Today’s high was 11°C so I drove to the Calgary Zoo to see if the butterflies were out. The sun was up at 9:00 am so I put on my wide-brimmed straw hat. The lady who was distributing fliers for the two-day Easter Eggstravaganza couldn’t help but notice my hat, saying I was being “positive” about the weather. I just smiled at her and kept myself mum about my hat and the sun.
The children and their parents gathered at booths for face painting, freebies, stickers, stamps, etc. while I proceeded to the Conservatory, which houses a butterfly garden and a tropical garden. As always, my cold lens got foggy once I got into the warm garden so I walked around before taking pictures, all the while listening to the children yell, “There’s a chocolate tree!” Uh-oh, I thought. They’d be disappointed to see a cacao or cocoa tree. True enough, the children had to accept the fact that there was no tree made of chocolate but a table with sample cocoa beans or powder, milk, and everything else to help educate them how dark and white/milk chocolates are made. After listening to the talk of the representatives of Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, the children got their stamps and ran off to the next booth. By this time, I’d seen everything tropical: banana tree, Bougainvillea, Cardinal’s Guard, Indian clock vine, papaya tree, pitcher plant, sugarcane, etc.
I thought it was timely enough as our next theme in class is Plants, and I can show the children my pictures. I’ll tell them how chocolates are made, how sugarcane is similar to maple syrup and honey as natural sources of sugar, how people in the past could use the broad banana leaves as umbrellas, etc. Above all, I’ll tell them about a Philippine folktale: The Monkey and the Turtle by Dr. Jose Rizal.
Over at the butterfly house, orchids were in bloom and the scent of tiger lilies filled the air. New tropical plants were added such as the angel’s trumpets. There were only a few chrysalises and a few butterflies out owing to the extended winter, so it was a bit disappointing.
Although I did miss the usual sight of peacocks on the loose, I was very impressed with the overall rebound of the Calgary Zoo after last year’s destructive flooding. Hopefully all ice patches and snow mounds will have thawed by next weekend, so the Chilean flamingos can step out of their concrete building and Calgarians can again step into this paradise-like abode