BIG BUGS at Franklin Park Conservatory

I will admit that part of this visit was therapy for my daughter, who hates bugs. Like...full-on panic mode if she sees anything resembling an insect. So, this trip could have gone either way. I braced for the worst but hoped for the best. We got a little of each.

Franklin Park is so easy to access from 71, and I think that stretch of Broad Street is getting to be so beautiful!  Parking was a cinch (veer to the left when you come to the Y in the driveway to "Main Entrance".

The Big Bugs art installation is running from May 16-September 27, and it is a must-see. The towering wooden bugs are fun to run underneath and to get frightened little 4 year olds used to the idea that bugs aren't all that bad.

And the bonus today was seeing the "Bug Man" Mark Berman with all of his crazy bugs. He was pretty entertaining and funny, answering questions while cracking a joke. I know I have seen him at birthday parties, the library, and at a preschool. How fun would that be at a birthday party!?

I considered the above scene a win because her little tiptoes mean she wanted to see the bugs!

We went to Blooms and Butterflies last Fall, at the very end of butterfly season. Seeing them in the Spring is quite a different experience. There is a dedicated "Emergence Room" where hundreds of chrysalises and cocoons are hanging and brand new butterflies and moths are emerging all the time. This man was pinning chrysalises and cocoons for a display.

I loved how all of this was at eye-level for the kids to interact with the animals!

Inside the Pacific Island Water Garden (the room to your left when you enter), there are butterflies everywhere.

Things were going well, then we had a little anxiety/meltdown when we saw another child fearful of the butterflies, so we had to come out for a breather. After a snack and a pep-talk from my friend (you rock, Mara!), we were able to go back on with bells on. If your child is afraid of bugs or flying things, just be ready with a reward for making it all the way through without crying.

The fish pond is always a hit, and a good place to stop and rest for a minute. There is a stroller path, by the way.

Outside, there is a gorgeous bonsai garden, guarded by a giant daddy long-legs. But really, we were just interested in the pebbles.
Overall, there are 10 big bugs, and we will need to go back to find the rest. For us, this will be a 2 day trip to see it all. But guess what?  With a teacher discount, a pass is only $40 ($55 for non-teachers). Children under 2 are free, so we will ride that train for another year!  PS- that gets me a discount at Oakland Nursery, BOGO at COSI and the Museum of Art (among others).  And best of all? 10% off at the gift store (which has amaaaazing gifts) and the cafe.

Let's talk food, shall we?  I planned to take the kids someplace in Bexley for lunch, but we just didn't have time before naps. So, we ordered from the cafe and ate in the Atrium. Loved it!  The menu was fresher and more inventive than I expected, and the selection was enough for both the kids and I to enjoy. I picked the chicken salad croissant, which was unique from any I'd had before. The salad was studded with golden raisins and carrots and the mayo seemed to be mixed with pesto. The kids split a generous portion of PB&J that was accompanied by crunchy grapes and a pickle (that their mom stole). On a whim, I got the hummus because I was dazzled by the colorful vegetables on the plate. I wasn't crazy about the actual hummus, but I am by no means a hummus connoisseur. It was lemony with a little kick to it, so if you like that, be ready for a gigantic portion of it!

I would definitely eat at the cafe again when we are in a time crunch. Because Bexley is so unfamiliar to me, I am also excited to pair our future visits with nearby restaurants. Now that we have our membership, we are free to do that as much as we want.

Another awesome visit to FPC in the books...

1 comment:

Nana said...

Oh, these Saturday classes are killing all my time with my fav peeps! Hope you still have fun places to go in July! So glad you had a fun day today. Great pictures:)

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