Disclosure: My family recently received complimentary tickets from the San Antonio Botanical Garden to experience their exhibit, Amazing Butterflies. I was not asked to photograph or share about our experience. All opinions are my own.
Few things are as magical as butterflies when you’re a kid. The beautiful array of colors on the wings; the way they flit from flower to flower; and especially the way they begin life as a tiny caterpillar to eventually emerge from a cocoon, glorious and ready to take flight.
The San Antonio Botanical Garden’s Amazing Butterfly exhibit aims to demystify the life cycle of the butterfly, explaining in great detail (and through many hands-on activities) how little caterpillar critters turn into these exotic beauties of the sky.
We visited the exhibit this past Saturday, just two weeks after it opened, and while there weren’t crowds of people at 10:30 a.m. we also weren’t the only ones there enjoying the unusual crispness of an October morning.
If you’re looking for live butterflies, you won’t find them here (Check out the San Antonio Zoo’s Butterflies! exhibit for that). Instead, the Botanical Garden exhibit is an educational maze. At several points you must make a choice such as: Should the caterpillar eat his shell or a leaf? Your answer determines the direction you’ll go next. There are also of tidbits of information (Flutter Facts) along your route about caterpillars and butterflies: who their predators are, what they like to eat, their defense mechanisms, and how climate change affects them.
The interactivity is great: kids can get inside a cocoon (great photo opp!); climb a spider’s web to pretend they’re an unfortunate butterfly who’s about to become dinner; move colorful wings to attract other butterflies; float upon a zipline to experience the feeling of flight, and much more.
While the exhibit was great fun and educational, I’d suggest visiting it early in the day. Even with a smaller group of people navigating the maze it began to feel crowded. If you’re traveling with a stroller, you’ll definitely want to go when there are fewer people and you can enjoy having room to move easily.
We loved the Amazing Butterflies exhibit–what kid (or adult) doesn’t love a life-size maze? But what we also loved during our visit was rediscovering the Botanical Garden again. During this year of seemingly unending drought, it’s a lush oasis in the middle of San Antonio. Our kids were dazzled by the colorful and visually striking variety of plant life abundant in every corner of the garden. They ran up hills, skipped across stones that took them across a Japanese-style pond, walked under waterfalls, fed the ducks near a pond, and giggled at the eccentric Art in the Garden sculptures.
Now that the temperatures are cooler (and you can learn lots about butterflies) it’s a great time to get back out to the San Antonio Botanical Garden.
View the full album from our visit to Amazing Butterflies at the San Antonio Botanical Garden.