Real Richmond Review: Flight of the Butterflies at the Museum

Flight of the Butterflies at the Science Museum of Virginia

Saturday, May 25-Friday, September 6, 2013

Still - Monarchs in the Sky - FOB - SK Films

Photo courtesy of The Science Museum of Virginia.

Do you believe in miracles? Do you need to be reminded of the incredible magic of nature? Are you looking for an uplifting, exhilarating, and majestic view of the world?

Still - Monarch Gathering - FOB - SK Films (1)Then head over to The Science Museum of Virginia where you will get all of this and more! As my 3-year old granddaughter, Lily, and I headed out to see Flight of the Butterflies on Friday, I had no idea how wonderful it would be.

Sure, I know butterflies are beautiful. And I love to watch them flutter around the colorful flowers and greenery of summer. And I even remembered that a scientist had spent much of his life exploring their habits and habitats. But I was not prepared for what else I learned in this film in the awesome IMAX Dome of the Museum.

Settling down in a comfortable seat, Lily was all ready for the show with her popcorn. As the lights were dimmed, she reached for my hand in the darkness, but it wasn’t long before Lily’s eyes were wide with amazement. Hundreds of Monarch butterflies magically filled the theater all around us. She kept reaching out to try and touch them as she quietly ooh’d and ahh’d. Seeing the smile on her face and watching her tiny hands reaching forward for these delicate creatures was worth the visit to the Museum already.

Still - Monarchs in the Sky2 - FOB - SK Films (1)

Photo courtesy of The Science Museum of Virginia.

But that was just the beginning.

As the movie progressed, we found ourselves flying above the earth, sniffing at sweet flower blossoms, and drifting over a lazy summer stream. We soared among the clouds and eventually found solace in a lovely garden filled with flowering shrubs and plants.

Lily’s eyes grew bigger as we witnessed a butterfly developing from egg through caterpillar and pupa to butterfly — thanks to MRI and micro CT scans. The pupa, attached underneath a picnic table in the garden, soon emerged and embarked on a journey of thousands of miles that led to a secret hideaway.

The film brought the journey of Dr. Fred Urquhart and his wife to life. They worked for 40 years to discover the secret hideaway where Monarchs winter high in remote mountain peaks in Mexico, never giving up on their dream of discovery. Their love and dedication to each other and their work was like a love story. Watching the story unfold with hundreds of millions of Monarch butterflies making a seemingly impossible journey across North America was inspiring.

Still - Monarchs - FOB - SK FilmsThese delicate, lovely creatures weighing less than a penny braved rain, storms, dust, heat, humidity, and thousands of miles to make their journey. Flight of the Butterflies is both an epic adventure and a detective story featuring Dr. Urquhart, his wife, and unlikely heroes who share a common strength — determination and a desire to learn more about nature.

Generations Later

It takes several generations for the butterflies to complete the full cycle of what is one of the longest migrations, reaching from Canada to Mexico. We shared their perilous flight as these beautiful creatures miraculously flew to destinations they’d never visited before. It takes two to three generations to make the trip north from Mexico through the United States and into Canada. Once they reached Canada, a super generation was born which flew all the way to Mexico to remote butterfly sanctuaries 10,000 feet high in the mountains.

The entire film was incredible – but the last minutes of the film brought surprises, excitement, and even tears as we watched the unfolding story and the discovery of one very special butterfly among hundreds of millions of butterflies high up in the mountains. A single breath-taking moment for Dr. Urquhart was shared with us that left us feeling overjoyed with the miracles of nature. There is no question that you will be touched and inspired by this moment – and the entire movie!


Lily with her pink butterfly necklace from the Museum’s Gift Shop.

Take time to visit The Science Museum of Virginia to enjoy Flight of the Butterflies. And like Lily, be sure and stop by the gift shop on your way out to pick up a small reminder of these Monarch butterflies and their strength!

After you’ve seen the film, visit real butterflies at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Butterflies LIVE!


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The Science Museum of Virginia




Rhonda is the mother of two adult daughters and a grandmother to five wonderful grandchildren – and our only grandmother on staff. She spent 25 years in corporate healthcare managing prenatal and disease management programs. She is the Content Manager for Richmondmom and contributes her expertise as both a mom and grandmother – while sorting out the many opportunities for our valuable advertisers.

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