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Wednesday, December 19 , 2018, 1:05 am | Fair 46º


Natural History Museum Unveiling Backyard, Butterfly Pavilion Exhibits

Following 12 months of renovations as part of the Museum of Natural History’s $20-million Centennial Project, the transformed Backyard and Nature Club House, and new Sprague Butterfly Pavilion will open to the public on Sept. 22.

The Butterflies Alive! exhibit in the new Butterfly Pavilion runs Saturday, Sept. 22-Sunday, Oct. 14, open daily noon-4 p.m. when the butterflies are most active. The exhibit is free with paid museum admission.

Visitors will walk through a tranquil garden filled with butterfly friendly plants and native landscaping while nearly 1,000 butterflies flutter freely around them.

The exhibit will feature butterflies of varying shapes, sizes and colors including Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Mourning Cloak, and Gulf Fritillary, all species found in Santa Barbara County.

Starting in 2019, the Butterflies Alive! exhibit will be open every summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The new pavilion will be available for event rentals starting in October. Inquiries should be directed to Meridith Moore, [email protected]

Located just beyond the Pavilion, the renovated and ADA-accessible Museum Backyard is a nature play area nestled in the oak woodland along Mission Creek. Starting Sept. 22, it will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and is free with paid museum admission.

Backyard features include:

» Nature Club House: A naturalist-staffed cabin featuring touchable objects and live animal and insect interactions. Also includes an ADA-accessible restroom.
» Boardwalk: A new elevated walkway that winds through forest and creek, making nature accessible to all.
» Bio Builders Zone: Guests can build forts and create inspirational nature art, using natural materials.
» Create Zone: Guests can explore, make mud pies, and get a little messy as they get in touch with the earth.
» Waterway: The new, improved creek in the woods sets the scene for relaxation, exploration, and play for all ages.
» Play Stage: Put on a show, see a live animal, or check out a museum production.
» Excavate a Fossil: Guests can check out paleontologist tools from a naturalist, and help the museum reveal real fossils hidden in the rocks.
» Sensory Garden: Guests can enjoy a sensory experience with local plants.
» Eyes in the Sky Aviary: Home to seven rehabilitated raptors — Max the Great Horned Owl, Ivan the Red-tailed Hawk, Kisa the Peregrine Falcon, Athena the Barn Owl, Puku the Western Screech Owl, and Kachina and Kanati the American Kestrels.

Eyes in the Sky is Santa Barbara Audubon Society’s key wildlife education program featuring birds of prey that can no longer survive in the wild. For more information, visit www.eyesinthesky.org.

The museum Backyard and Nature Club House with elevated boardwalk for increased accessibility opened June 2, as did the updated Mammal Hall, Bird Hall, and Bird Habitat Hall.

— Briana Sapp Tivey for Museum of Natural History.


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