Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Metamorphosis

As I mentioned in my last post, we went to a Butterfly House and bought a caterpillar habitat so we could watch it transform into a butterfly.  The habitats were $10 and included a monarch caterpillar on a milkweed plant, along with some instructions.  This seemed like a good deal since other caterpillar habitats cost more and you have to send away for the caterpillars.   At least with this one, I know we are starting with a live caterpillar.   I also thought this would be a fun and educational experience for the kids.  We set it up in our playroom and luckily it never got bumped too hard.  I'm happy to report our caterpillar not only survived, but it transformed into a beautiful butterfly and the kids got to witness the process.


So here's what our habitat looked like when we brought it home:

 There's our little caterpillar.  

For a week it was just eating and eating.  The kids could see it getting a little bigger each day and.  Then it hung upside down in this "J" shape for a day.


The next day, it shed it's skin one last time and formed a chrysalis. 


I thought it was interesting that there was some gold on the chrysalis and when I researched it, I could only find out that it has something to do with wing development.


The green chrysalis got more transparent and the day before it emerged, you could see the wings.


Shortly after I took the above picture, the butterfly emerged from the chrysalis.


The wings slowly unfolded.




Since it takes 1-3 hours for the wings to dry, you should release it after that time.  We were going to the movies and I didn't want the butterfly to get caught in the netting so we tried to turn it loose outside after an hour.  The butterfly wasn't ready to fly away and just hung onto the netting.  When we came back from the movies, it was gone.  Later that day, we saw it flying in the back yard.  We haven't seen a monarch butterfly this season in our yard before or after that, so I think we can safely assume the one we saw was ours.


Here the girls are saying good by to "Mona Lisa", the monarch butterfly.


Oh and in case you are wondering how we knew it was a girl (it's all but impossible to tell the sex of a caterpillar), we used this chart.  Our butterfly didn't have a spot on the wing so that made it a female.


Anyone else do the caterpillar habitat thing?  How did it work for you?  I enjoyed checking on the caterpillar everyday and found it interested to watch the metamorphosis.




  

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Visit to the Butterfly House

Last month we went to Dreamscapes Watergardens in Lebanon PA.
We didn't go there to buy a pond for your backyard, but rather to check out their Butterfly House - Metamorphosis.


According to their website, "Home to hundreds of Pennsylvania Native Butterflies, Metamorphosis Butterfly House features the four stages of butterfly development(egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly) in a unique educational ecosystem.  You might just be lucky enough to see the transformation take place!"  

While we didn't see any transformations during our tour of the Butterfly House, the kids enjoyed seeing all the butterflies and trying to catch them on their feeding sticks.

The cost of the Butterfly House was $6 for adults and $3 for children.  You could also buy feeding sticks for $1 each.  I found a coupon which allowed us to get a free feeding stick with each paid admission.  If you go, I recommend getting a feeding stick.  The kids loved trying to get butterflies to land on their sticks.  This made the experience more interactive and fun.
After all the butterfly pictures, you'll see pictures of the waterscapes and kids play area.  All in all, it was a very fun afternoon and I recommend going there.

The different stages of the butterfly cycle:  egg, caterpillar and chrysalis.

I even had a butterfly land on me!

And since this was a watergarden center, there were fountains and ponds to check out as well as some landscape decorations.


A moss covered deer.

This bench was $500 and the one behind it was $1100.

Lily ponds.


Fountains.

There was also a large kids play area that the kids loved playing at.  We made an afternoon of our visit, even packed a lunch and ate at the picnic area while we were there.  

That green fenced in area was home to "Porkchop" the pig.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed the play area.

A large chalkboard wall to write on was fun.

The swing area was so much fun for them that they didn't want to leave.

They enjoyed this swing so much, I'm thinking of getting one for our basement.

We decided to bring some of the fun home with us so we bought a caterpillar habitat.  

 There's our little caterpillar.  

This post has enough pictures already, so I'll write about our caterpillar turned butterfly in another post.  



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Monday, August 1, 2016

An Elephant Museum?

Last week, we happened to be on a little road trip to drop my oldest daughter off at camp and ran across this little roadside attraction.  After dropping her off, the two youngest kids and I just had to check it out.


We walked around the garden area outside for quite a bit before entering the museum/store.  My younger daughter thought it was so much fun to see all the statues and silly decorations.






My son just loves cars, so of course he had to get into this one parked right next to a deer named Jon.


Climbing the "Stairway to Nowhere"



The path between the trees made me think of Hansel and Gretel on their way to Grandmother's house.  Well, except for the fact that the trees were decorated with hats and shoes.


My son also had to try out this boat.  Don't know why there's a kid's potty next to it, but it made us laugh.


Here's a candy coated elephant for you.


After enjoying all the sights outside, we finally ventured inside to check out the museum.
There must have been a million different types of elephant figures and memorabilia. 


There was also tons of candy.  Loose pieces of hard candy as well as all different flavors of fudge. 


So, has anyone else stopped by this funny little roadside attraction?
What did you think of it?





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