A Hidden Treasure
You don’t have to look long on this blog to find a mention of the Strong Museum. For families, the National Museum of Play is an invaluable resource where kids can learn, explore, challenge themselves, and have good old-fashioned fun. And thanks to playable game exhibits, adults-only happy hours, and the spectacular annual Play Ball gala, the Strong can be as much fun for grown-ups as it is for little ones. This post, however, is meant to highlight just one aspect of the Strong Museum that many folks tend to pass by.
An Oasis in Winter
The Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden isn’t included in museum admission. Even card-holding museum members must pay a few extra dollars to access the garden on each visit. But in the winter, when there’s snow on the ground and wind-chills fall below zero, this rain-forest environment provides a refuge from even the most brutal winter storms (or lake-effect blizzards). With the temperature, humidity, and surface moisture of a tropical rainforest, the garden alone can merit a visit to the Strong for anyone suffering a case of the winter blues.
Fabulous Flora & Fauna
In addition to the balmy climate and hundreds of brilliant butterflies, the garden features tropical foliage, a turtle pond, and a cascading waterfall. Watson the panther chameleon, Socrates the toucan, and families of Button Quail ensure that guests don’t get too lonely. Curious visitors can look through the emergence case and see butterflies hatching out of chrysalises and preparing to take flight. Throughout the garden, they can be seen landing on epiphytes, orchids, and water plants. Of course, helpful museum staff members are always on hand to answer questions and make sure that both guests and the animal inhabitants mingle safely.
Reap the Benefits!
Shockingly, Dancing Wings is the only year-round indoor butterfly garden in upstate New York, and Rochester is incredibly fortunate to have it. When you’re in need of a foul-weather pick-me-up, make your way to Manhattan Square and give yourself enough time to linger in the tropical garden and explore all the wonders on display at the Strong. After all, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.”