It’s not every week that I get a Friday off so I wanted to take advantage of having a day that was almost the weekend. As I was going through my notes of “Places to go and things to do” I ran across some discount coupons for Magic Wings in Deerfield Ma. Magic Wings is a Butterfly Conservatory. I’ve been to similar ones before. There’s Butterfly World in Florida, and The Butterfly Place in Westford, Ma. but Magic Wings was a new one.
I met the folks from Magic Wings at the AAA Travel Show. I was impressed by their enthusiasm and was anxious to see how this compared with the places I’d been before.
Magic Wings sounded really nice in the publicity material. It said it features an 8,000 square ft tropical conservatory which is home to nearly 4,000 exotic and domestic butterflies. There is even a restaurant called the “Monarch”.
The only draw back was that it is quite a hike from Taunton to Deerfield. Mapquest puts the distance at just under 130 miles and 2.5 hours. I was planning to spend some time with my friend Nancy and her 2 children but I was concerned that the drive would be too much for the kids who are only 5 & 7 but Nancy said no, they would be fine. So with that assurance I filled the tank with gas ($3.77/ gal.) loaded up the camera and headed off to pick them up for the road trip.
We got on the road a few minutes after 10 AM. The kids did great for such a long drive. As we got farther out toward western Ma. we got into much more rural areas. The kids had a great time looking for cows and goats and horses. Horses were a big hit. They also liked watching for hawks soaring over the highway. If they started to get too restless we sang songs like 3 Blind Mice and Old MacDonald had a farm. We made one stop quick stop for bathroom breaks and leg stretches and then it was back on the Mass Pike. I actually think the kids handled the ride better than us grown ups. By the time we got to Magic Wings we adults were fading fast and wanted lunch. The kids wanted to get right to the butterflies.:)
This was one time when the adults won. The Monarch Restaurant is pretty small and it was almoxt full when we got there. We were seated quickly but I heard the hostess telling other people that there was a 45 minute wait. The service was pretty good as far as taking our food orders and bringing the soft drinks but then it broke down. We didn’t order anything elaborate yet we waited over 45 minutes for our food to be served. The restaurant that was packed when we were seated was empty by the time we got our food.
While we waited Nancy took the kids to the restrooms and came back to report that there was a cafeteria style restaurant where we could have picked up trays and selected our food from warming stations. We might have gotten served faster there but we had already given our orders.
On the plus side the food was good and it was hot when it came. The kids both ate well as did Nancy and I. Nancy and I both had the scallop roll plate. Alex (7 years old) had a grilled cheese and cup of clam chowder. Dawn (5 years old) had a hamburger and a cup of chicken noodle soup. The soups definitely looked homemade! We rounded the meal out with a platter of onion rings. The french fries were a little soggy but the kids didn’t seem to care and made short work of them. Wow this post is starting to sound like a restaurant review:)
By now it was after 2pm and we still hadn’t been able to get started on the Main Event. We took the kids to the restroom one more time before heading into the exhibit. If we never went any further the atrium then the trip was still worth it. Beautifully decorated with banners and butterfly themed articles, even the stone fireplace had a huge butterfly decoration, it was bright and comfortable with tables and even a butterfly bench.
There was a table with information on having weddings in the conservatory and a gift shop. Can you imagine getting married with butterflys all around! What better way to start a marriage.
Off the atrium was a large coat room. The attendant selling the tickets said it was really warm inside and the best bet was to leave our coats. She assured me it would be perfectly safe so that was what we did.
After taking the kid’s pictures on the butterfly bench and getting our hands stamped it was time to enter the inner sanctum.
More on that in my next post!