Wings of Fancy is a walk-through exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, that allows you to be surrounded by hundreds of North American, Costa Rican and Asian butterflies flying freely inside a greenhouse. "Come witness the butterfly life cycle," says their website, "as tiny eggs hatch into crawling, chewing caterpillars, which then encase themselves in jewel-like chrysalides and emerge as sipping, flying adult butterflies." It's a great spot to try your hand at close-up photography, or just to sit and be delighted by the colorful creatures flitting by. You can also learn quite a bit about local butterflies, including the host plants that DC-area caterpillars rely on.
It's best to visit in the morning. Wings of Fancy is in a greenhouse, which is usually ten degrees warmer than the outside temperature, and more humid. The exhibit may close during extreme heat advisories or during emergencies. A telephone hotline (301-962-1453) and the web site are updated frequently in the event of a temporary closure.
Open: Saturday, May 2 through Sunday, September 20, 2009; 10 AM to 4 PM daily.
Admission: $6 adults; $4 ages 3-12. Children 2 and under are admitted free, but strollers are not allowed. Tickets are good for re-entry all day.
Location: Brookside Gardens South Conservatory
1500 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902
The closest Metro station is Glenmont, which is about 1.3 miles away; the C8 bus runs between Glenmont and College Park stations, and stops about a half mile away at Randolph and Heurich. (From there, you'll go south on Heurich and east (left) on Glenallan to the park entrance.
More info: Wings of Fancy
"Butterfly Hotline": 301-962-1453
Brookside Gardens General Information: 301-962-1400