Recently I went with members of the Women’s Group at my church on an early Saturday morning outing to the Wings of Fancy butterfly exhibit at Brookside Gardens. This exhibit is very popular and, on top of it, Brookside Gardens is currently renovating its parking lots so there is less parking than before. So we decided to meet in the parking lot at church then carpool over to Wheaton. It was a good thing too because what little parking exists began to fill up so the drivers (we rode in two separate cars) ended up dropping all of us off at the front entrance to the exhibit while we waited for the drivers to find parking further away then make the relatively long walk to the entrance.

I once went to a butterfly exhibit with my then-husband and late mother-in-law at the Botanical Gardens in Tempe, Arizona a few years earlier. I found the Brookside Gardens exhibit to be quite similar in structure to the one in Tempe but I still enjoyed it anyway because it’s such a photographer’s paradise. (I saw lots of people with cameras when I was there.) There was a special $8 admission fee for adults but I found it to be quite worth it because of all the butterflies that I was able to shoot with my smartphone camera.

The area leading to the front entrance had a butterfly garden planted, which included all kinds of colorful flowers in full bloom.

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The next two photos show the arch leading to the front entrance to the exhibit.

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We eventually reached a large greenhouse. Outside the entrance there was an exhibit featuring live caterpillars who were busy eating the leaves of the plants they were crawling on.

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Past the caterpillar exhibit there were the front doors with a plastic curtain that one had to walk through. (The other butterfly exhibit in Tempe also had plastic curtains placed in all of the doors.) Once you enter, you get to see butterflies literally flying and landing everywhere.

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One had to be really careful while viewing the butterflies themselves since they tended to land everywhere because it would’ve been so easy to accidentally step on one or sit down and squash one on your behind. Aside from that, it was really such a lovely display of butterflies landing on blooming flowers that provided lots of pretty pictures.

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Some butterflies preferred to feed off of overripe fruit instead of flowers so there were plates full of fruit to accommodate them.

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There was a glass enclosure full of chrysalises that had real caterpillars making the metamorphosis into butterflies.

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During my visit there was a butterfly that was newly emerged from a chrysalis but its wings were still folded up. A volunteer said that it takes several hours before a newly emerged butterfly can even muster the strength to start flapping its wings. That butterfly will eventually join the others in the greenhouse.

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There were plenty of places where people could sit and just admire the scenery (as long as you carefully look at your seat to make sure a butterfly isn’t resting there). There was one bench that was shaped like a butterfly.

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When it was time for us to leave, we had to exit through another set of doors that also had plastic curtains that we had to walk through. Then there was another enclosed checkpoint with two mirrors where we could check ourselves to make sure that there were no butterflies clinging to us before going out the last exit door into the outside world.

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