The beautiful butterfly tee was inspired by a visit to the Butterflies Alive! exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Butterflies Alive! is a unique living ecosystem of over 1,000 butterflies of 30 different varieties. A pavilion established for the exhibit is filled with plants and flowers especially suited for the butterflies with water features and benches nestled among the winding garden pathways.
At the time we visited, I had just acquired my trusty little Lumix Panasonic camera. What an opportunity to learn close-up photography. I think I took 500 photos that day. The butterflies were EVERYWHERE. I had to be careful where I stepped or sat to avoid squashing one.
The intent of the exhibit goes beyond enjoyment – it includes education about these delicate creatures. Butterflies are complex creatures with fascinating facets and features. Butterflies have no bones. Instead, they move by using more than 1,000 muscles.
Butterflies are cold-blooded and can’t fly if their body temperature is less than 86 degrees or if their environment’s temperature falls below 50 degrees. I recall the Pavillion being warm and slightly moist. To enter one goes through two "doorways" to maintain the temperature inside, and to make sure no one leave with a butterfly attached to them.
To say the visit was delightful is an understatement. Being up close and personal with these floating bursts of color put me in touch with my inner kid again – explosive, joyful wonder - is what I would describe how I was feeling.
Butterflies Alive is back in Santa Barabara from June – September 2016, so we’ll be visiting again. I can hardly wait!