A visit to The Butterfly World Papiliorama
Standing in the middle of the main dome at Papiliorama, with exotic and colourful butterflies fluttering around you and the sounds of waterfalls, it is possible to forget that you are still in Switzerland. Papiliorama, just outside Kerzers, and under 2 hours from Zurich by car or train, contains an impressive butterfly house in addition to a nocturama, a jungle experience modelled on the reserve in Belize which they run, a small domestic nature reserve and outdoor activities including play areas and a petting farm.
The butterfly dome is said to contain over 1,000 butterflies which fly freely between the specially planted flowers, tropical plants and feeding stations. Just inside the entrance chrysalises are hung in special viewing cases so you can observe the final stage in the metamorphosis process when butterflies emerge from the pupae.
When we visited they also had silk cocoons from the Saturnid moths whose eventual wingspan are up to 30cm. In the main dome we saw Blue Morphos with their iridescent blue wings, various species of Swallowtail with their distinctive wing shape and many types of Owl butterflies with their large eye patterns on their underwings.
Dotted along the paths are well written information boards in German, French and English, with additional facts for some of the butterflies and exotic birds in the dome.
In the Nocturama, day has been turned into night through the use of a translucent roof which filters out natural light. This enables you to observe the nocturnal animals at the height of their activity. Our favourites included the aardvark with its fabulous ears, the owl monkeys and of course the surprisingly fast-moving sloths. The animals are housed in cleverly designed, semi-open enclosures enabling you to have an excellent and rare view of these night time wonders. The path takes you through an exhibit on Papilorama’s breeding programme which highlights its successful role in species protection.
The final large dome transports you to the jungles of Belize with an exhibit which includes 30 freely roaming animal species including spoonbills, toucans and iguanas. A 7m high walkway takes you up into the canopy for yet another perspective on this engaging exhibit – although you are kindly reminded to give way to the iguanas on the stairs!
Outside there is a pool showing the biodiversity of the local area and a bug garden. While it is wonderful to highlight the importance of preserving Switzerland’s own ecosystems, the exhibits themselves were not as captivating as the tropical world we had just left.
The site also has an extensive play area – with ropes courses, slides and seesaws for various ages as well as a water play area. The final highlight was the petting farm where we all enjoyed stroking the very friendly goats.
In the main building there is a restaurant, currently with a limited service, and places to sit to eat your own picnic. There are bathrooms and lockers to leave bags/picnics and of course a gift shop to leave by. There were plenty of families visiting with small children when we were there and the site is largely pushchair friendly (with some steps in the butterfly house and the 7m high walkway in the jungle dome). However, it would be wrong to dismiss the venue as children’s entertainment as they provide excellent and detailed information on the exhibits and organisation’s role in conservation.
Papiliorama reopened in early June and some aspects of the petting zoo and outdoor playground looked a little tired and in need of a clean, but the range of exhibits and the depth of information presented means that Papiliorama makes for an excellent day out – whatever your age.
Covid special requirements: Currently visitor numbers are limited to a maximum of 1000 on site at any one time. Queues to enter the site are therefore possible although we did not have to queue to enter, nor did it ever feel crowded. The site’s homepage has a visitor counter you are able to monitor the number ahead of your visit.
Address: Moosmatte 1, 3210 Kerzers
Opening Hours: Summer from 9:00 to 18:00, Winter from 10:00 to 17:00 (25th Dec and 1st Jan closed)
Tickets: Adults CHF 19, Student, AHV CHF 16, Children Up to 16 CHF 9.50, Children under 3 free
Article written by Rhoda Richardson
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