"But we don't catch them for wedding releases," Palafox says. "The ones we release we raise in containers. They go from eggs to caterpillars to butterflies all in the container. And when they're two or three days old we release them. If we don't need them for weddings or quinceañeras, we release them in here."
On its opening weekend, in mid-November, Le Papillon had 500 visitors, though not all were paying customers. "We invited a lot of people," Palafox explains. The plan for Palafox and Cerón -- who work day jobs in management at two of Tijuana's maquiladoras -- is to attract school field trips. "We pay a company that does marketing to the schools. There is no way we could go to every school to pitch this. But the company we work with has contacts with over 1000 schools. So they print a brochure that they send to all of their schools. They bring busloads of kids, and we get two dollars per kid."
In addition to field trips, the couple hopes to attract Tijuana's city dwellers for a day in the country. They plan to build a playground for kids. And they're working on permits to import more exotic species of butterflies. They charge 30 pesos (about $3) per visitor. "The idea is that families will be able to come and spend the whole day with us," Cerón says. "Kids love it here. In TJ, we don't have a lot of parks and play spaces, and the houses are very small. Here, we have butterflies and room to run. It's a very safe place to play -- except for the rattlesnakes."