Kids Soar on Wings of Butterflies

June 11, 2009

Suzanne Broughton from the ‘ocmoms’ Orange County Register Moms Blog (with photos) wrote a great article about the St Regis Monarch Beach resort weekly Butterfly Release Ritual.

For the price of the valet parking, the whole family got a very special opportunity to watch the release of Monarch Butterflies from a big jar into the Dana Point, CA sky and the magical experience of each child to have a single butterfly on his/her finger for a while to marvel before it flitted off. Suzanne’s daughter to her “that her heart was beating so fast when they brought out the butterflies, she could hardly breathe.”

You have several opportunities to do this with your family if you are in the Southern California area – St Regis does it every Saturday at 7 p.m. through Sept. 5.

For other free or low-cost activities for families, visit

Missouri Botanical Garden

May 21, 2009

Lots of activities for little ones are on the calendar at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri. Then there’s the Butterfly House in Faust Park, 15193 Olive Blvd. in Chesterfield, EarthWays Center at 3617 Grandel Square – St. Louis, and the Shaw Nature Reserve at Hwy. 100 & I-44 in Gray Summit. Family classes and activities are offered at the Shaw Nature Reserve. The mbgnet is a wonderful, interactive learning and information tool that is a lot of fun to use. Virtual tours are also available!

Kids Active In Nature – Lehigh Gap Nature Center

May 6, 2009

The Audubon Magazine is one of the most beautiful magazines I get. I just read the Citizen Science article in the May-June 2009 Audubon on Whiz Kids by Susan Cosier and photographed by Chip Simmons. Eastern Pennsylvania kids help collect butterflies, moths, bees and flies for real, hands-on scientific research at the >Lehigh Gap Nature Center. Nature is so important for our well-being. Birding is a great way to get kids interested in science and to learn scientific methodology. It is a great article. Now that I’ve teased you, click on this link to get more….

This all folded into another article in the same Audubon magazine on a Guide to Birding Trails (Part 3 of a series). This link sends you to a list of birding guides on the Audubon website. You can probably find a birding trail for your area of the country there.

Quail Botanical Gardens – Chocolate Festival

May 2, 2009

The Quail Botanical Gardens is located in Encinitas, CA, just twenty minutes north of San Diego. There is a special Children’s Garden (The Seeds of Wonder) that opened to the public in April, 2003, as the West Coast’s first interactive children’s garden. Other gardens, covering over 35 acres of exhibits, include rare bamboo groves, desert gardens, a tropical rainforest, California native plants, Mediterranean climate landscapes, the Undersea Succulent Garden, the new Mexican Garden, Landscaping for Fire Safety, a subtropical fruit garden and a Miniature Railroad with a 1920-1930 local Southern California layout.

On Saturday, May 9, there is a Chocolate Festival with children’s activities, chocolate tastings, cooking demonstrations and Mother’s Day gifts.

On Saturday, June 13, from Noon to 4 PM the Public Grand Opening of the Hamilton Children’s Garden will take place. There is no admission fee.

Ongoing Programs from the website:

Ongoing programs complimenting the new children’s garden are rotated periodically. Most are geared toward children ages 18 months through 6 years old, although all ages are welcome. Ongoing programs are free with regular garden admission and pre-registration is not required unless otherwise noted.

Programs for Preschoolers:

2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Tuesday: Tales and Tunes 10:30am – 12 noon
Children and their caregivers participate in stories and songs at 10:30 – 11:00. Play in the garden and pot plants to take home 10am – Noon.

Every Wednesday: Garden Arts and Crafts 10 AM – Noon
Children may participate in a variety of arts and crafts at 10:00 – 11:30. There will also be plant potting and other fun activities.

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Thursdays: Plants, Wings, and Crawly Things 10 AM – Noon
Children will discover the plants and bugs that live in our garden. Preschoolers will participate in special science activities from 10:00 – 11am.

2nd Friday of each Month: Friday Fun! 10 AM – Noon.
Children may pot a plant and play in the garden… Presented in cooperation with the San Diego County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures.

Bug Fair at the Natural History Museum of LA County

April 30, 2009

The 23rd Annual Bug Fair will be held at the Natural History Museum of LA County on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17 from 9:30 am to 5 pm with insect displays, interactive educatioal booths, music, demonstrations and more! The Bug Fair is included with Museum admission.

Bring a spider!!! The Los Angeles Urban Spider Survey enters its seventh year and we once again urge patrons to bring in any spider that they collect. HOWEVER – The Museum appreciates your assistance with the Spider Survey. If you have any concerns about participating, we suggest you DO NOT participate. The Museum cannot be responsible for the treatment of any bites or any illness resulting from the project.

Grandpa Ron and I visited the museum and really enjoyed the rocks and gems and the butterflies!

Another part of the museum…..
Page Museum at La Brea Tar Pits in the midst of downtown LA buildings is one of the world’s most famous fossil spots!

Hortense Miller Garden & Oregon Garden

April 24, 2009

Following up on my interest in her article on Miriam Johnson’s garden, Lori Basheda sent me another story about a special person, Hortense Miller, in Laguna Beach, CA. She started her garden in 1959 and you can take two hour guided tours by reservation for free. Hortense, who passed away at the age of 99, gave the land to the city in 1976.

Austin, Bella and Madison enjoyed looking at the birds, insects and squirrels at the Oregon Garden in Silverton, OR (This is well worth a visit as well – I gave it its own note!!), so maybe kids would do fine here if mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa, would point out creatures of interest while they enjoy looking at all the native plants in the gardens.

Pacific Grove, CA

April 7, 2009

Thousands of Monarch butterflies overwinter in Pacific Grove, California, at the Monarch Grove Sanctuary mainly during November through February. A couple years ago we visited in February and saw so many of them in the eucalyptus trees. I’ll have to find a photo to show you, but there are some good ones on the website linked below. We did see a few fluttering around last weekend, as well, even though it was already April. It is always a special visit.

The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History runs the museum, the Point Pinos Lighthouse, and the Monarch Sanctuary.

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