In 2008 Hampyeong, South Korea, hosted its first World Butterfly and Insect Expo, a gathering of both casual insect enthusiasts and professional entomologists—and a bug or two (million).
The event is now held annually, with one species of butterfly selected as the star of the popular springtime festival. Thanks to the creepy-crawly festival, the town’s Expo Park has become a year-round draw and a veritable Disney World of ecology.
Each year Hampyeong attracts more than two million people to its Butterfly and Insect Expo, releasing hundreds of thousands of live butterflies for the occasion. Visitors are invited to view countless other species, both live in captivity and preserved under glass. Expo Park, established for the first event, is now a sprawling, permanent wonderland of nature-based exploration.
With 11 exhibition centers ranging from the golden bat center to the fresh water fish science museum, the park’s attractions celebrate the world’s smallest wonders along with some weirder, human-made versions, like the huge gold insect statues. Those who travel to Hampyeong for the Expo itself get to witness the whole town transform, as the whole area is adorned with butterfly lights, decorations, and fluttering wing motifs alongside the real deal.