Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bear Mountain Butterfly Sanctuary

On the same day as grandtwins Tori and Brianna and I went to the Crayola Experience (which you can read about in this post if you missed it), we had a wonderful second adventure.

Driving about an hour north from the Crayola place in Easton to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, we arrived at the unassuming Bear Mountain Butterfly Sanctuary.  The website claims this place is FROGS, BUTTERFLIES, AND FUN, and that just about nails it right on the head.

Just to see the delight and wonder on these girls' faces, I knew immediately it had been totally worth the drive and the small entrance fee.

First we entered the frog room.  Ten species of exotic and unique frogs are housed in this room, currently including two Golden Dart Frogs.  The staff seemed to be all excited about those two, as they are thought to be the most poisonous frogs in the world.  However, we were told that in captivity they are not nearly as toxic.

What the girls really wanted to do was find the butterflies, which were in an adjacent large room.  Hundreds of monarchs and a few other varieties were freely flying around in there.  In fact, they were everywhere - on the walls, in the plants, on the floor, and on us!

Brianna and a friend
Tori and her new buddy
There were small foam swabs available for the kids to dip in nectar to feed the butterflies.  At times they were carrying around several on one swab, along with several others stuck on their colorful skirts.  Perhaps they looked like flowers to the butterflies.

We were ushered after a bit into the program room, where we watched a short, informational movie about the entire life cycle of a monarch butterfly - starting with where and how the eggs are laid, and finishing with a full grown winged butterfly.  

A very knowledgeable young man then gave a comical and educational presentation, highlighting interesting things about butterflies and moths that many of us might not know.  For example, did you know that:

 - The monarch butterfly can lay about 250 eggs per day, one egg at a time.

 - Butterflies use their feet to taste sweet substances.

 - They fly at speeds ranging between 12 and 25 miles per hour.

 - Monarch butterflies store a poison that they had ingested by feeding on the leaves of the milkweed foliage in their larva stage.  These toxins provide a poisonous defense against predators such as lizards, birds, and frogs.

The staff member then "dressed" an audience "volunteer" as a monarch butterfly, adding some of the crucial body parts.

Finally, he showed mounts of some very exotic and beautiful butterflies and moths, and talked about their unique features.  I never realized until his presentation that it is often the moths that are actually the more beautiful of the two.

After the program, which totally held the girls' attentions till the very end, we headed back to the other end of the building for one more brief visit in the butterfly room.

It was a great day of adventures and memory making.  Colorful crayons at the Crayola Adventure, and beautiful butterflies and frogs at the Bear Mountain Butterfly Sanctuary.

How does one end a day like this?  In the gift shop, of course.

Brianna appropriately picked a butterfly net and a bug/butterfly container.

Tori, a stuffed animal.  A musk ox.

Of course.

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