Eight-year-old Sarah gets up close and personal with one of the butterflies at the High Desert Museum’s exhibit.

I don’t know about you, but I’m craving the tropics right about now. Unfortunately, the likelihood I’ll be jetting off to some exotic locale is about the same as the likelihood I’ll sprout a pair of wings and spend my winter slurping nectar from a tulip.

But for a temporary tropical fix, you don’t need to travel any further than the High Desert Museum’s Butterflies exhibit.

This isn’t a bunch of dead bugs pinned up in frames – it’s hundreds of brilliantly colored live butterflies roaming free in a warm, tropical enclosure. Did I mention warm and tropical?

Visitors can stroll through lush gardens watching butterflies flit about, occasionally landing on guests who smell particularly nice.

“This exhibit is the kind we try to get more of because it’s so interactive,” noted Jim Dawson, Curator of Living Collections. “Obviously, we can’t do this with bobcats.”

That would be cool to watch though.

Seriously, the Butterflies exhibit is amazing. It’s also self-perpetuating, with a room full of cocoons hanging out just waiting to hatch and add to the fun. Between now and the end of the exhibit in February, about 100 different species of butterflies will be introduced.

In addition to watching the butterflies in action, you can learn about migration, what butterflies eat, and how we can protect them and their habitats.

The Butterflies exhibit is going on through February 6 at the High Desert Museum. You can find all the hours and fees right here.

And in case you need a sneak peek, here’s a quick one-minute video of one of these lovely winged creatures nibbling nectar at the High Desert Museum last Friday. Bon appétit!

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