WHEN: May 2 - September 20, 2009
You can actually hear the gasps as people walk through the conservatory doors at Brookside Gardens. Hundreds of butterflies cover every surface and float by the crowd. My kids were amazed and couldn't stop pulling me in different directions to see their favorites. But honestly, I found myself oooing and ahhhing too.
The butterflies and moths on display here are all farm raised, and brought in as chrysalises and cocoons. They are tended in a climate controlled case until they hatch, and then they live out their days sampling the flowers and fruit in the conservatory. Not a bad life. There is a "no touching" rule here, because it can harm the butterflies, but apparently no one told the butterflies. They routinely land on people and will hang out for a while on a lucky shoulder or head. My younger daughter was rather upset that none of them would land on her, but when I picked her up and held her higher, a few kind butterflies obliged.
There is a touch and feel station set up where a volunteer will answer questions and kids can touch a few dead specimens. Thank goodness for patient volunteers because, as usual, my son found about a million things to ask.
Meanwhile, my older two (my daughter brought a friend) were busy naming every last butterfly they saw. You can probably guess, we were there for a long time.
After we are checked for stray butterflies, we headed out the door for a lovely stroll through the gardens. A perfect end to the day.
[Note: Bring some extra water; the greenhouses are warm and humid. This exhibit runs every year during the warm season. It may occasionally close during extreme heat advisories. Please call the butterfly hotline for up-to-date details.
"Butterfly Hotline": 301-962-1453
1500 Glenallan Avenue