World’s largest butterfly sculpture to be unveiled in Valley


World’s largest butterfly sculpture to be unveiled in Valley

What’s being billed as “the world’s largest butterfly sculpture” will be unveiled at the Valley’s Butterfly Wonderland attraction on Friday, Jan. 27.

“Las Mariposas” — Spanish for “the butterflies” — is the creation of New Mexico artist Robert Romero. It’s 45 feet tall with a 25-foot wingspan. Made of stainless steel with lightweight internal structure that allows it to balance on a central contact point, it took a year to complete.

The sculpture has been donated by the Sanchez Family Trust, owners of the Michela Roti Gallery in Corrales, N.M., which represents the artist. Gallery head Michael Sanchez explains that it was Romero’s dream to create a world-record butterfly sculpture, and it was Sanchez’s job to find a home for it.

“This is something that my wife and I and my kids and I have been very passionate,” Sanchez says. “We love animals.”

A friend from Phoenix told him about Butterfly Wonderland, which also boasts a “world’s largest” status as an indoor butterfly pavilion. On the Salt River Reservation just east of Scottsdale, it opened in 2013 as an anchor for the $200 million OdySea in the Desert attraction.

For the record, there is no easy way to confirm that this butterfly sculpture is the largest in the world.

“We are currently filing with Guinness (World Records),” Sanchez says (via e-mail), “but nothing else is on record, which by default makes us the largest butterfly sculpture in the world.”

The unveiling, with live music by Nouveau Papillon, is free and open to the public.