Sunday, October 11, 2009

Friday Fieldtrip Date

I made arrangements to take last Friday off at both of my jobs.

I had a date.

With a much younger guy.

He had been planning it for weeks. The night before he packed us a picnic lunch: PBJ sandwiches, bananas, bottled water, and peanut butter cups.

On Friday I went to work for a couple of hours, then met up with Todd at his classroom. We were on our way to the 2nd grade fieldtrip at The Butterfly Palace.

We started out in a maze of mirrors that was too dark to allow for any pictures. It was very cool, though, and as each group of kids would make their way through it and reappear in the waiting area the other kids all clapped for them.

Then they had a chance to pet a blue-tongued slink. I passed on that opportunity. I prefer critters of the warm-blooded variety.

The next stop was to visit and admire all of the rainforest creepy crawlies they take care of. This is one of those lizards that runs across water. I am not sure if he was smiling at me because he was flirting or because he thought I might make a tasty meal.

Beth would have gone crazy over the frogs. There were fat frogs, skinny frogs, tree frogs, blue frogs. That sounds like a Dr. Seuss book doesn't it? I thought the poisonous blue ones were the prettiest, although I do think "pretty" is subjective in amphibians.

This was a fun picture to take. I loved seeing Todd's reflection in the mirror twice. Half of Todd's class comes to our children's program, so in this room I kept hearing, "Miss Jennifer, look over here!" "Miss Jennifer, I found a (insert critter name here.) Most of the critters have chameleon defenses, so some of them were a lot harder to spot in their habitats than others were.

I really thought the floating frog head photo prop was hilarious, and maybe a bit creepy looking. I wouldn't want to wake up to a giant body-less frog staring at me. But Beth might. I should frame this one for her room.
After the rainforest tour, we donned some cool 3D shades and headed into the theater to see a movie about the life span of a butterfly and a preying mantis. It ended badly for the butterfly. I don't recommend this flick if you like happy endings for your National Geographic specials.

Then we were at last headed into the hermetically sealed butterfly room. I am not kidding about that part. It is illegal for the moths and butterflies to escape, so we had to enter a small anteroom, shut the doors, then open the opposing doors to enter the butterfly room. Fortunately, it doesn't last long enough to really let the claustrophobia kick in.

There are people in this world whose entire job is to raise and care for butterflies. Then they bring packs of school children in and release newly emerged butterflies so the kids can watch them take off for the first time.

This one spread its wings, waited for them to dry off a bit, and then flew right towards me and landed on my hip.

Todd sidled up next to me and managed to coax my new-born friend to ride on his shirtsleeves instead. The outside of this butterfly is that lovely blue, but its inner wings are brown with dots. Those pretty dots are supposed to look like eyes to predators to keep these guys from being preying mantis food.

The whole room was full of beautiful things.

Beautiful butterflies flitting, drinking nectar, and eating bananas. I loved watching that nozzle attachment curl up when this one was done eating. (My ability to identify scientific anatomy confounds astounds you, doesn't it?)
Beautiful birds hopping from limb to limb on the trees.
More beautiful butterflies that looked like they were painted with glow-in-the-dark watercolors.
Beautiful flowers and foliage of all sorts.

Beautiful kids whose faces were lighting up every time a butterfly lit on them.
In my completely unbiased opinion though, this creature, with his big huge brown eyes and comedic personality was the best-looking critter there. My butterfly stayed on his arm the whole time we were exploring.

A lady saw my pitiful attempts to take a photo of Todd and I together, so she snapped this one for us.

These big chairs made wonderful photo props!

Then it was time to head back into the anteroom to leave. To avoid having to send Todd to jail for releasing a butterfly, the lady carefully removed our winged friend from his sleeve.

Then the kids hopped back on their buses to wind their way back to school, and I waved goodbye to my young date and all his buddies before climbing in my car to head back home.

It was an awesome date. Thanks, Todd... let's do that again soon!

1 comment:

annhud said...

that's precious - almost made me cry! And I want to take my granddaughter!