I went to the zoo twice last week. On Friday, I admired all the butterflies and bees hanging out in a garden in the "Family Farm" area. On Sunday, I remembered to bring my camera, but got there at the wrong time of day and missed all the action. So while I don't have an actual picture of a butterfly, you'll have to trust me, there were tons of them there on Friday afternoon.
I've been planning out my own butterfly garden for my backyard since we moved in a couple of months ago, so this one at the Milwaukee County zoo was pretty inspiring.
According to the info they leave out for visitors to take, butterflies love these annuals which are just right for Wisconsin gardens: snapdragons, cabbage white, cosmos, verbena and zinnia. Love all those.
Mostly, I'm interested in growing perennials, though, so I'll be looking for Shasta daisies, yarrow, beebalm, Black-eyed Susans, phlox, and New England Aster to plant. Some herbs they recommend are anise hyssop, dill, fennel, and parsley. I have some parsley and catmint that is thriving in my little starter garden and they do seem to love that. So far, I've only seen the common Cabbage Whites hanging out. I'd love to see some Monarchs, Tiger Swallowtails and Buckeyes as my garden grows.
Then to round things off, I think I'll add some butterfly bush and lilac. The flyers at the zoo are put out by the University of Wisconsin Extension, Master Gardner Volunteers.
Some websites they recommend for those of us interested in butterflies: Montana State University The Children's Butterfly Site
and Big Sky Institute Montana State University
Of course, I didn't go to the zoo alone. The girls seemed to enjoy the zoo playground more than anything, though.