It is almost too easy to compare the Penang Butterfly Farm’s recent transformation to that of a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly, but the metaphor is almost perfect when used to describe Entopia’s current splendour. I remember first visiting the site when it was affectionately known as the Penang Butterfly Farm. However, the ‘farm’ was nothing more than an uninspiring cage filled with plants and a multitude of butterflies. The insect aquarium was usually empty and did nothing to capture the imagination. The site itself resembled a husk filled with tiny flecks of colour and life. It existed, or so it seemed, as a belated afterthought on the tourist trail well worn by taxi drivers ferrying visitors from George Town to Teluk Bahang and back again.
Now, there is little to be remembered of its dilapidated state. Inside the new tortoise shell exterior lies a cavernous, fabricated rocky glade with elegant greenery under a vaulted glass and metal ceiling that would not look out of place in King’s Cross Railway Station, called Natureland. Crawl through the Mystery Cave and brave the dark unknown or skip through Grassland
kicking up a storm. This rebranding certainly adheres to their motto of ‘Living in harmony with Mother Nature’, seamlessly bringing the outside world in and leaving very little behind. Of great worth to the institution, as well as the insects it caters for, Entopia has begun a range of consultancy services aimed at promoting insect and nature conservation.
Entopia even goes one further than providing a more engaging and sympathetic environment to interact with critters and creatures.
Using Constantinos Doxiadis’ Ekistic philosophy, Entopia aims to provide an ‘in place’ which satisfies both dreamer and scientist. The new insectarium has revitalised what it means to appreciate insects, displaying a variety of species to view up close and personal. Learn and experience the process of Metamorphosis or visit their Breeding Ground. Be very sure to visit Pandora Forest for a taste of myths and legends in a fantastical setting.
If you want to get involved in Entopia’s mission, there a number of ways the community can give back. By purchasing a One Seed at a Time pack they can join: Tree Planting Activities planting perennial plants in parks and schools in Penang; Seed Paper Workshops learning how to create paper waste into multi-purpose paper crafts; and, Environmental Education Talks describing on-going environmental projects.
Entopia seems to be greater than the sum of its parts. Having barely mentioned the variety of enclaves, activities and spaces on offer, it has already acquired the following of many. Set to add to the increasing effort to protect and preserve Penang’s often overrun natural ecosystem, it will endure in the hearts of more.
Venue: Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm
Opening hours: Daily, 9am-7pm, last admission 5:30pm
Address: No 830, Jalan Teluk Bahang, 11050 Penang, Malaysia
Standard Tickets: Adult (13 years old & above) MYR65.00
Child (4 to 12 years old) MYR45.00
Senior Citizen (60 years old & above) MYR45.00