Friday, August 8, 2014

Powell Gardens: Festival of Butterflies Review

Disclosure: We received press tickets to attend this event from Powell Gardens. No other compensation was received an all opinions are 100% my own and honest. 

I recently wrote a post about our summer bucket list and one of the items on it was to visit Powell Gardens. I've lived in Kansas City for 10 years and have never been there so I was excited to go! 

Powell Gardens is Kansas City's botanical gardens located in Kingsville, MO (a short drive from Lee's Summit.) The Gardens are not for profit and have a mission to: be an experience that embraces the Midwest's spirit of place and inspires an appreciation for the importance of plants in our lives. 

If the beautiful gardens aren't enough to entice you, Powell Gardens also has events and classes for the entire family throughout the year. After reading my Bucket List post, Powell Gardens offered me the chance to bring my family to the annual Festival of Butterflies

Powell Gardens' signature festival returns for its 18th year! See hundreds of colorful, free-flying butterflies in the indoor conservatory. Learn more about monarchs and what you can do to protect them and other native species in our two outdoor butterfly breezeways. 

I promised Grace that she'd get to see lots of butterflies and she wasn't disappointed. At the very front, we got the opportunity to go through a breezeway full of Monarchs and she got very excited. As we made our way through the two breezeways and the indoor conservatory, both kids loved pointing out and watching the various colorful butterflies.

To add to the fun, Powell Gardens offers activities to help keep the kids engaged in the experience. There were volunteers and employees in the breezeways and conservatory talking about the various species that were in the gardens. In one of the breezeways, a volunteer showed us a Monarch egg on a flower and in the conservatory, an employee showed us the beautiful Atlas moth in the picture below. He told us about how the moth has snake like markings and Grace was very interested in checking him out!

Before entering the conservatory, a volunteer gave us a sheet with the picture and name of each type of butterfly that we could find. Grace loved trying to match up the butterflies she saw with the pictures on the sheet. This is the perfect activity for a preschooler and we made several trips around the conservatory looking for each type of butterfly. Just a note for parents, strollers are not allowed in the conservatory. They offer a convenient checked stroller parking area. You also will need to check any bags that don't have zippers as the butterflies can stow away in the bag.

As we left the conservatory, another volunteer gave Grace a caterpillar scavenger hunt to complete as we walked through the gardens. My girl was on a mission and she took it very seriously! Each location was marked on a very easy to ready map on the back of the sheet (thank you to whoever did the map!) and each caterpillar stop was marked with a bright flag. She loved running to each location and finding the caterpillar in the bush. We read about each one while I wrote down the name of the species. At the end, she turned in her completed paper and she got to pick out a prize. It made the walk through the gardens so much fun for her.

Connor didn't care much about the hunt, but he loved the plinko game in one of the Monarch breezeways!

I think the kids would have been content to play in the gardens for hours. We passed a fun kids play area that included a sandbox that I hope to take them back to soon. They loved the various animal sculptures throughout the gardens that are part of the Gardens Gone Wild: An Animal Art Adventure special exhibit going on through October 5th. There are several water features throughout the gardens that allow kids to beat the heat. We had to drag Connor away from this small fountain.

It was getting pretty hot and Connor needed a nap so we had to cut our visit shorter than I would have liked. I plan to take the kids back in the fall so that we can spend more time checking out all of the garden areas. Everything was so beautiful!

If you are planning to visit the Butterfly Festival at Powell Gardens this weekend, you can visit between 9 AM- 6 PM today (8/8) through Sunday (8/10). The festival will feature these events:
  • Storytelling featuring "Fancy Nancy," 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily 
  • Caterpillar Float & Costume Parade, 11 a.m. daily
  • The Purpose of a Butterfly: Interactive Art Installation, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
  • Trolley Service, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
  • Children's Activities, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Free activities include a caterpillar hunt, catch-and-release, costume parade and antennae headbands. Fee-based activities include butterfly wings ($3), paint-a-pot ($3) and face painting ($2).
  • Fresh Bites with Barb the Gardener, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday
  • Garden Chef Series cooking demonstrations- Charles d'Ablaing, Executive Chef at Chaz on the Plaza, Sunday, Aug. 10 
The butterfly conservatory will be open to the public until August 14th. To learn more about the Butterfly Festival, check out the event page here.

To plan your trip, visit Powell Garden's website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thank you to Powell Gardens for having us!

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