Our last full day with Bryan's family in town, we jammed two big adventures in; the first being Butterfly World. The first time I went to Butterfly World a year ago, when my parents were in town visiting, we couldn't help but think of sweet Mara; her symbol being the butterfly. It was so beautiful and brought so much peace to my heart that I ended up getting a membership. I've since brought several of my friends to visit and Daxton often talks about the colorful butterflies. I knew Heather and Bryan would also love it there, so we made sure to plan for an early start and arrived right as it opened.
Before entering the Butterfly Aviary we looked through the research center and were able to watch several caterpillars hatch from their chrysalis. It was pretty cool to see the process up close.
I wish I could put into words what it was like entering the butterfly aviary. The pictures do not do it justice. Heather said that when she thinks about being reunited with her Mara in heaven she imagines it like when we walked into the aviary, covered with hundreds of beautiful butterflies and Mara running into her arms. It was such a special feeling knowing she was so close.
Like I mentioned before, I've been to Butterfly World several times, but NEVER have I seen so many butterflies. They were flying everywhere, landing on the kids without being afraid. I had to be very careful with the stroller to not run over any of them since they would often land right in the pathway. If you look closely at the picture below on the left you can see several bright blue butterflies zipping through the air.
It was a perfect day to go since no one was there. We were able to stay in the aviary as long as we wanted. The kids had so much fun trying to get butterflies to land on them. They were all so gentle with them, even Daxton was soft!
Natalie holding one of the butterflies that landed on her.
Sadie had so much fun pointing out all the butterflies to Daxton and Daxton had so much fun simply following Sadie around everywhere. They were like two little peas in a pod.
There are several benches throughout the aviary donated and dedicated to loved ones, but my favorite one we call the "Mara bench." It says, "They are dancing with the butterflies, Fluttering and free for Eternity." I have no doubt that she is dancing in heaven.
It was so hard to capture the butterflies with their quick movement, but I was able to snap a few while they were resting or eating.
Several would congregate around the ripening plantains.
Looking for more butterflies...
Sadie actually had several land on her and was able to hold a few different ones throughout the morning. She was pretty excited!
By far the sweetest most touching moment happened while Bryan was walking through the aviary. He looked down while wearing his Mara tshirt and noticed a beautiful butterfly had landed on him. When he stepped into the sun the wings shined deep Mara purple. I can't think of a better way for Mara to let her daddy know that she was with him! The beautiful butterfly stayed on Bryan's shirt for several minutes and then fluttered away.
The kids had so much fun exploring all the different paths and looking for hidden butterflies within the flowers. They also enjoyed giving Daxton big hugs!
Trying to get a nice picture with this crazy toddler is next to impossible. In the pictures below he was acting like a Lion...
I was amazed at all the new colors and designs on some of the butterflies we found.
Daxton LOVES his auntie Heather!
After the butterfly aviary, we wandered through the different exotic gardens. There are so many gorgeous and unique passion flowers and hanging chandelier flowers.
Daxton's favorite place has always been the suspension bridge leading to the different bird aviaries. He loves to run back and forth and get the bridge really swinging.
Our last stop was to feed the Lorikeets. Each of the kids were able to take turns feeding the birds. They held a small container filled with a fruit smoothie which the Lorikeets LOVE. Within seconds they were covered in birds!
Max feeds the Lorikeets
Sadie's turn...I especially loved when one landed on her head!
Katrina's turn...one climbed in her ponytail and on her shoulder.
Natalie loved when one started to climb up her arm to her neck!
Daxton hasn't gotten the nerve to hold the birds on his own, but he loved talking to them while they were climbing on mommy. He even waved hello to them and started jabbering like a bird.
Bryan and Heather's turns...
It truly was a perfect morning. We loved interacting with the birds and exploring the tropical gardens, but everyone's favorite were all the gorgeous butterflies. We loved having a piece of sweet Mara with us on our adventures.