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Thursday, April 11, 2019 12:11 am

Bees, Butterflies & Blooms

New exhibit April 27-Aug. 5 at Kidzeum of Health and Science

Animatronic butterfly.
Photo courtesy John Espey


Bees, Butterflies & Blooms is a new exhibit at Kidzeum that focuses on the importance of protecting native plants and pollinators. It features an observation beehive, live butterfly enclosure, pollinator garden, video interactives and family-focused educational play spaces.

Kids can see real monarch chrysalises, watch live bees, swing in a chrysalis chair, don a beekeeper’s suit and participate in many interactive activities. Families will learn together what types of plants to grow at home to attract butterflies and bees and have a positive impact on the environment.

A centerpiece of the exhibit is a larger-than-life animatronic monarch butterfly, created by robotics artist John Espey from San Francisco, California. “As a child, science museums with dioramas and animatronic displays were my absolute favorite and had a huge impact on my interest in science and creativity,” said Espey. “I hope these insectoid robots encourage viewers to think differently about their relationship to insects, as well as the incredible biomechanics they employ to survive.” Espey majored in biology and uses this scientific knowledge to inspire his work today. Leah Wilson, executive director of Kidzeum,  is thrilled to include this animatronic butterfly in the exhibit. “It is an extraordinary example of art meeting science,” says Wilson. “This is by far the most realistic animatronic monarch we’ve seen, and kids are going to love making it move and learning how it works.”

Kidzeum developed Bees, Butterflies & Blooms in-house with help from local businesses and sponsorship support from the M.G. Nelson Foundation, Ace Sign Company, Kumon Math and Reading Center, Maldaner’s restaurant and others. Ace Sign Company designed and fabricated a giant tree display and a pollinator garden made from images and printed the text panels.

The exhibit opens 10 a.m. Saturday, April 27, with a preview for members at 9 a.m. After Aug. 5 it will travel to other museums. “We’re so grateful for the ongoing community support that makes it possible to bring exhibits like this to downtown Springfield,” says Wilson.

Kidzeum is at 412 E. Adams Street in downtown Springfield and is open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m. For more information visit kidzeum.org. – Karen Witter


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