From the mid-1930s through the 1960s International Friendship Gardens was a popular tourist destination. The gardens in Michigan City, Indiana, represented countries around the world. The venue also hosted musical and theatrical entertainment. The gardens lost popularity from the 1970s to the early 2000s, but have now sprung back. Today people visit the newly named Friendship Botanic Gardens to stroll through rejuvenated gardens, hike forest paths, and even get married.
The first thing that caught my eye as I looked through the observation window from the Hershey Gardens gift shop into the new tropical butterfly atrium were the giant blue morpho butterflies flitting about. I had never seen a blue butterfly before, or one so large. The blue morpho is just one species of butterfly introduced in the atrium housed in the Milton & Catherine Hershey Conservatory, newly opened in 2016. In total, 200 to 300 species of tropical and North American Butterflies will be represented in the atrium when it is fully populated.