When you walk into the Butterfly Kaleidoscope at the Indianapolis Zoo it’s like you are walking into a new climate zone (especially if it happens to be 30 degrees that day). We immediately felt like we had walked into the a warm humid rain forest, surrounded by trees, flowers, and of course butterflies. For us this was baby Biscuit’s first taste of warm weather, and he wasn’t complaining.
As we explored the Hilbert Conservatory our main goal was to spot the butterflies. Since we were there one of the very first days of the exhibit many of the butterflies were still in their cocoons. We did spot a few butterflies and Biscuit used his newly acquired tracking skills to watch them fly around.
In the center of the exhibit there was a large glass case with hundreds of cocoons. All of the cocoons were at different stages of their metamorphosis, and we were able to watch a few break free of their cocoons. Next to the case are the daily times of when the butterflies will be released into the conservatory. We checked our watch and saw that one was about to take place in 30 minutes.
Since Butterfly Kaleidoscope is included with regular Zoo admission (free for members), we decided to go show Biscuit a few more animals at the zoo while we waited for the butterfly release. I have a personal love for Rocky the Orangutan and couldn’t wait to see his reaction. One thing I love about the Zoo’s orangutan exhibit is how close you can actually get to the animals. Rocky came right up to the glass wall to give us a wave.
We also took a quick trip though the Oceans exhibit. I think Biscuit was pretty impressed with the seals as the flew by right inches from his face. One of the best parts of being a new mom is watching his reaction the first time he sees something new.
We checked our watch and we had just a few minutes to get back to the Hilbert Conservatory for the daily release of the butterflies. This was TOTALLY worth going back for. There was a small crowd around the case and a very passionate zoo keeper who explained everything he was doing as he did it. What shocked me was we were allowed to hold the butterflies right after they were released. The zoo keeper showed us the correct way to hold them, and offered more information about each type of butterfly he was releasing.
During the release the zoo keeper assisted about 5 butterflies out of the case and into the Conservatory. The zoo keeper explained that we are still at the very early point of the butterfly season, and each day they will be able to release more and more. By the time summer hits the zoo keeper said they expect over 1000 butterflies flying around the Hilbert Conservatory.
A trip to the Butterfly Kaleidoscope is a perfect adventure for kids of all ages. For babies its great to be able to look around and take in all the different colors, shapes, and sounds. And for older kids there are so many learning opportunities around each corner of the exhibit. I really can’t say enough about how well informed the butterfly keeper was and much fun he made it to learn about the butterflies!
More Info about Butterfly Kaleidoscope at the Indianapolis Zoo:
Butterfly Kaleidoscope is open now though Sept. 3 at the Indianapolis Zoo. Visitors can enjoy this immersive, awe-inspiring exhibit in the Hilbert Conservatory at White River Gardens. The popular seasonal showcase features thousands of these wonderful winged insects free-flying throughout an indoor tropical forest. Admission to White River Gardens, including the Hilbert Conservatory and Butterfly Kaleidoscope, is free for Zoo members and included with regular Zoo admission. Guests are encouraged to save time and money by planning their visit in advance at IndianapolisZoo.com.
Wendy has been working for Indy’s Child Magazine for the past 7 years and had her first baby last October. Wendy and her husband are adjusting to life with a baby and are always looking for something new they can do as a family.