cracks up laughing,” she said.

For information on volunteering, call 630-262-8244 or email

Planning your visit

The Butterfly House is open for the season through Sept. 17. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. There is no cost. A suggested donation of $2 a person or $6 a family is welcome, which allows for the purchase of additional butterflies.

When planning to visit the butterflies for your next adventure, don’t forget your camera and a thirst for learning. We will provide the magic.

• Laura Sprague is the marketing and sponsorship manager for the Geneva Park District, which aspires to enhance the quality of the community and inspire residents to live their best life. She can be reached at