Butterflies, Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

It was an unusual overcast morning, with cooler temperatures than we have become accustomed to in southern California. We didn’t realise, until we arrived at our destination, that this would work in our favour.

We’d planned to meet up with a friend and her sons at the butterfly exhibition at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. In the photograph below two of my daughters, along with my friend’s oldest son (on the right), demonstrate metamorphosis!

My four and eight year old daughters, with their four year old friend.

It was the final week  of the summer long exhibition and I’d only been once before – on a typically hot, sunny day. On that first visit the butterflies flew around my young daughter and I with such vitality, that she was almost a little nervous. I had to be quick to capture a photograph as they flitted from one flower to the next.

Butterflies in the sunshine

On this occasion, with the cooler, overcast morning, the butterflies were almost sleepy. They rested beautifully on the surrounding flowers; perfectly showing off their array of colours for us to quietly enjoy.


This time around I’d brought my eight year old daughter along too and she was quite captivated.

A friend

My friend has two lovely boys, one is the same age as my youngest, four, and the other is an active one year old. The youngest was absolutely adorable to watch in his enthusiasm for pointing at the butterflies (but hard work for his dear Mum, as she had to watch his ever move to ensure he didn’t climb over flower beds to reach out and touch one!).

My friend's sons with my middle daughter

I adored watching the children as much as the butterflies!

My eight year old with my friend's one year old son

Whilst at the museum we also enjoyed the delightful ‘Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Home Sweet Home‘ exhibition, specifically designed with children in mind. My two younger daughters enjoyed getting into some role play, catching fish, making pretend camp-fires and animal puppet shows.


They even caught a few 😉


Along with my friend’s sons they also explored the water cycle, with a lovely ‘musical exhibition’ that involved balls being wound upwards (to illustrate evaporation), before coming down a drain pipe, via some wind chimes and striking a cymbal, and landing in the garden! Quite ingenious (and noisy!).

Water cycle

My youngest enjoyed pretending to plant some tree saplings too (a lot less dirty than real hands on gardening). I’m looking forward to getting her home to our garden in New Zealand in three weeks time to try out some real gardening (it’ll be spring planting season!).

Planting sapplings

A lovely visit and a special time shared with good friends who we shall be sad to say farewell to in a few weeks time when we return to New Zealand (but thankfully they too will return to New Zealand – just a year or so later than us).

Linking up this post with the wonderful…

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall