Ah-Ha Butterfly Ranch, Pullman
Address: RR1 Box 35, Pullman, WV
As you walk along rows of brightly colored flowers, not far from an old white country church, with the sun filling the blue sky, you find the flowers are filled with monarch butterflies. When you touch a flower, much to your surprise and delight, a butterfly lands on your hand. Only one small moment of the daily life in the butterfly garden at the AH-HA Butterfly Ranch, there are many more awaiting your visit.
The AH-HA Butterfly Ranch is currently home to around 25 butterfly species, with its primary focus on West Virginia’s state butterfly, the monarch. The butterfly sanctuary is run by husband and wife Ashley and Heather Ness, whose first name initials are combined and repeated to make the name AH-HA.
Along with breeding butterflies and caring for them at all stages of development, the AH-HA Butterfly Ranch gives tours of their farm and is able to put together educational programs, for all ages, about butterflies and the plants they feed on. In fact, Heather taught a butterfly course at the 2008 WV Governor’s Honors Academy.
The AH-HA Butterfly Ranch offers butterfly releases at many events, such as weddings, funerals, memorial services, and more. After all, butterflies are God’s flying flowers. The AH-HA Butterfly Ranch is next to the White Oak Church, a small country church built in 1891 with a handmade organ and gas lights, just right for butterfly weddings, in or outside. Ashley and Heather have also set up butterfly gardens at schools and businesses across the state.
Heather and Ashley of the AH-HA Butterfly Ranch are the only butterfly breeders in WV. They grow milkweed plants and tuberosa, commonly known as butterfly weed, to attract the butterflies. which are migrating south but stop to feed and reproduce in WV. Ashley and Heather also breed and care for the butterflies indoor in climate controlled conditions.
Together, Heather and Ashley have 45 years of experience raising butterflies. Heather is the founder of WV State Monarch Butterfly Day and WV’s State Monarch Butterfly Festival, which was first held in 2005. The festival’s main attraction is a large walk-in tent filled with butterflies which flutter around and often land on those in the tent. People at the festival also watch as hundreds of monarch butterflies are released to fly away into the sky. In addition, the festival hosts fun and educational programs for children and adults alike.
The AH-HA Butterfly Ranch is open from May 1st to October 16th by appointment only. You may contact Ashley and Heather at 304.659.2020 to tour the ranch, to camp on the farm, to learn about butterflies, or set up a butterfly release. The butterfly farm is an excellent activity for groups of all sizes. The AH-HA Butterfly Ranch is located 3 miles outside of Pullman on Oxford Road. When you schedule an appointment, ask for more detailed directions. You may also email questions to email@example.com
August 31 - Sept. 3, WV Monarch Butterfly Festival, Lodge Field: Celebrate butterflies at North Bend State Park. Centered on conservation efforts, this festival features live butterflies and caterpillars, guest speakers, arts and crafts, and educational programs. For more information, contact Heather Ness at 304.737.4411.