The Butterfly Dome

Everything everywhere is absolutely amazing.

This is one of the greatest things about children and being around children: just about everything they see they find to be completely awesome. Besides the fact that this makes for a highly entertaining atmosphere, it also means that, as a parent, the pressure’s off. I don’t have to come up with fancy, far away, complicated, highfalutin’, expensive activities and outings, because the simple, natural things all around us are quite exciting enough.

Have you considered a butterfly lately? From fuzzy, grounded worm to graceful, flying  propagator of flowers? That’s kind of ridiculous, when you think about it. And to young children, one butterfly flitting around their heads is a sight to behold, so twenty might as well be two hundred!

This is why I love the Butterfly Dome, found in the Insectarium at the Saint Louis Zoo. It’s free, it’s close, and it has butterflies. My three- and four-year-olds could have stayed in the little Butterfly Dome for an hour, consulting their laminated picture guide to match up the butterflies they were seeing flying around with the butterfly pictures and names on the sheet. My 18-month-old was appropriately awed as well. Their favorites were these black and white butterflies because they drifted about rather slowly and were happy to land quite near us.

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Granted, the Butterfly House in Chesterfield is bigger and has more butterfly species, but it’s a bit of a drive for us and admission for our family would be $20. With preschool kids, bigger doesn’t always mean better, so we’ll happily sneak a peek at the Butterfly Dome (free) in the Insectarium (free) anytime we pop into the Zoo (free).

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