The little girl stood very, very still and pointed at the coneflowers covered in orange butterflies.
"What are you doing?" Mary Frances asked her.
"Waiting for a butterfly to land on my finger. You can't touch them, but it's OK if they just land on you. So I'm hoping it thinks I'm a flower."
The two girls stood next to each other, waiting silently, both of them holding out their index fingers.
"So, has this actually worked?" Mary Frances asked after a minute or so.
"Not yet," the girl answered, still pointing, still staring at the dozen fluttering butterflies. "But I keep praying."
We were at Blooming Butterflies
, a summer exhibit at EdVenture Children's Museum
. Hundreds of colorful butterflies and moths, representing more than 20 species, rest on overflowing flower blossoms, float in the air, drink nectar from feeding stations.
Open now through Oct. 6, Blooming Butterflies gives children and their adults the chance to see native butterflies and moths up close, at every stage of their life cycles. The butterflies and moths live in an enclosed 2,500 square foot patio and garden, lush with trees, flowering shrubs and wildflowers even more colorful than the butterflies. Signs, diagrams and photos explain the habitat and needs of the insects.
The Bloom Room, a special case full of cocoons and chrysalises, give visitors the chance to see the lovely creatures as they make their metamorphosis from creeping caterpillars to colorful moths and butterflies. If you happen to be there at just the right time, you might get a chance to watch a butterfly or moth emerge, dry its wings and take flight for the first time.
The museum provides cards with photographs and the names of each of the different butterflies and moths in the exhibit. Almost immediately, the kids made this a game of search-and-find, and the hunt was on.
"I found a Monarch!"
"Look! A Zebra Swallowtail! It looks just like a zebra!"
"This is a Julia! Wait. That looks nothing like someone named Julia."
Mary Frances and her new friend never did trick a butterfly into landing on their fingers, but watching a dozen butterflies flutter around their heads more than made up for it. The overheard conversations were just a bonus for me.
Admission to Blooming Butterflies is included with admission to EdVenture. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Cost is $11.50 for children and adults, $10.50 for seniors, and children younger than one are admitted free.
Make sure you visit on a sunny day. The exhibit is outside and closes for inclement weather.