Flutterby Day

When I saw the ad for "Butterflies Alive" at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, I knew we had to go. We've been to something similar in Colorado with Rachel and Addy, and the colors and shapes of the flutterbys are amazing.Friday we picked up Naia, bedecked in pink scarves and purple iPod, and headed out. It's been awhile since Dick and I have been here, but some things don't change - like the gigantic blue whale skeleton in front of the museum, the same one that fascinated our kids when they were little. Naia had never been here before so it was fun seeing things fresh through her eyes. We spent some time in the butterfly enclosure - with Naia acting 'scared' of the butterflies - and me taking photo after photo (of course) until my camera battery died - then we wandered through the other exhibits and nature areas. I was afraid Naia would get bored and want to leave quickly, but she was interested in most of the exhibits and led the way into building after building, chattering about whatever caught her attention. On the way home, we decided to stop at the Ty Warner Sea Center on the Santa Barbara Pier. Great decision. Dick and I had never been here before, although Naia had. It's very hands-on and kid-oriented. Naia (and I!) got to touch a sand shark and the college-age docent took a lot of time showing Naia the shark fetal sacs (backlit so you could see the moving fetus) and tiny, newborn babies. She also got to use tweezers to dig through a bucket of 'goo' freshly pulled from the ocean floor, finding a small crab, shells and other goodies. With their crawl-through underwater tunnel, life-size models of sea creatures hanging from the ceiling and do-it-yourself puppet show, this is a great place for kids. We'll definitely be going back.