The Tennessee River Gardens and Nature Preserve is a spectacular gated wildflower garden and wildlife preserve in the heart of the Tennessee River Gorge. It is dedicated to the education and enjoyment of students and residents in the surrounding Chattanooga area. A seasonal feature is the enclosed Butterfly Pavilion exhibiting 20 native species of butterflies shown their natural habitats during every phase of their life cycles. Open from late spring to early fall, the pavilion includes species-specific host plants as well as flowering nectar plants that provide the sustenance for the butterflies. The exhibit includes the metamorphosis cycle from mating, laying of the eggs, hatching into larvae and growing into caterpillars, the formation of the chrysalis, and emergence of fully grown butterflies. The wildflower trail is a native wildflower and plant habitat, with more than 100 species are clearly identified along trails, streams, ponds and waterfalls. Wild turkeys, deer, and sometimes osprey and bald eagle are seen. Turtles, ducks, rainbow trout, and a fossil bank are exhibited along the path, which can be enjoyed at any time of the year. The Duck Habitat features more than 20 duck species, indigenous to the Southeast. The ducks remain on site and propagate into the wild.
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