Today, the kids and I trekked out to Butterfly World, situated somewhere past Kraaifontein and nearby Stellenbosch. We’d been invited by friends we’ve not seen in ages and got to meet a bunch of other homeschooling families we’d not met before. I’d say that’s a win on two fronts. But it turned out to be a win on three fronts because the outing itself ranked up there as one of the best we’ve enjoyed.
One highlight on the relational side of things is that I got to reconnect with Joann L – the last time I saw Joann was 10 years ago when she led our antenatal classes. Craig and I have always had enormous respect for Jo, so I was thrilled to catch up with her today. And, it’s always always good to chat with Karen M. Karen is my sister’s dearest friend. They spent many years together in Israel, raising their families and reaching out for the Lord’s work in their community. Karen and her family are back in South Africa for a season now, which means that I get to see her from time-to-time – Karen is both a wonderful woman and a wonderful link to my sister in Israel.
And then, the outing itself… I’d heard about Butterfly World from various sources, but hadn’t made it out there yet. I couldn’t make the general outing that was arranged via the Homeschool Western Cape Facebook page last year, so, I was thrilled to join this group.
And it was really great! I think one of the highlights for me was Tracy. Tracy did the 45 minute presentation at the beginning of our experience. So often, these sorts of presentations are deathly boring and have even us moms wiggling our seats, anxious to get out and enjoy the displays on our terms. But Tracy managed to get kids ranging from 4 – 15 years totally mesmerised by her presentation. She was funny, intriguing, creative, informative and just a whole lot of fun for the kids to enjoy.
Here is the bunch of us in a rather more serious moment – yet… rapt attention.
Tracy taught us about insects, spiders and various other creepy crawlies that we’d encounter inside the enclosure. She managed to persuade one brave soul to be an insect for her. Katie was game and before she knew it – Katie had morphed into the prettiest cockroach I’ve ever seen!
Here is Cockroach Katie with her six legs, wings and compound eyes!
After Tracy’s awesome presentation, we got to enjoy the close up encounters with … Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches!
Spotted Leopard Gecko – which is far FAR bigger than any gecko I’ve ever encountered!
Thousands of butterfly specimens…
Asher and Tali checking it all out too – to think that this time last month Asher was hanging out in my sister’s kitchen!
Tali has grown so much since we saw her last – she’s such a beautiful girl in so many ways.
This girl (or boy?) is not so beautiful – not by my standards anyway. Tarantula time!
Hmm – this display is much better! It’s amazing how much more colourful the butterflies of the South American jungles are compared to our Southern African butterflies. The butterflies in this picture are all actual specimens. Stunning.
When we walked into the butterfly enclosure, I remembered that we’d been warned that there wouldn’t be too many butterflies due to the season being too warm for their liking. Well, we got thoroughly accosted by butterflies – I can’t imagine how crazy it would be in a more butterfly-friendly season!
Sam loved it, however – can you see the delight on his face?
And he got fully into his recording-role…
The butterflies were really beautiful. I wish I had managed to capture more on camera, but these guys were more interested in flying than posing for pics!
We saw quite a few of these guys around – iguana anyone?
Tropical birds were everywhere…
Totally delighting the kids…
And guinea pigs too – apparently the stillborn baby guinea-pigs are fed to the snakes…
And there were some pretty big snakes there too. These aren’t them, however … I did like that these lizards also got special warming lamps like the giant snakes got…
Oh, look – another Mr Iguana.
These Marmoset monkeys were everywhere. I always marvel at how small their faces are.
And an explanation of why we were all dripping sweat by the time we left …
All in all, we had a really great outing. Had we not had to rush home to make it to our Co-Op meeting in time, we’d have hung out with the rest of the families enjoying a leisurely picnic on the lawns. I’m sure there will be a next time, however, since we so enjoyed the this time.
Thanks Karen for organising a really fun outing!