Snow is on the ground, and more is in the forecast, but miSci has relief planned for those opposed to the cold.
Butterflies, an exhibit of hundreds of native butterflies fluttering about in an indoor butterfly house, opened, Feb. 14 at the Museum of Innovation and Science. Opening Day activities include planetarium shows, electricity and pocket tech demos, and science game show challenges in the Science Zone.
“It’s a perfect time of year for us,” said miSci President Mac Sudduth. “It really lifts your spirits. It’s really a good exhibit for people of all ages. It’s good for families with kids. We have senior citizen who come in to enjoy it. If you compare to being inside a lush garden space with lots of monarchs flying around to snow… unless you like to ski.”
Visitors can escape winter’s chill and discover hundreds of brilliantly colored native butterflies kept within an indoor butterfly house. The butterfly house, resembling a greenhouse in relative size the Iroquois Long House in the New York State Museum, will be populated by Monarchs, Black Swallowtails, Buckeyes, Painted Ladies, Tiger Swallowtails and Spicebush Swallowtails. Visitors can witness the entire lifecycle of native butterflies – from eggs, the caterpillars, chrysalis, and ultimately, the butterfly.
The backdrop of the exhibit is a re-creation of the butterflies’ natural, outdoor habitat with plants and flowers the butterflies need for food, all tended by master gardeners from Cornell Cooperative Extension.
The habitat is built by miSci Vice President Chris Hunter. “He’s a Jack-of-all-trades,” said Susan Whitaker, vice president of communications for the museum. Whitaker said that once the idea was first shared amongst the team three years ago, Hunter was able to run with the project. His nephew had a prior interest in butterflies, and the two had visited butterfly houses across the region. “He’s a quick study,” said Whitaker. And, the exhibit has been a success each year.
“Someday we hope to do an addition to the building that would be a permanent butterfly house, but we’re not quite there yet,” said Sudduth.
Butterflies opened at miSci Feb.14 and will run through April 19. It is sponsored in part by The Kelly Adirondack Center at Union College, Solar City, and Freihofers.
miSci is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday and 12:00 to 5:00 pm Sunday. miSci is closed Easter Sunday, April 5.
miSci is located at 15 Nott Terrace Heights in Schenectady. Admission is: Children (3-12) $6.50; Seniors (65+) $8; Adults $9.50. Add $5 for a planetarium show. General admission includes admission to all exhibits including Butterflies and Notion of Motion, demos and Science Zone activities.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.