The Wildwood Zoo is set to bring in a lot more residents with the formation of a new Butterfly Exhibit.
The Gwiazda family will be responsible for running and maintaining the exhibit. Melissa and James Gwiazda, along with their two young daughters, have been active in raising and releasing hundreds of Monarch butterflies from their home the past few years.
“We will be working with the zoo on building it, supplying the caterpillars and monarchs, cleaning it and taking care of all the plant life in it,” said Melissa. “We will also be in charge of the releasing of the monarchs.”
The next steps will be designing the exhibit to include as many butterflies as possible and be informational as well. A butterfly wing mural, inspired by angel wings painted on the side of a building in Laguna, California, will provide a fun photo opportunity. “I’ve always wanted to paint a big mural, and this just came about at the right time,” said Melissa. The mural will be about 7 feet tall.
The location for the mural and exhibit are still a surprise, but everyone will be able to be a part of it once it opens. “We really just want people to see how amazing these little creatures are,” said Melissa. “Maybe this will get more people involved at raising them at home too. There will be many times the public can come and experience the releases over the summer.”
The family is honored to have the opportunity to build the exhibit and would like to thank Zookeeper Steve Burns for reaching out to them. “The zoo has always been a part of our family ever since we were little kids, and now to have our own kids so involved with it is just such a great feeling!” Melissa said. “We are VERY excited!”