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Butterflies & Blooms
A Paper Kite butterfly. Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.

We avoid most insects for obvious reasons, but if there’s one species we actually adore, it’s the lovely and freewheeling butterfly. 

Tomorrow, the Chicago Botanic Garden opens its new “Butterflies & Blooms” exhibit, an outdoor garden filled with native Illinois species and hundreds of varieties from around the world.

Grab the CBG’s field guide to “Butterflies & Blooms,” then immerse yourself in a 2,800-square-foot fantasy world of the exotic winged beauties (who wouldn’t be enchanted by something called the Emerald Swallowtail?) and the flowering nectar plants they love (equally charming: a flower called the Golden Dewdrop).

Watch as the butterflies begin their woefully short lives (a scant two to three weeks for most species) in the pupa emergence room, then keep your eyes peeled throughout the exhibit; you’ll see an estimated 500 butterflies there on any given visit.

“Butterflies & Blooms” is open through September 3; tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children (parking at the Chicago Botanic Garden is $20 a car).

This summer, it’s one way we’re lifting off.

Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe; 847-835-5440 or chicagobotanic.org

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