About a month or so before Halie's birthday she came to me and said, "I've finally decided what I want for my birthday party. I want a butterfly birthday." I was really surprised. I was fully expecting her to want a horse birthday since she's so horse crazy. I'm not sure what made her want butterflies, but I was happy to go along with it.
When Nana found out about the theme she said, "Oh, I wish I could take her to Butterfly World in West Palm Beach." Well, it didn't work out for us to make a trip down their way, but instead they came up and spent the weekend with us and we went to the Butterfly Rainforest in Gainesville instead. It was at the Florida Museum of Natural History so not only did they have the outdoor rainforest, but they had a huge indoor display of butterfly specimens as well.
They even had cute butterfly benches.
(Notice Halie's butterfly shirt.) : )
We started by checking out the indoor displays first.
This case was my favorite. You can't really see it in the picture, but they were all shiny and iridescent, even the white ones which looked like mother of pearl. They were all so gorgeous!
Of course, Burl's favorites were the green ones. : )
We looked at thousands of butterflies in cases and checked out all the cocoons they had on display. They were real cocoons, some freshly hatched, and one that was moving around getting ready to break out. The museum has a butterfly laboratory where they do they research and actually have a breeding program going on, and they have large windows where you can look in and see it all.
But...after looking at all the "dead" butterflies Halie was dying to get outside into the rainforest and see the "real" ones.
They had a goregous set up with plenty of tropical foliage and little waterfalls everywhere. They even had a few finches flying around chirping and adding to the beautiful sounds.
We saw a wide variety of butterflies, but only a few of them landed long enough to get good pictures of.
One even tagged along on my skirt for awhile.
Halie was really excited to watch them do a butterfly release. Each day at set times they release the new ones that have hatched out of their cocoons. They did a little presentation about them and talked about each one.
A newly released one even landed on her head!
After we finished up in the rainforest we spent the next hour checking out the rest of the museum. It was really nice. The kids loved the display of shark mouths. They couldn't believe how huge they were!
It was fun to spend the afternoon with Nana and Papaw.
(Nana got a picture of her with the kids and also one of me with the kids on her phone, but I didn't.) :(
Sunday morning Nana had the buffet all filled with presents for Halie.
We let her open a few of them before church.
This picture turned out horribly blurry, but she was really excited about this paint by numbers horse picture from Nana. She's already been working on it since then and doing a good job with it.
We threw together these little butterfly cupcakes for dessert after Sunday dinner.
On Tuesday, her actual birthday, we went and picked up her little friend from church, Jessica. She spent the whole day with us, and we started out by going to Blue Springs for a couple of hours of swimming time. We got rained on for a little bit, but that didn't put a damper on our day at all. We just kept on swimming and the kids said, "This is so AWESOME!" : ) After the springs, they spent the rest of the day playing and playing.
It worked out perfectly that Dollar Tree has butterfly decorations right now. For just a few dollars I was able to fix up the dining room to look festive for her birthday dinner (which consisted of biscuits and sausage gravy per her request.) : )
As the centerpiece I used some of the pink tulle that I still have leftover from her 4th birthday and just added some butterfly shaped bracelets down the middle of it (also from the dollar store) and a vase with a little butterfly balloon that she really really wanted.
Jessica's parents joined us for dinner (I guess I didn't get a picture with them), and after dinner it was finally time to open presents!
She got a horse nightgown last year from Meemaw, but it was getting too little on her so I found her this one. It had pink and purple with shimmery ruffles, a pretty horse, and even rainbow colors. She loved it and couldn't wait to put it on that night! She also got a new horse watch that she wanted, and some new dresses for her Barbie dolls.
Barbie stickers and some new books from her friend.
When she told me she wanted a butterfly birthday we got on Pinterest and perused cake ideas. This one was her favorite and I told her I'd do my best to make it for her.
This was my version. : )
When I finished it and showed it to her she gasped and said, "You made it just like the one I wanted!" Well, it doesn't look quite exactly like that one, but I was happy that she held my skills in such high esteem. : )
All in all she had a fun day and she was very pleased with her butterfly birthday.