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281 of 286 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent educational gift, but beware additional charge
03.07.13
This is a fantastic set for children, and the company produces many others as well (stick insects etc). In the box, you get:
-pop-up butterfly habitat (essentially a nicely decorated net cylinder that is light enough to hang pretty much anywhere, but also free-standing)
-instructions (very detailed but clear and simple, and my children (10 and 5)...
Published 24 months ago by Beansmummy

versus
145 of 163 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An excellent product but with hidden costs.
I agree with the majority of reviews written with regard to educational value. It is an excellent idea and when my daughter was bought this as a birthday present I was very impressed, so much so that I bought a couple of extra sets for friend's Christmas presents.

Unfortunately when I opened it up I discovered that there additional postage costs to receive our...
Published on 29 Aug. 2010 by Kryton


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281 of 286 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent educational gift, but beware additional charge, 3 July 2013
By 
Beansmummy (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
03.07.13
This is a fantastic set for children, and the company produces many others as well (stick insects etc). In the box, you get:
-pop-up butterfly habitat (essentially a nicely decorated net cylinder that is light enough to hang pretty much anywhere, but also free-standing)
-instructions (very detailed but clear and simple, and my children (10 and 5) read them with ease)
-voucher code to order 5 caterpillars from the company
-dropper

You do not get any caterpillars, and there is a P&P charge (currently £2.99) to be paid when you order the beasties, which come with their food. You can also only order them between March and September, so this would be a consideration if planning a Christmas gift for example. They are sent by first class post, on limited days.

You can order future caterpillars and food direct from Insect Lore online, who also produce larger sets aimed at schools. Their website is easy to navigate and the ordering process is very straightforward.

We have ordered our caterpillars, which were due to be posted out yesterday, and await them impatiently. I'll update this review once they are with us...

04.07.13 Day 1
Caterpillars arrived today, in a small transparent plastic tub (the size of a small tumbler), with 1cm or so of wax-like beige gunge in the bottom which they were eating happily. They are tiny - each under 1cm long, and 1mm wide - black and hairy. 4 are very active. One is dead (3 are guaranteed to make it to butterfly-hood; they come with a guarantee through which you can claim another pot of 5 if not). They arrived with another superb (but more concise) instruction sheet. Nothing to do now except watch and wait - you don't even need to open the tub, as they apparently grow and moult and grow some more in their tumbler without any other input required until they make their chrysalides. Exciting stuff...

06.07.13 Day 3
I was wrong. It wasn't dead, but caterpillar number 5 is smaller, paler and less active than the rest, and showed no sign of life until today. The others have grown already, and are happily chomping their way through the sludgey food.

08.07.13 Day 5
They are amazing. And enormous. The largest beast is now a whopping 2.5cm long and 4mm fat. The runt is still smaller than the rest at 1.5cm long. They have filled the bottom of their cup with messy webs that they cling on to when the children gently lift the cup to peer in at them.

10.07.13 Day 7
Now the biggest is 3.5cm long, 5mm thick (Runt still only 2cm long). They are very active and very hairy. Their food looks as if lots of teeny bombs have been dropped on it, with big craters and scattered debris. The rate of growth of these creatures is amazing (the children are intrigued but not as impressed as me). Perhaps the current heatwave is contributing. Surely it can't be long now until they pupate? I'm loving this...

11.07.13 Day 8
Up to 4.5cm long, and even Runt is over 3cm. They have eaten through to the bottom of their food (completely clear patches on the bottom of the cup) and are rather short of space now with 5 monsters in a container that would have comfortably held 100 with room to spare when they arrived only a week ago.

13.07.13 Day 9
We had one chrysalis this morning, and another 2 caterpillars hanging by their tail ends from the ceiling in J-shapes starting to exude gunge (it slowly covers them and sort of blunts all their spiky bits before hardening). By the evening they had formed their chrysalides, but the remaining 2 caterpillars had knocked chrysalis 1 off the paper ceiling. Not sure what to do about this; no advice in the instructions.

14.07.13 Day 10
All 3 chrysalides are on the bottom, and the last 2 caterpillars are hanging Js.

15.07.13 Day 11
5 chrysalides. They are all a pale beigey grey with markings, and look nothing like the black spiky caterpillars.

16.07.13 Day 12
Transferred chrysalides to the pop-up habitat. 2 remained attached to their paper circle, which now looks really moth-eaten and fragile, but held together while I pinned it to the mesh. I put the loose 3 on a paper napkin on the base of the habitat and the whole thing on a tray. They wriggle their tail ends madly when handled, even very very gently, and I ended up dropping them clumsily. Children sure Mummy has murdered their butterflies. Hope not.

19.07.13 Day 15
One hatchling appeared without warning overnight. This was one of the 3 fallen chrysalides; relieved not to have killed them during transfer! We hadn't noticed the chrysalis darken as the instructions suggest. It has made a huge mess; looks like watery blood, and has soaked into the fabric base of the habitat; very glad we had put it on a tray. We made up the 'nectar'; the instructions call for a crazily vast quantity of the stuff; really you only need about a tenth. Butterfly 1 very keen on it though. He is stunning, examined closely.

20.07.13 Day 16
Another hatchling. We spotted this one earlier, while its wings were still crumpled, and watched as it pumped them up. The butterflies seemed to have only 4 legs... until you realise that 2 very furry legs are held tucked up in a sort of old-lady-knitting position until they feed. 2 other chrysalides look a bit darker. We really want to see one hatch but so far both have been very early morning. Put out a plastic saucer of peach slices which both butterflies approve of.

21.07.13 Day 17
Another 2 butterflies hatched between 3am and 6am (rather sad that we know this I suppose). We missed the hatching again, but met them over breakfast as they sampled their orange segments. The habitat netting has quite a few holes filled in ith dried red meconium; the effect is rather pretty in a macabre sort of way. We added a tiny narrow-necked vase of buddleia which they immediately all flew to to drink the 'nectar' we sprinkled on it.

22.07.13 Day 18
Finally the Runt (we assume since he was always the smallest and last to do each bit) has hatched. We missed him too! Pah! All 5 butterflies hatched successfully though, and are all active and entertaining.

23.07.13 Day 19
A lovely hot summer day, so today we released our butterflies, one of whom (Runt, I swear) was unwilling to abandon its peach bits and stayed for 20 minutes even after we removed the food saucer (on which it was firmly perching) from the habitat. All the others fluttered out of the open habitat lid one by one and danced around the garden before disappearing off into the blue.

In the following few days I handwashed the habitat which was fairly messy and stained with meconium. It came up beautifully, dried quickly, and now awaits its next inhabitants. The whole thing has been superb; more for me than the children, I suspect, since they take everything new in their stride. Seriously cool though, to observe these creatures so closely, exploring, and feeding, and flying. We'll definitely be doing his again. And maybe some stick insects...
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222 of 231 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get close to nature with this utterly wonderful experience, 31 July 2008
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= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
Absolutely superb present for the kids that amazes them and provides daily interest as they watch the tiny caterpillars transform into butterflies over a few weeks.

The kit contains a colourful pop-up enclosure with a feeding pipette and a coded voucher to redeem for a couple of quid for 4 or 5 tiny caterpillars. They can't put live caterpillars in the box of course. The voucher must either be sent by post or the code used on the Insect Lore website. I went for the web option used PayPal and effortlessly received the caterpillars within 2 days. You are sent a small clear plastic jar with half a cm of some kind of fatty substance at the bottom. The caterpillars remain in the jar (it has tiny air holes) eating away at the fatty food and growing at an incredible pace into large, black hairy ones. No additional feeding is necessary whilst in the jar and the lid must remain tight until they form chrysalises and hang from the paper that is on the underside of the sealed lid. Then, the paper from which they all dangle must be carefully removed with them attached and pinned into the enclosure and left undisturbed until they hatch into butterflies. Place in some flowers from the garden and a bit of orange, banana or other fruit, drip some sugar water via the pipette and they'll be very happy indeed. Three days later, release into the outside provided the weather is warm.

The kids were fascinated by the whole process, ran downstairs in the mornings to see the progress and took delight in observing nature so closely. I totally recommend this for any kids say aged 4+. You'll be happy to see the pleasure they get from it and somewhat chuffed as a parent (or relative) to have bought something unusual and educational.

And don't worry if the caterpillars hardly move or even stay completely still for some time - that's normal. They probably need all the rest they can get - as butterflies they will cover over 3,000 miles in the 5 weeks they live!
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158 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!, 8 Aug. 2007
By 
C. Tripp (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
My 3 year old daughter loved this and we did too! Her favourite story at the time was The very hungry caterpillar so she knew what to expect. We bought her a proper magnifying glass so she could see the caterpillars as they grew (they are very tiny when they arrive). I was annoyed that I failed to see one single butterfly hatch and missed all 5. I sat and watched one for over 30 mins as I could tell it was imminent but was distracted and by the time I'd looked back I saw that I'd missed it! This is not the fault of the butterfly garden though! If you look around the internet you can buy more caterpillars another year and use the garden again. So it's great value for money and gets 6 stars for educational value.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 20 July 2013
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 2:11 Mins

This is much more durable than it looks (by this I mean the net casing and the creatures within). It stands up well to my nearly 5 year old who was VERY excited. It looses a point as the zip is stiff and needs a big tug & for the first few goes we were scared it would break.

However all was well in the land of butterflies although we got one that came out deformed and can walk around but not fly :( this is all part of the learning experience - as is letting them go (we had tears until I suggested filming this).

Had to keep the cat away from fluttering wings.

By the way - in the VERY hot weather we did the life cycle in about 10 days!
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145 of 163 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An excellent product but with hidden costs., 29 Aug. 2010
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
I agree with the majority of reviews written with regard to educational value. It is an excellent idea and when my daughter was bought this as a birthday present I was very impressed, so much so that I bought a couple of extra sets for friend's Christmas presents.

Unfortunately when I opened it up I discovered that there additional postage costs to receive our caterpillars - a bit cheeky for a [...] product!

I am still confident that the item is a good buy but the price of the item is misleading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class, 1 Oct. 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
This is absolutely fantastic. It was purchased for my 11 year old son and at first I wondered if it would be too young for him.
I was wrong, both him all his friends and my 8 year old daughter loved it. We even had the pleasure of seeing a butterfly emerge from its case. Its very educational + interesting. I would definately recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Kid's review: Hello Caterpillar, Bye-Bye Butterfly!, 11 July 2013
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
My mum ordered me this awesome butterfly garden on the Insect Lore website, and it came today, with 10 caterpillars! 5 in each pot. It also came with a metamorphosis poster, a set of stickers with a background, instructions and the star of the show - a pop-up butterfly habitat.

First, the caterpillars. They came in the post, in little containers. There was a piece of cardboard around them that said things like, "See your caterpillars eat their special food. Watch as they grow BIGGER EVERY DAY!" The caterpillars are alive, you can see them wiggling about, making silk! Fantastic! You can also order a Caterpillar Refill Voucher for Butterfly Garden Set for next year

Next, the pop-up habitat. 12 inches tall, cylindrical, green and covered in mesh, it came flat but I could pop it up quickly. My Butterfly Garden has the Live Butterfly Garden logo at the bottom, but some of them have a flower pattern. I can't wait until my black, wriggly, hairless caterpillars turn into beautiful, orange, flying Painted Ladies.

Finally, the free gifts. The giant poster shows a flower with different images on each petal, such as a butterfly, a caterpillar and eggs. The sticker scene shows some rolling hills, and the stickers include butterflies and plants.

Overall, it's totally awesome!

By a 10 year old girl -
PS: My mum is a teacher, so she could use this for her Primary 3 class.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insect Lore Butterfly Garden, 25 Aug. 2012
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
This is such an excellent and educational set for children, simple to use and really interesting. Many reviewers have mentioned the extra cost to obtain the caterpillars and I agree it would be best if that were included in the set. However, saying that, it is good enough for me to overlook the issue. You can either order the caterpillars online or send off the enclosed certificate and then, when they arrive they grow in the little pot they are sent in, which includes all the food they need. Later you transfer them to the butterfly garden and then finally release them. It makes an ideal science project for children and great if you are home schooling. My children were really excited to watch the butterfly's grow and finally, be released.

The set comes with the reusable Butterfly Garden Habitat with feeding pipette (you need to provide sugar water when the butterflies hatch), a certificate for the caterpillars and a care and instruction guide. It is important to note that caterpillars are sent March to mid-September in the UK, so be aware that if you are considering this as a Christmas present, then you will not be able to use it until it is warm enough in the Spring. Otherwise, despite the hidden costs (never welcome and the manufacturer should consider including them in the price of the set itself in my opinion), a really great buy which my children loved.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miracle by Mail, 12 July 2013
By 
Rotgut "rotgut" (Warrington UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"Butterfles, more than any other animals or plants, sum up for me the spirit of the English countryside...Perhaps if my pictures are successful in evoking the beauty... of butterflies, they will help a little towards encouraging their conservation." So wrote Gordon Benningfield the popular and talented painer of rural Britain, in 1978. It's true to say the situation for these emphemeral beauties hasn't got any better since he penned these words. Far from it.

So, anything that will enthuse a new generation of young naturalists to take an interest in butterflies is to be applauded.

This colourful, eye catching kit gives an opportunity to witness first hand one of the miracles of Natural History...the metamorphosis of an earthbound caterpillar into a free flying butterfly. The chances of happening accross a butterfly or dragonfly emerging in this way in the wild are relatively slim, so this pre-prepared version is a welcome alternative.

The caterpillars themselves are sent by post; Everything else the budding lepidopterist will need for their experimentation is included. Painted Ladies occur naturally in the UK, being migrants who fly into the country in Summer. They do not survive the Winter months: There are no implications to releasing them into the wild after they have emerged.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed!!, 13 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Insect Lore Butterfly Garden (Toy)
Just received the live butterfly garden to find half the stuff missing so unable to order the caterpillars or use it at all. A very very very disappointed son!!! Not impressed. Have asked for a replacement lets hope I actually get sent what it says on the box!!
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