Thursday, July 29, 2010

Butterfly Beauty in Durham, NC

This week we're enjoying my mother's company here in the Steamy South. Trying to think of air conditioned activities we could do while showing her the area, we decided on a day trip to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. This is a wonderful museum full of "touch me" exhibits for little ones, including a gorgeous butterfly house. If you call ahead, you can find out when staff will release newly hatched butterflies.

We were greeted by charming metal sculptures of insects as we approached the entrance to the butterfly house:

Tired? Have a seat on a clever butterfly bench...

The butterfly house contains several different ecosystems ranging from desert to tropical rain forest. Marble Man looks right at home in front of a Lobster Claw Tree from the tropical area:

Look up! Fluttering all around us were delicate natural wonders.

The interior of the house has a controlled, comfortable temperature. Running around on the ground is a group of funny little partridge-like birds which eat the unwanted bugs that this venue tends to attract, as well as a collection of song birds that eat dead butterfly carcasses.

We arrived in time for the release of the new butterflies. Here I am, handing one off to a little friend. This insect was so new it couldn't fly yet. We watched it exercise and air out its wings until it took off on its own.

Aside from butterflies, this part of the museum also houses a collection of creepy crawlies of the HUGE variety. We're talking about African Walking Sticks that were 12 inches long, tarantulas as big as my hand, and a whole tankful of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches - a pretty high "Ick Factor", but interesting too.

My favorites were the Poison Dart Frogs. So colorful and funny.

After four hours of being in the company of over-wound rug rats, we were ready to head home. On our way out, we came upon this group of youngsters working on building a huge tower of small blocks. A frame from a short video shows them putting on the blocks, one-by-one, and holding their breath with each addition.

The tower got so tall that the other, taller, boy had to continue. Shortly after he took over, it all came tumbling down.

If you are in the Durham, NC area, you should stop by this lovely museum. The exhibits are well designed. There's lots to learn for children as well as adults.

copyright 2010 Shibori Girl


Christie Minchew said...

I LOVE the Butterfly House! What a great field trip for you and your mom. I could have stood in front of the display where they have a gazillion different butterflies pinned up :( forever - such colors and patterns! Such inspiration!! Fun to see your photos, too.

Rhonda Roo said...

Wow-and though the butterflies are always a welcome addition to my backyard, I find myself strangely attracted to the insect sculpture....

must be the heat. :p

Hi to Kate's mom!

Stephanie said...

Looks like a wonderful museum! Butterfly habits like this one offer such a magical experiences don't they...


somepinkflowers said...

say, missy!

if i am ever in the NC area
i am coming to Your House
to watch you make your


then we can go to