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THE MAYOR OPENS IN BENALMADENA THE LARGEST BUTTERFLY CENTRE IN EUROPE

15/04/2011 Departamento de Extranjeros
THE MAYOR OPENS IN BENALMADENA THE LARGEST BUTTERFLY CENTRE IN EUROPE

The Mayor of Benalmadena, Enrique Moya, chaired the opening of Europe's largest butterfly Centre, accompanied by members of the Council team and the owners of the facility, Asunción Gómez and José Antonio Plaza. The opening ceremony was also attended by a large number of locals and tourists. The Mayor thanked the owners of the butterfly centre for their hard work and commitment to making this centre a reality in Benalmadena.

The Butterfly centre of Benalmadena has over 2000 square metres and has the largest space dedicated to butterflies in Europe. It consists of over 900 square metres of tropical gardens, where there are between 1500 and 2000 exotic butterflies from tropical areas worldwide.. Throughout the year you will be able to see more than 150 different species, 70% of them were bred in Benalmadena's butterfly centre and 30 % come from other parts of the world. Many of the building materials and decorative elements were brought directly from Thailand in order to give an oriental theme to the building. The blue tiles covering the pagoda entrance hall were made specifically in this colour by Chiang Mai as it is an original tile used in the temples of Thailand.

The Mayor said that with the opening of the Butterfly Centre, Benalmadena has become a leading attraction centre in Andalucía. Apart from this new centre the municipality is able to offer other attractions such as: Selwo Marina, the Cable Car, Sea Life and Tivoli World.
Enrique Moya added “We announced the forthcoming opening of a Butterfly Centre in the municipality at the International Tourism Fair “Fitur” last January. We have kept our promise and now we have between 1500 and 2000 exotic butterflies in Benalmadena.

One of the main aims of the Council team is to promote tourism in Benalmadena. The opening of this centre together with the expansion of the Marina are the best examples of this promotion.
The largest Butterfly Centre in Europe

The Thai style Butterfly Centre is a private initiative supported by the Town Hall of Benalmadena. It complements a wide range of existing leisure parks on the Costa del Sol and converts Benalmadena into the leading destination for family and leisure tourism.

Imago Dracaena S.L is the promoter responsible for the project and consists of José Antonio Plaza (businessman) and Asunción Gomez (veterinary). The company owns another unique butterfly centre and a butterfly garden in the Canaries.

The main difficulty of this project is the climate, because these species require very specific environmental conditions of 24-28c and 70% humidity. The maintenance of the centre is also difficult because it is not possible to use any plant protection products and pest control must be performed manually or by biological control.

In the words of its owner, Asunción Gómez: "The butterfly centre is a zoo in every sense of the word. The main difference with other parks is that we are working with animals that have a lifespan of two weeks, so it is a very dynamic zoo where the population is completely renewed every 15 days”. "
“Another thing that makes our butterfly centre different from other zoos is direct contact with the public," continued the owner. "The butterflies are flying around visitors and it is possible to observe their behavior. This is what is called “zooinmersión” which means that the visitor is immersed in the habitat of the animals and it is meant to minimize the visual barriers between the public and animals. As a zoo we have a commitment to conserving the environment and promoting education and so we will work closely with schools, preparing nature classes and arranging seminars at the centre. "