By Bonnie Neely
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the busy city of Greenville, South Carolina, take time to seek refuge in the beauty of nature, right in the city: the Rain Forest at Roper Mountain Science Center. Bring your picnic to enjoy on the several picnic tables throughout the beautiful, cool, serene walkways and trails all around the grounds and through the Rain Forest. In July each year you will find the wonderful Butterfly Adventure featured in which butterflies will actually lite on you, especially if you wear bright colors or floral print.
The Science Center itself offers so much year round, so you and many school groups will enjoy visiting it often. So many aspects of nature are featured, and you can spend a lot of time in each room to learn the life details of many species from land and water to air.
Watch the faces of children of any age, 4 – 99, and enjoy the wonderment as each person discovers new things in nature. Our forebears lived more closely to nature and learned how to appreciate so much that we have forgotten in our urban lives.
During the Butterfly Adventure we got so close to the little flying miracles that the employees had a checkpoint to scrutinize our clothing as we left to make sure the butterflies which landed on us had not remained. We also had to be careful as we walked around this fluttery enclosed environment with hundreds of colorful wings moving all around us so that we didn’t step on one that had perched in our pathway.
The large groups of children are well organized during this special summer event, and their entrance times are staggered so no one is overcrowded and the little butterflies are not intimidated. I was a senior alone and had fun watching the children and adults as they waved the magic wands of nectar each person is given upon entrance to lure and feed the beautiful winged creatures. But no one is allowed to touch the butterfly manually when it lights. But watching up close how it sucks the nectar is so fascinating.
School groups go throughout the year to augment their science lessons, and individuals can come anytime also. Especially fascinating are the weekly Friday night Starry Nights programs in the Hooper Planetarium and Daniel Obseratory. The program changes throughout the year, so you can go regularly to enjoy and learn.