Sunday, January 10, 2016

Butterfly Habitat


We got back from our Halloween trip to California on a Monday. The next day was Reed's last day of track break, so instead of spending the day cleaning and unpacking, we decided to make the day special! Reed's request was to go to the Springs Preserve, and that is exactly what we did. 

The Springs Preserve was one of our first fun-places-we-like-to-go-in-Vegas finds. Three years later, we still enjoy a trip to the Springs. This trip was especially great, though, because they'd just opened a shipwrecks and pirates exhibit and they'd recently opened a butterfly habitat, too! We started at the shipwrecks exhibit mainly because it was closest to the entrance. We had a great time learning about shipwrecks and seeing "treasures" that had actually been recovered from the ocean floor! We even got to try controlling a model of the Odyssey, a machine used to do said recovery. We were attempting to suction a coin to the end of the robotic arm but were not successful. We weren't even kind of successful, but we did enjoy the attempt!

Once we'd seen what we wanted to see, we headed toward the butterfly habitat. We stopped halfway there to sit down and have a snack, which I'd scraped together out of the minimal food in the pantry. I honestly can't remember what exactly we had but I do remember that it was quite random and the kids were looking at me like I was a crazy person. Anyway, once we'd refueled we carried onward to the butterflies.

I was a little nervous about having Lila in the butterfly enclosure, especially after a docent explained that since it had been cold lately, a lot of butterflies were on the ground trying to pull in warmth from the pavers. I was pretty sure she was going to accidentally kill multitudes of butterflies. But once we were inside, she was surprisingly cooperative and even listened. She maimed 0 butterflies while we were there. 

The butterfly enclosure itself was magical. Butterflies were everywhere. EVERYWHERE. There were so many different types of butterflies, too--monarchs, blue morphos (those are the absolutely gigantic, brilliant blue butterflies), butterflies that look like owls faces, and at least five other varieties. We were just in awe. As we made our way to the back of the enclosure, we saw there were butterflies all over the ground. We each found a safe spot to stand or kneel and just watched. Then, much to our surprise, a blue morpho butterfly landed on a docent and he came to us and let us transfer the butterfly from his hand to Reed's hand. Asher got the next turn, then Lila, then me! I can't even describe how cool it was to have this gigantic butterfly perched on my fingers. Just wow.

We stayed in the enclosure for a long time. While we were there, a butterfly landed on me. Then a butterfly landed on Reed's shoulder. Another joined in, landing on his back! The first butterfly started climbing and made its way to Reed's neck. Reed was cracking up because it was super tickly. Later, a butterfly landed on his shoe. Reed was a butterfly magnet and poor Asher was jealous. Asher stood as still as he could, but butterflies just weren't interested in landing on him that day. He at least got to hold the blue morpho, but he really, really wanted a butterfly to land on him.

We had a great time and can't wait to go back when we can take Ryan with us!

The blackish looking butterfly in the above picture is a blue morpho. When it unfolds its wings, the undersides are exposed, which are a shockingly bright blue!

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