World’s largest touch display at Philly’s new butterfly pavilion | Philly Views
February 24, 2017

World’s largest touch display at Philly’s new butterfly pavilion

Written by jasonsherman


Philadelphia, also known as the city of brotherly love, the home of our forefathers, and the birthplace of our nation, is now the host of the world’s newest butterfly pavilion.  The pavilion features the world’s largest interactive touch glass display and the world’s largest ferrorfluid fountain.

For decades, Steve Kanya ran “Steve’s Bug Off” which started out as an extermination service on Frankford Avenue in the Holmesburg section of Northeast Philadephia.  He gradually turned the building into the Insectarium Institute, an insect and reptile museum.  In the spring of 2016, Kanya along with John Cambridge Ph.D. (new owner of the museum) and other community members, launched the Mayfair Monarch Project.  This large endeavor helped increase the population of monarch butterflies in North America, while enhancing the appearance of Mayfair and Holmesburg.

Thanks to Cambridge, the 25-year old museum is undergoing a full renovation, from its first floor shop to its second and third floor arthropod zoo displays. Brand new interactive exhibits, hands-on learning and high-tech displays will offer unique and thrilling insect education to everyone from kindergarten through graduate school.

Additionally, the Insectarium is now home to the world’s newest butterfly pavilion. The pavilion features state-of-the-art automated environmental controls which afford the tropical growing conditions needed to house many of the plants and butterflies found only in one place in Philadelphia, and in fact all of Pennsylvania.

“We are really excited about this, there is nothing like it around here and it will be truly educational, and something to see,” said Cambridge, who designed the renovations and pavilion. “We believe everyone loves learning, and what we are doing will take this museum to new levels.”

The interactive touch glass display is used as a tool to let school children explore the anatomy of butterflies while the ferrorfluid fountain’s magnetic liquid sculpture is ever changing and used as a teaching aid for explanation of the Earth’s magnetic polls.

The enclosed, polycarbonate-roof pavilion will be unlike anything Philadelphia has ever seen, with Cambridge taking special care to make it the most high-tech, cutting-edge example of a permanent butterfly exhibit. While several wildlife centers do traveling, tented, “pop-up” tributes to the majestic lepidoptera, Philadelphia deserves the very best. The monstrous, tropical ecosphere will feature a show stage, ponds, waterfalls, and tropical plants, all while thousands of butterflies flit among guests.

“We believe science can be art, and that is what people will see.” said Cambridge.  “This is a place where technology has been used to enhance our ability to showcase and enjoy the natural world.”

As center city Philadelphia keeps landing huge budgets to continually enhance and preserve the historic districts, Northeast Philadelphia normally gets left behind.  ​Without the support and efforts of the local civic associations, historical societies, businesses, residents, volunteers, and people like Cambridge; Northeast Philadelphia will continue to be left behind. But thankfully with the aid of the 2035 initiative, and new, innovative projects like the butterfly pavilion this is not the case.

Check out the butterfly pavilion’s new website for more information here.

[jbox jbox_css=”margin-bottom: 20px; margin-top: 20px;” color=”yellow” radius=”1″] Editor’s note: This work was not written or edited by PhillyViews staff. It is an entry as part of our Write for Us contest to give independent writers a platform for their work. [/jbox]

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