Merced County Times Newspaper
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TIMES PHOTOS BY BEVERLY BARELA

Kids celebrate Mother’s Day with butterflies at zoo

Children enjoy butterfly-themed activities at the zoo prior to the release of about two dozen Painted Lady butterflies.
Children enjoy butterfly-themed activities at the zoo prior to the release of about two dozen Painted Lady butterflies.

The Merced Zoological Society hosted its annual butterfly release on Mother’s Day at Applegate Park Zoo in Merced.

Prior to the release, young children enjoyed butterfly-themed activities at the educational building, such as coloring printouts of butterflies.  A new activity the kids loved was creating a butterfly face mask.

Julie Bostdorf, a volunteer at the zoo, provided a demonstration of the life cycle of a butterfly.

She used a tablecloth as a prop and showed how a female butterfly finds a fold in a leaf to lay her eggs.  Then she explained that after seven or eight days, out comes a caterpillar, which eats and eats, and then wraps itself up and becomes a cocoon.  At this point in the demonstration, Bostdorf picked a total of three children from the audience to put on the wings she had purchased at the Dollar Store.  When the child had the wings on his or her shoulders, Bostdorf exclaimed, “After 10 days, out comes a magnificent butterfly!”

The highlight of the event was the release of about two dozen Painted Lady butterflies.  These orange and black creatures are smaller than Monarchs.  They feed on hollyhock and thistles and have a two-week life span.

The butterflies were stored in dry ice in small white packages.

There were not enough packages for each child, so one designated adult per family was handed a package with the precious cargo.

Everyone trooped out to the area in the middle

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