Have you ever had a butterfly land on your hand? Have you ever looked closely at a butterfly’s eyes, or the patterns on its wings? Do you need a break from the wicked cold we’ve been having here in Ottawa, Canada? The Canadian Museum of Nature has a beautiful exhibit called Butterflies in Flight, where children and adults of all ages can have a close encounter with winged beauties.
Presented by Essential Costa Rica, the exhibition features butterflies supplied by two sustainable farms in Costa Rica which are transported to the Museum during their Pupal stage. Visitors can see the pupae hanging in the Animal Care room. An informative chart helps visitors identify the pupa and its associated butterfly.
The butterflies are housed in the solarium. Mimicking a tropical forest with an ambient temperature of 27C, visitors walk about while observing butterflies in flight or resting and eating on pieces of fruits. The exhibit is time-ticketed as the solarium accommodate up to 25 visitors at a time. It is best to buy your tickets online to reserve your spot at your scheduled visit time; you can also get tickets at the arrival of your visit, but due to the popularity of this exhibit, there may not be any tickets left during your visit.
The friendly staff members explain the rules of the solarium to help ensure the butterflies are not handled or, even worse, stepped on my mistake. The butterflies will land on brightly coloured clothing, and at times, even on one’s head! During my visit, Science Interpreter Marieve Perron spoke to visitors, answered their questions and helped children learn about the butterflies.She often asked the children if they wanted to let a butterfly sit on their sleeve or hand. She definitely was suited for this type of work as she was constantly surrounded by inquisitive children.
I really enjoy macro photography, and I had many opportunities to zoom in on these magnificent creatures. Here are a few of my favorite captures.
Notice the curly proboscis (feeding tube) that curl when not in use. The body of the butterfly can either be matching the wings or different but with the same colours. I really am in awe of the variety of patterns in wings, and the complex details of some like the middle one called the Owl Butterfly. I think the pose of the butterfly on the right seems rather regal!
The left and middle picture is the Malachite butterfly. Look at its big colourful eyes! The butterfly on the right is the Blue Morpho. Notice how the bottom of the wings are very dark and patterned and the top iridescent blue.
There are more things to see and do outside of the solarium. One can learn which flowers best attract butterflies, or how to make an origami butterfly. There are fun stations where kids can play with plush animals and birds, and additional hands-on activities are offered during holidays and weekends.
You can also see a new 3D movie, Amazon Adventure which tells the story of Henry Bates who spent 11 years studying wildlife in the Amazon.
Butterflies in Flight will run until April 2nd. For more information, access the Plan Your Visit page of the Canadian Museum of Nature site.
If you enjoy my posts, please consider voting for me in the 2018 FACES Awards. I have been listed as one of the finalists under the category Blogger/Blog. You can vote once every 24 hours until the closing day, January 24th , and your support would mean a great deal to me! You can vote for one category, or several. Once you have finished voting, go the bottom of the page to submit your vote(s).
The voting link is on this page – facesmag.ca/awards
Thank you so very much!