All Aflutter About Butterflies in Orlando

Today was the BlogOrlando unconference at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. (Orlando). I'm extremely excited about the energy I absorbed, ideas generated and information learned and can't wait to go QKG2.0 - it's about time. But a recap of BlogOrlando is for another time (and so is EPCOT's International Food & Wine Festival. Now that I'm thinking, one is due about Gatlinburg, oy!).

During lunch, we were on our own and I had intentions of wandering to the Morse Museum but being navigationally challenged, I ended up in the opposite direction of where I was suppose to go.

Alas, life's about the journey. I ended up at the Winter Park's Farmers' Market. Sweet fruit, savory quiche and raw mixed nuts ended up on the lunch menu. Yum! The market, which is inside and out, was still hopping at noontime (signs stated it was a morning market).

While wandering the market, I found Nature's Way Butterfly Gardens. Entomologist Lorenzo Zayas (pictured) sells caterpillars in their own little containers, perfect for a desk. They eventually transform into butterflies or moths and children (and adults) can watch the gradual transformation. What a cool gift idea. Definitely much better than sea monkeys.

I spoke to Zayas a bit and he told me he's had an interest in caterpillars and butterflies since he was a kid. He raises the caterpillars and "adopts" them out to others interested in them [Note: adopt is my word, I just can say "sell" when referring to animals of any kind].

If you can't make the farmers' market, check out the Nature's Way Butterfly Gardens Web site, they'll ship! Zayas says most of his requests are within Florida but he's sent them throughout the country.

I was fascinated looking at the little cocoons hanging down, barely, but sturdily, clinging to a thin strip of fabric. They looked like mini David Blains hanging upside down in Central Park but I'm pretty confident that these caterpillars will have a positive outcome.

This is such a quirky, yet beautiful gift. Almost better than a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates. Unless the recipient was creeped out by these sorts of things. But not I [hint, hint].

Added 10/5/08: Be sure to check out my recap of BlogOrlando!


Matthew said…
Seems there are some interesting things in Florida I haven't seen. Maybe when we move back to the states I'll take my wife down there...but it'll have to be in the winter.

And the cocoons are much more entertaining than David Blaine.
Anonymous said…
Last winter Paula would check almost daily on the Blue Morpho cocoons in the butterfly exhibit @ the Old Belize Museum.
Beautiful iridescent blue like the Caribbean they would sit exercising their gorgeous wings while we all enjoyed the show.
jhuber7672 said…
Hey Matthew. You'll have so many cool places to take your wife when you return to the States.

I was definitely disappointed in David Blaine's lack-luster performance.

Keith - did you have photos of butterflies in your online albums? The Belize butterflies sound stunningly beautiful. Think there's a butterfly conservancy near Ft. Lauderdale, I need to look into that.