The warm temperature and springtime feel inside the butterfly exhibit in the Museum of Innovation and Science lured dozens of visitors on a grey Sunday afternoon.
While a light snow floated down on the city outside, roughly 200 butterflies floated around the small exhibit while humans warmed up and marveled at their beauty and elegance.
Debbie Johnson of Schenectady said she had heard of the exhibit and was interested in checking it out.
“I had heard that there were a ton of butterflies in here and it sounded interesting,” she said. “It’s a cool juxtaposition because it’s been so cold outside all winter and with the warm temperature and flowers in here it feels like spring.”
The temperature in the butterfly house, populated by monarchs, black swallowtails, painted ladies and red admirals, ranges from 68 to 75 degrees. The museum keeps the exhibit warm to protect the butterflies, who wouldn’t be able to survive in colder temperatures. Bright flowers, trees and bushes fill the exhibit, providing the butterflies with a feeling of their natural habitat.
Johnson described her 9-year-old daughter Lilly as a “butterfly enthusiast” who was looking forward to seeing the exhibit.
“It’s interesting how they all stay in this one little space,” Lilly said.
MiSci Vice President Chris Hunter said this is the third year the museum has offered the butterfly exhibit and he hopes to make it an annual tradition.
“People really seem to like it because it gives them a sense that spring is coming and something they can look forward to,” he said. “We have had great responses from visitors and many say that they will keep coming back as long as we offer it.”
Dan Palumbo of Glenville said for most of his life he abhorred museums, but this cold winter has made him change his mind.
“There hasn’t been anything to do outside,” he said. “I have nothing else to do on the weekends, so I’ve been going to museums all over the Capital Region.
Bruce Chamberlain of Schenectady said he had recently visited a butterfly house in Pennsylvania and he spoke highly of the MiSci exhibit.
“This one is really nice,” he said. “There are a lot of different butterflies and there is a lot going on. Of course it’s always nice that it is so much warmer in here than outside, which always makes a butterfly house that much more attractive.
Jen Steckler of Albany called this winter “annoying and a nuisance” and said she can’t wait until the first warm day.
“I just came here today to remind myself that warm weather does exist and that it won’t be freezing for the rest of my life,” she said. “The butterflies are so beautiful and I can’t wait to see them outside.”