We are big butterfly fans here. Well, G and I are. O probably doesn’t care as much, although he enjoys them when we study them, search for them or see them in our yard. It’s been a few years since we’ve been to Olbrich’s Blooming Butterflies. The first time we went, we saw very few butterflies, and because of that, I decided to skip it for a couple of years. This year, I decided we had to try again. Boy am I glad we did. We either hit a perfect day, or it was just better this year. I HIGHLY suggest going with your kids!
The docents told us that it’s always better to be there on a sunny day. The butterflies were extremely active while we there, repeatedly fluttering past us closely, landing on nearby flowers, and even landing on US. They have an identification guide available which is very helpful for determining what kind of butterflies we are seeing. I think we saw 7 or 8 different types of butterflies. At one point, near a sugar water station, there were 5-6 butterflies just flitting around our hands. G always makes it a mission to have one land on her. She stayed perfectly still, and butterflies landed on her repeatedly! I don’t recommend this for all children. We have to remember not to touch their wings and to be VERY gentle. But it worked out okay for G!
After the butterflies in the conservatory, their is an easy scavenger hunt to complete in the outside gardens. There are 5 stations set up to emboss a butterfly in your “Butterfly Passport” set up throughout the garden. G and O and I had a lot of fun completing this. Each station has a yes/no question to think about which was usually an observation (“Do you see some large, flat leaves that a butterfly could perch on?”). Once the entire passport is complete, the child gets a coupon to use for an ice cream at Michael’s Frozen Custard. We found the scavenger hunt to be easy and not too much for small kids to complete. But we are also very familiar with the gardens and don’t really even need a map. Even so, I think most kids would like it!
We’ve done some other butterfly exhibits. The one at the Milwaukee Public Museum is small but had a TON of butterflies. The one at the Chicago Botanic Garden was also small but had a lot of butterflies as well…and it’s part of the Chicago Botanic Garden, which is a big plus and one of our favorite places (a topic for another post!).