One of my “besties” (since way back in elementary school) gifted my daughter with a Butterfly Garden kit for Christmas.
After ordering and receiving the caterpillars in the mail, I read the instructions 100 times and then had to lie down because my head was spinning with confusion. This whole experiment was doomed due to my inability to understand and follow these instructions. The caterpillars’ fragile life was in my hands and I felt sorry for them.
Of course, my daughter was beside-herself-excited with the prospect of caterpillars turning into butterflies before our eyes and asked me every hour on the hour about the caterpillars and when they would hatch into butterflies, etc. The skeptic in me wasn’t a believer of this process and just knew I’d have to eventually explain why the caterpillars passed before completing the full metamorphosis into butterflies. I secretly rehearsed my “circle of life” speech.
Daily, I was the first downstairs because I needed to know when I would be forced to deliver the speech. Days went by. The caterpillars grew. Weeks went by. The caterpillars turned into chrysalides. We moved the chrysalides into the butterfly house. One month after the caterpillars arrived, the chrysalides hatched! We had 4 painted lady butterflies!
You go girl, right? Well, don’t break your arm patting me on the back for my success in following the instructions. I failed to pay attention to the part that said you shouldn’t order the caterpillars until it’s warm outside. Duh, right? Who has seen butterflies flying round in the middle of winter? Butterflies require sustained temps in the mid-60’s. Now, I was in a pickle. I didn’t want them to die in the butterfly house and I couldn’t release them into the wild.
Enter the Charlotte Nature Museum, one of our favorite places in Charlotte. In December, we joined all 3 museums (Discovery Place, Discovery Place KIDS and Charlotte Nature Museum) and we have been regulars!
I wondered if we simply showed up and plead our case, would the Charlotte Nature Museum let us release them in their indoor butterfly pavilion? Would they be able to resist a mother and her 2 sweet children toting their butterfly house filled with 4 shivering butterflies? Last week, I gave it a shot. My husband said I should call first but I dismissed this because we needed them to take pity on us and the only way to do this was IN PERSON.
I’m thrilled to report that they allowed us to release our butterflies in their pavilion! I shed a tear at the awesomeness of it all. Thank you, Charlotte Nature Museum, for an experience we will never forget! (and for saving me from a butterfly funeral)