Los Angeles

Flutter, Flutter: Butterfly Pavilion at NHMLA

The popular seasonal treat is back, so gently stick out your hand and keep a watch for wings.

Mario de Lopez/NHMLA

The notion of a pavilion can fill one's head with fluttery thoughts of grand parties and lovely events and other unusual doings that can only truly flourish inside a special building.

It stands to reason then — or flies, rather, than stands — that a kaleidoscope of butterflies moved into their very own, very special pavilion at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles near the middle of March.

It's a new pavilion, too, one that suits its temporary tenants in beauty and natural grandeur. The Butterfly Pavilion, for that's its name, is a warm-weather must-do at the Exposition Park museum, and it is on again, through Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 4).

Tickets to the pavilion o' butterflies are required, and you'll choose your date and time, the better to make sure your experience with the seemingly magical insects is optimal.

Okay, strike that: Butterflies are real, not magical, but the span of sizes, and wing hues, and how they eat and live can seem as though these critters were invented within the pages of some enchanted storybook. Much your visit, though, to the Butterfly Pavilion is learning about the science behind life as a butterfly (and not just oohing/aahing over pretty butterflies).

Some 20 Golden State flyers'll be in the house, or the pavilion, including monarchs and mourning cloaks. Other butterflies, from beyond our borders, will also make colorful cameos (the grey cracker is one such visitor).

As with years gone by, the Butterfly Pavilion is a very see-it-before-your-eyes kind of place. You'll get to watch, if the timing is right, "...how butterflies use their tubular mouth parts to obtain nectar and how caterpillars feed on leaves and go through the process of their transformation into adults."

See what we're saying? Straight from a storybook, but actually real science.

It's the most fluttery of the Southern California spring-starting traditions, admiring the Exposition Park-based butterflies, and we're including the beach kite festivals in that not-too-controversial opinion.

If you dig the flutter, the science, the eye-popping wings, the nectar drinking, and everything to do with these flower-loving breeze riders, make your date with the new pavilion on the south side of the Natural History Museum.

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