Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Winter Warm Up in the Butterfly Garden

March lived up to its reputation, coming in like a lion, with a big, roaring snow storm on the 1st. We found tropical warmth in the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The late winter snow was so much easier to enjoy from our colorful and toasty paradise.

We lucked into a 2pm butterfly release, where newbies were added to over 1,000 winged residents of the haven. Despite the sweltering heat, Zilla wore her brightly colored winter coat, covered in purple flowers and butterflies, hoping some of the insects would land on her. Instead, I just missed a photo op, as a gorgeous butterfly landed on Du-Jay's green bandanna flowers.

We learned that butterflies like to drink from Gatorade soaked sponges, and the birds that share their haven don't eat live butterflies, only dead ones and other insects.

The final hours before closing time were spent in the basement play area for kids 7 and under. It's one of the few free play places where city kids can climb, slide and be active indoors. Between rousing games of hide and seek, they took a break in the caves, where a parascope allows for covert spying on patrons above.

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