In-Town Tourist: Boys and Butterflies at Franklin Park Conservatory

Franklin Park Conservatory; Columbus, Ohio; red/yellow bloom

Wednesday included a trip to Franklin Park Conservatory with Matt’s school class. I make it a point to do as many field trips and classroom events as possible, knowing my opportunities for peer group inclusion to be a finite resource destined for some dry spells during adolescence. Matt still signs me up for everything, astutely avoiding crafts and cooking in favor of the more suitable (for his mom) games and drama/music activities.


Franklin Park Conservatory/Columbus OH/Chihuly's
The Conservatory was a tranquil respite from our recent unspring-like weather here, making me wonder why I don’t hightail it for the Tropical Rainforest room every February (which is never as diminutive as it presents itself to be on the calendar). We wandered through the Himalayas, the Desert, the Rainforest, Palm House and more -probably enjoying the Pacific Island Water Garden, temporary home to hundreds of butterflies from around the world most of all.

Franklin Park Conservatory/Columbus OH/Chihuly's

Striking glass sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly grow amongst the organic there, mimicking the natural but with a bold artistic twist.

Franklin Park Conservatory; Columbus, Ohio; Pacific Island Water Garden; camouflaged butterly
The kids were alternately thrilled or creeped out by the fluttering insects that landed delicately on their outstretched hands. We happened to be in the room for the daily “birth day” release of new butterflies, and watched the newcomers tentatively take first flight. -Not with the dove-like burst to freedom I’d expected, but rather with measured spurts of confidence slowly expanding to fill a soaring new space.

I wondered how many of those butterflies still felt like caterpillars on the inside…

I guess they’ll figure it out.
Franklin Park Conservatory; Columbus, Ohio; Pacific Island Water Garden; butterfly CU
I’m hoping the same for all the growing third-graders I hung out with yesterday. I told them they looked an awful lot like fourth-graders at the end of our afternoon which made some of them smile. The biggest concern for many of the boys right now is if they’ll have to hold hands with a girl for square dancing at Pioneer Day next week. Which made me smile…They are darn cute little caterpillars now, but the wings are slowly unfurling. And this transformation… I’ve watched it before… it’s a truly lovely thing.

Columbus Couple Travel Tips

16 Comments to In-Town Tourist: Boys and Butterflies at Franklin Park Conservatory

  1. I’ve never made it to the Conservatory, though my children have all had field trips there.

    I loved this line: “… astutely avoiding crafts and cooking in favor of the more suitable (for his mom) games and drama/music activities.”

    When things like that happen you know for a fact they *are* paying attention to us on one level or another.

  2. The Conservatory soundfs a beautiful place to see things they would not normally.

  3. Thanks for the reminder about Blooms & Butterflies! I can’t wait to get down there. I drive right past it nearly every day you’d think it would get my attention. I took some great pictures of the glass sculptures about 3 years ago. They are my favorite.

  4. What a great place! And what a lovely, natural way for the kids to learn about nature. I’m sure they won’t forget what they have seen. So much superior to hours in a classroom being told the same information.

  5. You take the best pictures… They seem to reflect your personality. Vibrant, multi-faceted, yet very tranquil and peaceful. You know I’ll be back!

  6. Land Projects UK

    you had great photos. The butterflies looks so cute. How i wish I could visit that place too. 🙂

  7. todd

    You are very gifted, your writing makes us all feel young again,Thanks heather.

  8. Heather

    You’re right! I still laugh at Hannah’s comment regarding what I had referred to as my sister’s “signature dish”. She lovingly noted that mine was probably a microwave dinner. Ha!

  9. Heather

    The Conservatory has a great variety of botanical specimens. Getting a glimpse of other “worlds” is always valuable. I know that wandering through such places as a kid made me simply long to travel to where the “exotic” grew as a common pleasure.

  10. Heather

    Hi Robin!
    I couldn’t believe how much some of those Chihuly pieces go for! They are exquisite and priced accordingly. Hope you get there; it’s a great antidote for this ridiculous spring we’re having!

  11. Ah yes, butterflies and metamorphosis! Though awkward and uncomfortable at times, those series of processes in which we all go through that take us from being to becoming… such is wonderful life!

    I bet the field trip was beautiful – the kids, as well as the butterflies!

    I’ve never been there, but have been to the Butterfly House on Mackinac Island and could remain at peace there all the day long were it not for the high humidity and sweat dripping off my brow after about an hour or so.

    It sounds lovely, Heather.

  12. Heather

    I was just reading a paragraph Matt wrote about that day. It’s so interesting to see what facts connect and take residence in a brain. He also drew a picture of his “favorite part” and it was of me taking the picture of him holding the butterfly. Made me smile!

  13. Heather

    Flattered on many counts! Thank you!

  14. Heather

    Land Projects UK,
    We were lucky to witness the “first flight” of brand new butterflies. What a difference a day makes! Emerging from complete chrysallis confinement(yikes; generating some claustrophobic thoughts here) into the freedom of flight… pretty remarkable.

  15. Heather

    Thank you Todd; always the encourager! I appreciate that.

  16. Heather

    Hi Kimba,
    Macinac! It’s been a few years, but that island is always a refreshing change of pace!
    I like your phrase “from being to becoming.”

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