Flight of the Butterflies at The Science Museum and other Butterfly Fun

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Flight of the Butterflies
Now through January 8, 2014; Showtimes.
The Science Museum of Minnesota – Omnitheatre, 120 W. Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, Minnesota 55102

We were so lucky to be able to visit the Science Museum and view the Flight of the Butterflies this weekend.  Although Monarch’s have left our state by now and are on their amazing trek to Mexico, we were inspired to start our own butterfly garden next spring.  We topped off our viewing with a visit to the Butterfly House, where we had a chance to interact and closely observe several types of butterflies.

Preschool Age:

My whole family went on this outing and, while I primarily recommend the movie portion for grade school to adults, if you don’t mind a little (okay, a lot of) squirminess and inability to remain quiet, I believe the preschoolers got something out of the film, too.  If nothing else, it got them excited for the rest of the visit.  My boys (2 & 4) were both lying on the floor watching at one point and neither sat in their chairs for very long.  The people in front of us were very tolerant of my 2-year-old.  However, it seemed to me that my kids were on the more-disruptive side and no one seemed bothered by them.  I was checking.  If you have well behaved preschool children, take them.  If you have more challenging preschool kids, take them, but try to give yourself a buffer between seats.


Again, with the Butterfly House, older children and adults will get more out of it, but the boys really enjoyed it.  I did have to watch the small one closely, I wasn’t certain he wouldn’t step on a butterfly — intentionally.  He didn’t, but it would not have been out of character.  As with most things like this, I spent the time we waited in line going over the rules with them — both the science museums and my own.  I also took them out a little earlier than my husband and daughter.  The 4-year-old was getting a little nervous about all the butterflies landing on him. It is good to note that once you pay admission to the exhibit, you can get stamped to re-enter for the rest of the day.  Had we had the opportunity, he probably would have been less nervous the second time.

IMG_1479As always, the rest of the museum was nicely balanced for a family visit. Even at stations designed for older children and adults, there tend to be activities to engage the younger ones.  If we had a membership, I think I would pick one small area per visit and just give them as much (or as little) time to explore it as they like.  Even the musical steps at the back of the museum would be a fun place to hangout for an extended period.

Grade School Age:

Grade school is a good age for Flight of the Butterflies.  The narrative is engaging, the butterflies are amazing, and sitting still for 45 minutes is easily within the average grade school child’s abilities. We walked out with a lot to discuss and schemes for a butterfly garden to plan. 

Butterfly Tess

I offered my daughter an out at the Butterfly House as she had voiced her discomfort with the thought of butterflies crawling on her when we saw similar exhibits at both the State Fair and the Renaissance Fest, but she chose to go in with us.  I think because she is blond and was wearing bright colors, she had the most butterflies landing on her.  She loved it.  One of the workers gave her a stick of butterfly food and she was able to feed them.  She loved that too.  I was wearing muted colors and had only one butterfly land on me.

IMG_1466This is the first visit to the Science Museum that my 4th Grader can remember.  This museum is perfect for her age group.  She was able to explore independently while we sat with the smaller ones, spending as much or as little time as interested her at the various exhibits.  This is the age where I would most strongly recommend a membership.  There is so much to see

Four Ways to Bring It Home:

  • Start a Butterfly Garden (In the Spring):  The website for Flight of the Butterflies offers detailed instructions for creating your own butterfly garden. Another good place to go for advice specific to Minnesota is the UM Extension Site
  • Learn More About The Butterfly Life Cycle:  The National Wildlife Federation offers a Visual Journey Through the Monarch Life Cycle that includes videos of various stages.  
  • Raise Your Own Butterflies:

    Live Butterfly Garden available at Creative Kidstuff

    I did this one year for my oldest daughter.  She was really too little to appreciate it, and that is probably good.  Neither of my butterflies made it out of the cocoon.  We had gathered the caterpillars at my sisters house and apparently there was a parasite on both of them.  They ate the caterpillar in its cocoon and than came out like some something out of an Alien movie.  It was disgusting and kind of a turn off to trying again for awhile.  No one, including my sister, that I know has ever had this problem, but you can always just order a Live Butterfly Garden, like this one at Creative Kidstuff to avoid the possibility.

    Save Monarch Butterfly Habitat


  • Adopt a Monarch Habitat in Mexico.  This is kind of a cool idea for a no-clutter gift and for the price ($5/10 trees) and could make a great stocking stuffer or gift-exchange gift. Save Monarch Butterfly Habitat is also available through Creative Kidstuff, however 100% of the money goes to GreaterGood.Org to protect the monarch habitat.  Creative Kidstuff keeps none.



Note: Admission to the Live Butterfly House requires an additional fee ($5 per person, $4 for Science Museum members, FREE for children under 4) which may be paid upon entering the exhibit.

Omnitheater + Museum Admission

Child (4-12), Senior (60+)
Omnitheater Only
Child (4-12), Senior (60+)
Museum Admission Only
Child (4-12), Senior (60+)



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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for FamilyFunTwinCities.com.

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.


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