School may be out, but here at Two Dog Outdoors the learning never stops. When the temperature climbs too high to remain outdoors, we take the science education indoors. This usually involves insects in jars, but for one month during the summer the kids and I get to experience butterflies without an enclosure.
Roper Mountain Science Center is a local gem here in Greenville, SC and holds a special place in my heart. I can remember attending “animal camp” during the summers of my elementary school career and volunteering here during high school to pass my knowledge of local wildlife on to other young kids.
The Science Center is a nonprofit organization partially funded by the school board and partially by private corporations. During the school year they open their doors to the public on the second Saturday of each month, but usually host free programs for Greenville County Schools at one of their three main buildings. During the summer, the center is open for a variety of one week camps and for one month they host a butterfly adventure.
Imagine a 10 by 20 foot butterfly net with hundreds of butterflies and flowers inside and that gives you a taste of the butterfly adventure. Before we walked into the room that is draped in nets, the workers hand the kids cotton swabs that have been dipped in nectar (Gatorade) and we proceed through the net to see butterflies on the ceiling, walls, and flowers.
Since this is a well attended event, each group of twenty had about 15 minutes to enjoy around 10 different varieties of butterfly and entice them to land on the nectar wand. When the time is up, our group turned in our wands, were checked for butterflies on our backs hitching rides, and ushered into a classroom to learn about these insects up close. The kids were able to learn about life cycles, crysalis, and predators up close and hands on.
In addition to insect education, the science center also has a sea life room, physical science exhibits, and a living history farm. Today, the favorite activity was petting Spot the box turtle and seeing which paper butterfly stayed in the vertical wind tunnel the longest.
Educating kids in the summer can be a challenge, but thanks to the educators at Roper Mountain Science Center, the kids at Two Dog Outdoors were able to get their hands dirty without stepping outdoors.
Check out the Butterflies before they fly away July 12th!