Not only is visiting a butterfly garden a beautiful experience, but it can also be an educational one as well. It's something you can do year-round in Rochester at The Strong Museum of Play.

The butterfly garden and other living collections at the museum represent a type of play called “nature play.” This form of play can positively affect people by helping them to slow their pace and relax.

Close your eyes and picture this. The environment resembles a lush rain-forest, with hundreds of different colored free-flying tropical native butterflies fluttering around.

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Sounds beautiful right? That's exactly what you can expect with the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden, and that's not all.

A paved path leads guests through tropical foliage, a turtle pond, and a cascading waterfall. Take a peek at Watson, the garden’s resident panther chameleon, and watch his colorful scales change color as he adapts to the environment. Look closely and you will also notice several four-footed and fine-feathered friends, including Socrates, the garden's brightly plumaged green aracari toucan, and families of Button Quail. Be sure to visit the chrysalis case and see emerging butterflies.

The trip to The Strong Museum of Play isn't a long one from Central New York. It's about two hours from Utica alone, but a trip that will be the host for many memories for children and adults alike. It's a perfect day trip to take as a family.

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The Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden is a tropical environment with temperature, humidity, and surface moisture normally associated with such a setting. It's important to remember that as you visit. It's actually the only year-round indoor butterfly garden in upstate New York.

The garden is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 am to 11:45 am, and 1 pm to 3:45 pm. On Fridays and Saturdays, operating hours are 10 to 11:45, 1 to 3:45, and 5 to 6:45. Due to limited capacity, you can only get into the garden by ticket only. Ages two and older are $21 and children under two are free, but if you're a member of the museum, tickets are just $4.

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