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Text & photos by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

monarch and milkweedAs you probably know, we’re a bit crazy about butterflies right now.  Butterflies LIVE! is in full swing at the Garden…..and all over Richmond.   Here at the Garden you’ll find native butterflies outside everywhere. We’ve planted  butterfly-attracting plants not just in the Conservatory, but in the Central Garden, the Flagler Garden, the Children’s Garden, the Healing Garden, and just about every else we can think of. If you are like us, and can’t get enough of the butterflies, then you will love this:
drive down Lakeside Avenue a couple miles toward the city you’ll find that the Science Museum of Virginia has hundreds of millions of butterflies right in the IMAX theater! They are showing Flight of the Butterflies now through September 6th.

This is a really special movie and seeing it in the IMAX theater will make it unforgettable. Migrate with hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies across North America as you discover the hideaway of these magnificent creatures – a secret that was unlocked after 40 years of research by Dr. Fred Urquhart. Immerse yourself in this compelling adventure as you find a super generation of butterflies who miraculously travel to a new and remote destination. Experience firsthand the beauty of the migration cycle of butterflies spanning not only thousands of miles but generations.

And like Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, the Science Museum of Virginia has an educational mission.  If you are an educator, or just a parent looking for great things to do with your kids either before or after the movie, be sure to check out the Flight of the Butterflies Educator’s Guide.  It has info on many questions your children’ might ask.   Like, “Why is  a monarch butterfly called a monarch?” and “Do the male and female butterflies look identical?” “What’s a typical day in the life of a monarch butterfly?”  “How can I help the monarchs and plant a butterfly garden?”

Monarchs are a North American treasure that need to be protected. WWF lists them as a “Near Threatened” species.  And as reported in a recent NY Times article co-written by Sweet Briar College professor Lincoln Brower, “Today the winter monarch colonies, which are found west of Mexico City in an area of about 60 miles by 60 miles, are a pitiful remnant of their former splendor. The aggregate area covered by the colonies dwindled from an average of 22 acres between 1994 and 2003 to 12 acres between 2003 and 2012. This year’s area, which was reported on Wednesday, hit a record low of 2.9 acres. ”

If you still aren’t convinced this is a must see film, here’s the trailer:

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