Inside the observatory at the Frederik Meijer Gardens is about as close to a tropical paradise as West Michigan is ever going to get. It's also one of the best antidotes to the long winter, especially if the butterflies are "in bloom."
From early March through the end of April, the lush Grand Rapids venue lets loose hundreds of colorful butterflies. They flit about in every direction, prompting even the adults to chase them around in wide-eyed wonder with cameras poised for the perfect, elusive encounter.
You can watch them feed on nectar and fruit and even observe some emerging from their chrysalis and unfolding their wings. It's pretty freaking cool.
My kids walked along the paths with fingers perched and hands cupped in the hopes that that a butterfly would choose to land on them. The butterflies were smart and did not.
I have a hard time picking which annual traditions I look forward to the most, but this one is definitely up there. It's incredible. Check it out. And wear a T-shirt (it's hot).