Franklin Park In Spring?

Midweek days off are rare in my world. I took yesterday so that my mother and I could visit the butterflies and flowers up at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus.

It wasn’t the best weather for this visit as the butterflies aren’t as active on cool and cloudy days. It actually snowed part of the time, making me ask more than once if it was really spring. Mother Nature seems a bit confused. All the same, we saw several varieties and enjoyed our visit with these flighty beauties.

You just have to slow down and pay attention because some aren’t easy to spot amongst the foliage. One guy was fortunate to have one land on his shoulder. My mother really wanted one to land on her but we weren’t so lucky this time.

It also wasn’t the best day for viewing the spring flowers outdoors. It was cool, overcast and windy when I ventured outside and tried to force some decent pictures.

All of the images here come from my iPhone because I didn’t take time to sift through the pictures on my digital slr. It has been having issues but I’m still cautiously optimistic that there are some good shots.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this tiptoe through the tulips (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) and walk amongst the butterflies.

The spring flowers run through April and the butterflies through May. Go visit if you can!

Butterfly Magic

Franklin Park Conservatory is a special place at any time of year. However, it will be extra special for the next couple of months as they are hosting their annual Blooms and Butterflies event.

The butterflies inhabit the Pacific Island Water Garden. This is a lovely space any time of year with its water feature and Chihuly sculptures surrounded by towering palms, delicate ferns and other plants that add rich texture..

A sign helps visitors identify the approximate two dozen types of butterflies you might encounter. I was pleased to see about a dozen different varieties as they flitted about hither and fro. It’s always pleasing how energetic they are even though there seems to be no rhyme or reason to their activity.

I walked through the space three times and sought out places to stop for a while and wait for the butterflies to come to me. I saw people just walk through and I suspect they didn’t get to see many. You have to stop and study your surroundings and be patient. Do this and you won’t be disappointed.

I had a near magical experience involving the biggest butterfly I have ever seen. There was a Common Blue Morpho that soared high above us all, never landing and rarely slowing down. These butterflies measure between 4” and 4.8” so they are easy to spot and recognize.

I badly wanted a photo but it just wasn’t happening. Meanwhile, I directed my attention to this lovely gal pictures here.

When I lowered my dslr, that gorgeous blue butterfly was perched on the end of my lens. It seemed that time stood still for those two seconds before it took off again.

There was a guy standing nearby, camera in hand, but so stunned that he didn’t even think to snap a photo. So I have no evidence of the experience but I have a memory of the magical interaction and I will cherish it.

In addition to this butterfly room, they also have what they call a Metamorphosis Lab where you can see the various stages of a butterfly’s lifespan and, if you’re lucky, witness new butterflies emerge.

If you go, make time to enjoy the orchids as well.

This event runs through May 30 and this experience is included in the general admission price. Find more information here. It is worth every penny too. Go, if you can!


There’s something beautiful about imperfection.

Check out this butterfly I met at Scioto Sunflowers Friday night. Look closely. It’s missing about half of one wing.

Yet, the way it flitted from one flower to the next was impressive and graceful. That chunk of missing wing really didn’t slow it down and it was still beautiful.

Here’s one more piece of imperfection from the natural world. This sunflower was just as striking and just as beautiful as all the other sunflowers even though it had a weird shape. In fact, it may be more beautiful because of the flaws.

The petals that appear to be missing are there. It has everything it needs to be a flower. They’re just folded backwards so that you can’t see them from this angle.

I think I liked it better because it was different.

Remember friends, your flaws and imperfections aren’t so bad. In fact they may make you stronger or more interesting and may not be something to fix.

The Sounds Of A Hike

It is not uncommon to meet hikers who are listening to music. Sometimes with earbuds but often playing it out loud for a group to hear.

To each his own but I will never understand the point. The act of walking through the woods is nice but there’s so much more to a hike than that physical act or what you see when you go.

The sounds of the forest are amazing, especially when you’re close to water.

The birds were vocal on Saturday as were the frogs. The wind in the trees had a life of its own too. Walking near the lake shore, I could hear turtles plopping into the water.

But if you’re quiet, you can sneak up on turtles as they sun themselves on fallen trees near the water’s edge.

Stomp through the woods with your music blaring and you’ll miss all this.

Tune into all your senses – the sights, smells and sounds of the woods – and you’ll start to notice the small details like delicate wildflowers and butterflies, nesting geese and the occasional woodpecker overheard.

Do this and it’s no longer just a walk, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

Butterfly Ridge Conservation Center


One of the best kept secrets in the Hocking Hills is Butterfly Ridge Butterfly Conservation Center. This 21-acre property has been in the owner’s family since just after the Civil War and is basically a series of woodland and flower gardens designed as habitat for native butterflies. It is fabulous.

For just five dollars, you can either go it alone or take one of the two guided hikes offered each day at one and three. If you’re like me and just want to wander around, fifty cents will buy you a booklet that helps you out along the way.

The one mile trail guides you through wetland, woods and on top of a ridge to a prairie area. It is designed as a loop so you can bail out after a mile and get back to your car quickly. Personally, I think you’ll shortchange yourself doing that. I saw some interesting things on the way back that I either missed or couldn’t see coming from the other direction.


im_editedProfessionally done signs identify plants and trees, help you stay on trail and tell some relevant stories about the farm, the pollinators and their habitat.

It’s July so most of the flowers are spent for the year but those remaining are prolific and attract a number of butterflies and other pollinators. I saw tons of butterflies and bees as well as a few dragon flies, lots of birds, chipmunks, squirrels and a couple of deer.

The folks here are doing their part to help the environment in other ways besides looking after butterflies. The facility is solar powered and they harvest rain water. In all, it is well done and I would recommend you go visit.

Oh! And the best part? A tree house in a hundred year old Black Oak tree! Climb the steps and sit a spell, taking in the cool breeze and view. You’ll thank me later.

I plan to go back next year to see the spring wildflowers. They have a spur off the main trail that features a number of native spring wildflowers. I’ll probably aim for doing a guided tour next time but, for today, was happy going it alone with my camera and booklet. I had already been out hiking and was hoping to catch Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and didn’t want to wait for the tour.

Interested? Check out their website or follow them on Facebook!