Founded as a “Wintergarden” in 1786, the Butterfly House Haga Ocean is now mainly an indoor rainforest exhibit with South American fish and butterflies, host to approximately 350,000 visitors per year. One late Summer morning, I set off from the lobby of Radisson Blu Royal Park on a brief trek through the woods to visit the exhibits, imagining how beautiful the walk must be through the seasons.
Mikael Odell, owner and manager of The Butterfly House Haga Ocean since 2006, has been working in public aquariums and exhibitions around the world for over thirty years. On experiencing the exhibits, he notes:
– The basic idea is to follow the water. The rain falls in the rainforest and find its way back to the Oceans where once again turns in to rain, in the eternal cycle of life.
We moved through the environments, intrigued by various marine species, butterflies zipping around us and the impressive depth of the shark aquarium, one of Scandinavia’s largest. The varying temperatures of the rooms also convey the tropical environment, lending as well to a sensory experience.
The biggest living world
The aquarium at The Butterfly House Haga Ocean was built in 2013 and is home to sharks, reef-fish and coral reefs. Several exhibits exist in connection to the main one, such as The Great White Shark for which Odell and his team went on expedition to South Africa. Odell and his team are involved in a number of species protection projects around the world, doing work that is vital in conservation of marine biodiversity.
Odell notes that “The Oceans are our biggest ’living world” on the planet. Since sharks have been around for 400 million years they have a story to tell us. Remember that the dinosaurs disappeared approximately 65 million years ago. There is a message in that. The water the dinosaurs once drank is the water we still drink today.” He notes that a visit here “might even encourage some children to acquire a science education and continue to work on issues related to marine life environments.”
A path between The Butterfly House Haga Ocean and Royal Park Stockholm is being planned which will further enable join events and projects.