Downtown San Jose is one of the few places in Costa Rica you would expect to find tropical serenity. But hidden amongst all that inner city chaos of San Jose is the newly inaugurated National Museum’s Butterfly Garden. Of grand design, the Butterfly Garden is home to 600 multicolored butterflies that dance within the historic walls of the National Museum. Bringing together an interesting blend of military architecture and Costa Rican nature, the 500 m2 Butterfly Garden has recreated the perfect living conditions for these majestic insects.
The Museo Nacional de Costa Rica Butterfly Garden is home to 25 butterfly species native to the Central Valley including the well known morphos, the vibrant blue butterfly of Costa Rica, monarchs, buhos and espejitos. The garden is a verdant paradise, with over 35 species of host plants. The provision of a suitable habitat will encourage a healthy life cycle of a butterfly, which will in turn allow this downtown Eden to flourish.
Some of the tropical flora of Costa Rica produces nectar from which the butterfly species feeds. Of the most beautiful and largest species of butterflies, the metallic blue morpho helenor species feed not on nectar but on over ripe fruit. Feeding centers with water apples, bananas and mangos can be found strategically placed within the grounds of the Butterfly Garden at the National Museum.
The Butterfly Garden (Jardin de Mariposas) in San Jose Costa Rica is part of a $1 million renovation project that has revamped the capital’s National Museum, re-opening areas of the old Cuartel Bellavista dating back to the 19th century that had previously been closed to the public for decades. One of the most significant changes to the exterior of the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica is the newly opened front, west facing access. This entrance adjoins the Plaza de la Democaracia; Democracy Square. This once abandoned square has also received the make-over treatment, with extra illumination, landscaping and improved accessibility. The Municipality of San Jose hopes it becomes a center for outdoor cultural events in Costa Rica’s capital city.
An enormous, polished stainless steel and glass spherical structure has been erected at the west facing entrance and serves as the new meet and greet point for museum visitors. An original pre-Columbian spherical stone has been placed within this giant metal cylinder and is representative of Costa Rican cultural identity. The main entrance to the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica houses the ticket office, information center, lockers and toilets. Leading from the main entrance, a concrete footpath ribbons its way through the Butterfly Garden and allows visitors to enjoy the many aspects of this living exhibition. The renovations comply with the Law 7600 which ensures disability access to all areas of the museum.
Other improvements to the historical building include the structural reinforcement of the south east tower of the old Cuartel Bellavista. This wall is steeped in historical value, as is where the ex-president Jose Figueres Ferrera symbolically abolished the army in 1948.
For the perfect inner city eco adventure during your Costa Rica vacation head to the Museo Nacional in downtown San Jose. Open Tuesday – Saturday from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4.30 pm. Closed on Mondays. Located on Avenida Central and Avenida Segunda, San Jose Costa Rica.