by Jessica McFadden,
A Parent in Silver Spring
The butterflies are here! Now through mid-September from 10-4 each day at Brookside Gardens, your child and you can be surrounded by live butterflies. "Wings of Fancy" features Asian, Costa Rican and North American butterflies flying freely through the south conservatory and feasting on fruit and tropical flowering nectar plants. Butterfly nirvana is achievable right in Wheaton!
Be sure to request to borrow a Butterfly Discovery Backpack for your child during the tour. Filled with activities and other tools of a lepidopterist (butterfly expert), the backpacks enrich the butterfly garden experience for kids aged preschool and up.
If you and your kids can recite The Hungry Little Caterpillar from memory, don't miss the butterfly "births" as the colorful newbies emerge from their cocoons in the glass cases in the middle of the exhibit. As you can see here, my kids are entranced.
If you have children that are not yet walking, be aware that strollers are not allowed in the butterfly exhibit. There is stroller parking right outside the entrance and slings, Bjorns and baby packpacks are welcomed.
This is a great playgroup, school or birthday outing for groups of 15-30 kids on week days. If your group is aged 6 and up, just call 301.962.1467 to reserve a special butterfly viewing.
Professional and amateur photographers can have the butterfly exhibit all to themselves and a limited number of other camera wielders. Two Saturday mornings per month from 8-10am, Brookside Gardens welcomes 10 photographers and their tripods to capture the butterflies on film. Cost is $20 and ParkPASS reservations are required. See dates and course numbers for shutterbug viewings here. Cameras are allowed all other times, but tripods are limited to those select mornings.
Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly Exhibit
Brookside Gardens South Conservatory
1500 Glenallan Avenue
Wheaton, MD - just 1 mile from Silver Spring and 3 miles from NW DC
Kids 2 and under are free
Kids 3-12 are $4
Adults and kids 13 and up $5
Purchase tickets at the Brookside Visitors Center or Gift Shop
More info at BrooksideGardens.org
Jessica's blog, A Parent in Silver Spring, is loaded with tips and info for the stay at home mom or dad, but also has plenty of interest for the rest of us who just want to find out what is cool and new in the greater Silver Spring, MD area.