- By supernovamommy
- 14 October, 2012
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Be Sure to Catch These Butterflies!
By Patricia Hall
When friends we were visiting last year offered us a caterpillar to take home and raise as a butterfly, my first reaction was hesitance. I knew nothing about raising butterflies, but then figured it would be an educational opportunity for my young child. Who would have thought that I would end up being the one so fascinated with the process? As we watched the caterpillar become a chrysalis and then a monarch butterfly, we were enthralled – and I even had a bit of “separation anxiety” when we released the butterfly at Frying Pan Farm Park!
Learning about monarchs first-hand, and about their amazing migration, gave me a renewed appreciation for butterflies, so right now we are again raising some (this time the Painted Lady type, from a kids’ science kit) and sharing the experience with my son’s kindergarten class. The timing of “Flight of the Butterflies,” a new IMAX movie in 3D, therefore could not have been any better. I was excited to learn about the film and thrilled to get to see it on Friday a special screening at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, DC. This documentary has received rave reviews, and with good reason: its producers say “you become immersed in every detail. Your movie-going experience is enhanced by the depth and clarity of the picture and the pitch perfect sound” – and they’re not kidding!
The depiction of Dr. Fred Urquhart and his quest to learn about the monarch migration is part scientific journey, part detective tale, and 100 percent a story about a true “labor of love.” The movie’s detail is amazing, from watching how the caterpillars eat their milkweed (side to side, corn-on-the-cob style, as I learned) to seeing incredible close-ups of the scales on the butterfly wings. The best part, especially for kids, is the 3D effect of having the butterflies fly right at you. I flinched right away and then it was very hard not to laugh watching my son and Beltway Bargain Mom‘s kids try to “catch” the butterflies that were all around us. In fact, if you manage to find seating that has lots of space (extra seats around you), that may be the way to go, because chances are your kids will not be able to sit still for long!
Flight of the Butterflies (44 mins., rated G) is showing at the Samuel C. Johnson IMAX Theatre at NMNH. Tickets are $9 adults, $8 seniors, $7 kids 2-12, and $6.50 Smithsonian members. Be sure also to visit the museum’s adjacent Live Butterfly Garden (small extra fee) to see lots of beautiful butterflies in action, and stop by the Orkin Insect Zoo (free admission) to check out lots more critters — we even got to see one of those cool leaf insects that look exactly like leaves!
Patricia Hall is a freelance writer and editor in Fairfax, VA, and the founder of Fairfax Family Fun, a website focused on fun, family-friendly activities. Originally from Florida, she is a long-term resident of Fairfax and enjoys exploring the area with her family.
Find out more about the movie and watch a trailer at http://www.flightofthebutterflies.com/