Science Museum of Western Virginia: Part 2

Sorry this took so long, but I have been B-U-S-Y and it’s only getting worse since the end of the year is quickly approaching along with the holiday season. I don’t know about you, but time absolutely flies for me. It seems there is never enough time to do what I want to do and what I have to do enough to get “caught up.” Anyways, I don’t want to harp on that too much. Let’s get back to talking about the Science Museum! As you may know, I visited a few weeks ago and had a fantastic time, and I’ve already shared part of my photos from the excursion, but I’ve got some more to share and this isn’t even all of them yet!

I really liked the butterfly garden…even though it only had native butterflies at the time I went. Now the Museum is licensed to house exotic butterflies and I’m anxious to visit to see those as well. But the native beauties are pretty spectacular to watch. I guess it is cliché, but it is also very true that butterflies do have an amazingly beautiful fragility to them. It delights me to watch them daintily flutter from flower to flower collecting nectar while simultaneously distributing pollen. It amazes me that these delicate creatures can survive strong winds, a variety of predators, and some of them, like monarchs, even manage to migrate as much as 3,000 miles every year! Speaking of monarchs, they’ve got some beauties at the butterfly garden!

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Also a part of the butterfly garden is Virginia’s State Insect, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

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This plaque…

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hangs beside a giant Eastern Tiger Swallowtail sculpture…

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and describes the insect. I had no idea the female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail could come in the yellow form depicted above OR a black morph as well.

Red Admirals…

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And Mourning Cloaks also abound in the garden, among others.

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Another little bit of awesomeness – you can actually see the butterfly pupae! Again, I was with a group, so I was hurried a bit, but when I go back, I’d like to take a bit more time to examine these and see if I can see any of the insects emerging.

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After visiting the butterflies, we made our way to the rooftop gardens…

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The gardens also include a goldfish pond (I loved watching these fish)…

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and stunning views of the city could be seen from a 360º view

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Once we absorbed all the breathtaking scenery (and heat) that we could stand, we moved back inside and headed towards the Living Reef Exhibit. Ok, I was already impressed with this place by this time, but when I found out there was a Living Reef and touch exhibit, I just about lost it. Then I heard an announcement over the loud speaker say there would be a live animal demonstration in 5 minutes at the Living Reef, and I practically ran to get to the exhibit (I didn’t have to go far, I just REALLY REALLY wanted to get there quickly.) A Museum employee (who coincidentally used to volunteer for Mill Mountain Zoo) came out with three boxes containing live animals. She spoke about a crayfish (or as we used to call them, a crawcrab), Eastern Box Turtle, and a corn snake, which I believe she described as a snowflake corn snake.

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Now this is just a type of corn snake or rat snake with a genetic mutation that I believe is similar to albinism, except with a slightly varied mutation. Basically, I believe this mutation can affect the snake’s color AND pattern. There is a Wikipedia article that discusses the various different color morphs, pattern morphs and compound morphs here. The Science Museum also houses other snakes, like the black rat snake…

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And this snake which I believe is a Honduran Milk Snake…

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After the live animal presentation was over, which I thoroughly enjoyed, we meandered on our way to the Living Reef.

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….more about the rest of our experience in another post!

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