At the Coastal Discovery Museum in Hilton Head you can see delicate butterflies undergo an incredible metamorphosis from caterpillar to chrysalis to adulthood. About six native species are currently displayed, all grown within the habitat: Monarch, Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Longwing, Black Swallowtail, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Cloudless Sulphur.
The Karen Wertheimer Butterfly Habitat is open Monday to Saturday from 9AM to 4:30PM and Sunday from 11AM to 3PM. Admission is Free although donations are always welcome.
Butterfly Exhibit Highlights
• Enjoy exciting butterfly trivia. Did you know that Zebra Longwing males mate with females while still in chrysalis and then deposit chemicals on their abdomen to repel other males?
• Learn about the butterflies amazing survival tactics:
- Stay Out! Some butterflies feature bright colors wings to advertise their toxicity to predators. Others will just mimic those known to be toxic. For example the Viceroy mimics the Monarch.
- The Buckeye displays owl-like eyes patterns to scare off smaller birds.
- Many species will blend in the environment, for example the Cloudless Sulphur resembles a leaf.
• See up close the masterpiece anatomy of the butterfly. For example with their Compound Eyes made of thousands of hexagonal lenses butterflies can see in up, down, left, right, front and back all at once!
The Wings are made of membranes supported by rigid veins and are covered with thousands of tiny scales overlapping in rows like shingles on rooftops. Wings are used for flight, thermoregulation, sex recognition, mimicry and camouflage.
The straw like Proboscis is used to drink the food and break up fruit. Some butterflies can drink fluids from tree sap, rotting fruit, bird droppings and even animal carcasses!
• Build your own butterfly garden. The exhibit has excellent information and signs next to host and nectar plants that each butterfly specie favors.
Guided tours are available through September on Mondays at 10AM and Wednesdays at 3PM ($10 adults and $5 children 4-12). Call (843) 689-6767 for more details or to make reservations.
Make sure to visit the state of the art indoor exhibits about the tumultuous Lowcountry history, the Gullah traditions and how life was like at the Honey Horn plantation. Take the kids on the easy-going boardwalk tour over scenic Jarvis Creek learn first hand the amazing creatures living in the salt marshes.
Here is a list with other fun things to do with the kids while vacationing in Hilton Head.
Life is beautiful at the Coastal Discovery Museum!
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Filed Under: Beaufort, Children Museums, Coastal Discovery Museum, Free Things to Do, Fun Carolina Outdoor Recreation, Hilton Head, Hilton Head - Savannah, Historic Carolina Sites, Museums, Walking and Jogging
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