WOW - what a week! Such a combination of Health, Medical and Social. . .need the weekend so I can take a break!
And. . .finally. . .after almost a week of waiting. . .here it is. . Dolly's Big Adventure. . .which started with a 40 minute drive - there were no more hints than those given before departure:
1. Wear sturdy shoes
2. Wear comfy indoor clothing
3. Expect to be gone 2-3 hrs
I could think of nothing I had been talking about so far away or in the direction we were headed so I continued 'in the dark' the whole way.
As we pulled off the freeway, I noted we were entering the Indian Reservation, and, as is my wont, I read signs by the road commenting on a future Aquarium, etc. pointing out surrounding buildings. . . and spied our destination though I hadn't yet made the connection.
I had just started prattling that I'd seen an article at ground-breaking about the business just down the road, had totally forgotten it was out there, yada, yada, yada. . .and, then, we turned into that building's parking lot. . . to the Butterfly Wonderland, a Rainforest Experience!
This is the largest Butterfly Atrium in the United States and the 2nd largest in the whole world! I couldn't decide where to spend more time - in the Butterfly Emergence Gallery or in the 10,000 sf Rainforest Atrium filled with thousands of Butterflies. . .a REAL quandry!
The experience begins with a 3-D film, 'Flight of the Butterflies', which was amazing. I felt like I was standing in fields of Butterflies - actually flinching as a Butterfly surprised me flying directly across my face! We were following, specifically, the Monarch Butterfly through it's 3 generation 'annual migration' from Texas to Northern US climes (1st gen), then on to the Toronto area (2nd gen) for the Summer then down to winter over in Mexico (3rd gen) before heading back to Texas to start the cycle once again.
I stayed in the Butterfly Emergence Gallery thru 2 full 'tour groups' - I LUV that they allow peeps to manage their own visit. I have several pics of Butterflies in the process of exiting their chrysallis. And, I was surprised to learn how very many types of of chrysallis there are! I know there are many different butterlies but somehow assumed they all grow in the 'same' chrysallis. . .actually, never gave it any thought.
I've NO idea how long I stayed in the Rainforest Atrium. . .SO MANY beautiful Butterflies! From all over the world! DH was so, so patient. . .both stepping away to get pics I might like and so I wouldn't feel presurred to 'move on' then returning to take pics of me with Butterflies 'taking a break' on me. I wore a light lavendar blouse with small lavendar-colored flower print and sported a bright purple flower-shaped hair claw. . .I think they mis-took me for a gargantuan flower casue some Butterflies appeared to be trying to gather nectar from my blouse!
And, of course, there was the beautiful plant life - a GREAT background for all of the colorful Butterflies. I liked, in particular, the flowering Magnolias. They reminded me of my Mother and her Magnolia trees - she just loved those trees!
After a quick water break - a lot of perspiring going on in the Rainforest Atrium - and some chatter about what we'd seen, we moved into the three other nature displays (Ant Farms / Honey Bee Colonies / Amazon Aquatic Display) - all very nice (they actually had a glass tunnel for the bees to exit the building and return with nectar to build their honeycombs - VERY active lil buggers!) - before traipsing through the gift shop.
While it was difficult, I managed to stick to my new decor resolution - if I'm not 'filling a hole' or 'have a plan in place', I may NOT just buy all the cutie stuff in the gift shop. . .that has been my habit in the past and I wind up with tons of stuff I eventually wind up giving away or putting in a yard sale.
Took me four days to download my many, many pics (I killed two batts taking pics - good thing DH had brought extras) as well as DH's pics. After culling thru them discarding those that were blurry or empty (those lil buggers fly away REAL fast), I retained 194 pics. . .I don't even want to KNOW how many pics I started with.
You'll see some of my pics over time as my Avatar and I've put a few on my Sparkpage (check out the monster on my background!). Here are a few more to entertain you:
A couple cuties checking out my hair claw
Several butterflies mistook me for a gargantuan flower
This one gave me a fright
Here's a 'new-born'
And, here's an 'almost-born'
An intricate though drab pattern on the exterior. . .do you see the hint of beautiful color on the interior of the wing?
Catching some rays. . very appropriate here in the Valley of the Sun
So very many lovely lovelies - difficult to select which to share. . .keep an eye on my Sparkpage as I'll be switching out my Butterfly pics.