A few weeks ago I visited the zoo with the kids’ school. (Please, if you love me at all, remind me how terrible it is to visit the zoo in a gang. Doorways are impossible, corners cannot be made, and there is a constant state of counting heads. Seriously stressful.) Once we broke up into smaller groups, our mid-sized gang of elementary aged girls decided to spend our precious few free minutes visiting the Butterfly House.
A Butterfly House has to be best of all things girly, right? Bright colors, winged fairy-like creatures, warm temperatures, and sweet smells. Perfect.
And for about two minutes – approximately one-third of the time it takes to walk through the greenhouse-style room – it was perfect. And then it was not.
Then it was hot, sticky, and sickeningly sweet. I looked over at Macy, who was somewhat green, and asked if she was okay. “My tummy feels a little sick.”
“Me, too,” I said.
Once we made it out of the passage room where you have to check yourself in mirrors to make sure no winged hitchhikers are attached to your clothing, we were relieved to feel the cooler air of a Nebraska spring outside. We suddenly felt better. Macy pinked up in the sunshine and wind, even the wind carrying the questionable smells of zoo life.
We love our butterflies, tropical flowers, and mild temperatures, but there was just something wrong about all that good being crammed into a 20×20 greenhouse dome.
In fact, I think we would have appreciated the vibrant blue and purple butterflies we saw in the exhibit even more if they’d flown past us outside the cat complex or the bear canyon. In the Butterfly House we expected them and grew bored by their presence, even as beautiful as they were. In the open air of the otherwise brownish zoo, I think they would have been more useful.