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1,500 butterflies set to flutter to freedom at annual release
05212018 BUTTERFLY 1
A butterfly rests on a table underneath a tent to avoid the rain at the 2018 butterfly release at Wilshire Trails Park in Gainesville. - photo by Kaylee Martin
25th Annual Friends of Gainesville Parks Butterfly Release

When: 1-4 p.m. May 22

Where: 

How much: Free

More info: gainesville.org/360/Friends-of-the-Parks 

Friends of Gainesville Parks and Greenways’ 25th annual butterfly release is slated for this Sunday, May 22, affording families two different opportunities to connect with the outdoors.

From 1-4 p.m., families can stop by Longwood Park or the recently completed Engine 209 Park to assist the city’s parks and recreation department in releasing 1,500 butterflies into the wild.

Traditionally “one huge release of butterflies” prior to the pandemic, the butterfly release is now more of a drop-in event allowing families to come and go at their leisure, according to Gainesville Parks and Recreation Director Kate Mattison.

“It’s made it a little bit more personal and a little bit more engaging in that way, which I think is a really nice touch,” Mattison said. 

Both sites are set to feature food trucks and kids’ activities. Those visiting Longwood can enjoy live music and the park’s new Kayak Shack, while those venturing to Engine 209 can become acquainted with the park’s historic train and new playground features.

“Expect food and fun family activities and a chance to get out and enjoy your parks — particularly Engine 209, because I don’t think a lot of people have ventured over to that new park yet,” Mattison said. “It’s supposed to be great weather, so that should be perfect.”