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Photo Op: New signs installed at zoo
Liam Schreiner, 8, is the first person to try out the newest photo op at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo, a colorful butterfly sign. Schreiner is from Grand Junction, Colo., and is visiting his grandparents in Great Bend. The new sign was installed Monday. Liam is the grandson of Merlin and Darlene Stoss. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

New signs were installed Monday at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo’s Butterfly House. The outline of a large Monarch butterfly is a colorful invitation to the exhibit, and it also provides a photo opportunity for anyone who wants to stand in front of it and “become a butterfly.”
The Great Bend Zoological Society ordered the piece, which was created and installed by Mark’s Signs in Great Bend.
“We think it will be a lot of fun for the kiddos,” said Sarah Shirer from the Zoo Society. “Everybody’s going to want to try the butterfly wings.”
Zoo Supervisor and Curator Sara Hamlin joined Shirer on Monday as they watched the installation. The bright orange and black Monarch wings seemed to be color coordinated with the purple Rose of Sharon plants nearby.

The Butterfly House proper also has a new sign over the entrance that identifies the structure.
The Zoo Society also provided funds this spring to add a handicap-accessible sidewalk inside the Butterfly House, which is actually an enclosed garden with butterflies and butterfly-friendly plants.
“The Master Gardeners did a lot of research into the specific varieties that butterflies need,” Hamlin said.
This is a good time of year to see the butterflies, which are stocked annually. The most common species are Monarchs and Painted Ladies, although occasionally a Black Swallowtail shows up.
“Our distributor only sends us butterflies that are native to Kansas,” Hamilin said. This is done deliberately, because every summer a few of the butterflies escape as people walk in and out of the exhibit.