Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 268/365 Best Job in DC

Especially on a windy 33 degree afternoon in December.

Today's happy trail adventure led to the Live Butterfly Habitat on the second floor, just ouside Africa and above The Elephant in the rotunda.

The entry looks like a sci fi space set, with an air lock that keeps the warmth and humidity inside. We needed timed entry tickets and if you're headed that way, Tuesday's are free.

Butterflies live an average of two weeks, so lots of babies are needed to constantly repopulate the habitat. Each butterly's two weeks are spent in what amounts to butterfly heaven. All the flowers and nectar they could ever want, and no predators.

Mist sprays out every few minutes, letting the butterflies float on the moisture and cluster on blossoms.

Humans are told that the butterflies like to land on ledges and the floor. We were told not swat at them, even if they land on heads or bodies (and they did), and before leavinng we had to check ourselves, in case anyone hitched a ride.

My favorite pic...alll golden and glowing...

When this one flies, it exposes the inside of its wings - bright opalescent blue,edged in black...

The volunteers that work here use soft brushes to move the butterfliies away from departing humans. They field questions, guard the chrysallis', and release a daily crop of new butterflies.

Best job in D.C. hands down.


  1. Carole, did you know there is a "butterfly garden" like this at Reimen Gardens in Ames (right by the football stadium)? I'm sure it is not anywhere near as grand as the one you just saw, but it still is wonderful. They have a special window where you can watch the butterflies and moths hatching out, before they take them into the garden area. Laverna Larson volunteers there--isn't that perfect?
    Glad you are having such a great trip. Love, Jeannie

  2. Hey Jeannie - I had no idea. Neat Mrs. Larson is there -haven't seen her in years. Jessie's science museum has plans to build a rooftop butterfly garden, but still looking for funding. Wish we were closer so we could check out tje one in Ames!