One of our favorite places to spend the day is Irvine Nature Center here in Owings Mills, MD. We have been looking forward to the opening of the new Butterfly Room this summer. It’s a small screened-in room just to the right of the front entrance.
The exhibit features butterfly-friendly plants, caterpillars, a small stand for chrysalis to hang, and of course butterflies!
It’s one thing to read a book or watch video about butterfly metamorphosis, but it’s another to actually let the see how it happens. My little ones really enjoyed the experience and my son asked a lot of questions. We learned that depending on the species of butterfly, the caterpillar will look different. We got to see them munching on leaves while the butterflies sipped on nectar from the blooms.
My son was fascinated by the chrysalis just waiting to produce a new butterfly. There were a couple who had just emerged and we could see how they were unable to fly until their wings dried out.
Of course we went inside the main hall to look at all the interactive exhibits, animals, and play in the newly redone Children’s Room.
The Children’s Room has been spruced up with new decor and new toys. My kids were so excited to discover all the new things in the cheerful room.
Out back is the Outdoor Classroom. It serves as playground/classroom for the Preschool and Camps, but is usually open most of the day for anyone to run, climb, dig and explore. There are also many butterfly bushes along the fence.
We had a great time discovering all the new things at Irvine and will keep checking on the growing butterfly population. In mid-September, they are hosting a Monarch Watch program that we will try to attend. I’m hoping to coincide the event with a unit about butterflies, metamorphosis and migration.
Irvine is free and open to the public thanks to the support of donors and members. While you don’t have to be a member to enter, there are certain benefits to membership like discounts on classes and events. The Outdoor Classroom is meant to be used by members only.
There are also plenty of trails for hiking and a few exhibits along the way. We love taking adventures on the trails, but these days it’s little too much exertion for me!
What do you enjoy at Irvine or your local nature center?