The Stratford Butterfly Farm has been welcoming visitors to its tropical butterfly paradise for over three decades. The idea and setting up of the Butterfly Farm was the passion and dream of internationally renowned lepidopterist, Clive Farrell. The farm was officially opened on 24th July 1985 by botanist and naturalist, David Bellamy OBE.
Clive’s fascination with butterflies and nature began when he was five years old after finding a hairy caterpillar in his garden. He put it in a matchbox where it spun a cocoon and he watched it emerge as a beautiful Tiger Moth. It was a magical moment that has stayed with him. It is Clive’s hope that a visit to the Butterfly Farm will create such memorable moments for other generations to experience and be inspired by.
Behind the scenes an industrious team works tirelessly not only to bring pupae to Stratford Butterfly Farm but also to export and supply butterfly houses across the globe! To be able to do this we import from a variety of international butterfly farms, providing a sustainable income for the local community and conservation projects.
The Belize butterfly farm is operated as a nature reserve that sustains local employment without having a negative impact on the local environment. The farm is treasured by the local Kekchi Maya villagers not just for the nature conservation benefits but for the considerable positive impact on the local community where so many young people would otherwise be out of work.
It has a highly successful breeding programme and supplies butterfly houses across the world. These Belizean butterflies can be seen as messengers from the fast dwindling rainforest, to you the visitor. They are infinitely precious and by protecting their natural habitat we protect all the other animals that live there, from jaguars to leaf cutter ants and everything in between!
Many of the beautiful butterflies that can be seen at Stratford Butterfly Farm are supplied by the Fallen Stones Butterfly Farm in the Maya Mountains of Belize. On its doorstep is the ancient Maya site of Lubaantun, which translates to ‘place of the fallen stones’, which is where the farm gets its name from. The people that work at the Fallen Stones Butterfly Farm are present-day Maya and this is the area where the ancient Maya once lived. It is the perfect environment for the types of plants that butterflies need to be able to feed and breed.
This fascinating connection between the Maya and Stratford Butterfly Farm has inspired us to exhibit throughout the farm, Maya and Mesoamerican replica sculptures and interpretation to inform our visitors of the amazing Maya civilisation and their culture.
In 2015 Stratford Butterfly Farm celebrated its 30th Birthday, it was during these celebrations that Clive announced that the butterfly farm would be refurbished during the early part of 2016 with a new Maya theme inspired by it’s link to the rainforests of Belize and the Fallen Stones Butterfly Farm.
The work started in early January and culminated in a grand re-opening ceremony, with the High Commissioner of Belize, Perla Perdomo cutting the ribbon on Friday 22 July 2016. alongside her were a number of Belizean diplomats, the Stratford-upon-Avon Mayor Cllr. Juliet Short and internationally renowned Maya Archaeologist, Dr Diane Davies, Clive Farrell and General Manager, Richard Lamb.
Clive Farrell, Richard Lamb and the Butterfly Team are dedicated to making a visit to Stratford Butterfly Farm memorable and inspiring and constantly strive to make the Butterfly Farm the best it can be.
Since the refurbishment in 2016 we have not rested on our laurels. New visitor toilet facilities were opened early 2017, followed by the installation of a stunning wildlife wall mural in the wildflower garden. December 2017 colourful rainforest inspired pathways were laid throughout the Flight Area.
In 2020 behind closed doors the Butterfly Farm quietly celebrated its 30th Birthday.
During lockdowns the team replanted the Flight Area, installed wooden pagolas, renovated teh outside gardens and built a replicated Maya Temple.
At the begining of 2022 work started on an exciting 'cenote' project. The project became Rainforest Realm and features creatures from Central America. Rainforest Realm opened 31 March 2023 with a stunning Spectacled Caiman on display within the cenote.
There are plenty more exciting ideas and plans in place for the next few years and we can’t wait to share them with you!