We took Elora to the Schmetterlinghaus (Butterfly House), a greenhouse filled with butterflies behind the Hofburg Imperial Palace. The Vienna royalty must have had a fondness for animals, as the palace Schoenbrunn has the world's oldest zoo.
Elora was really excited to go, and we just read her "Fancy Nancy" book her Nana gave her the night before about Butterflies that speak French. Elora was talking all night and all the next morning about standing still and whispering "Bonjour" to the butterflies.
The butterflies inside were huge. Like fist size. You only saw a few at first, but once you stood still and look around there were a lot of really large beautiful butterflies. This one, although it looks brown and drab, has shimmering blue on the backside of its wings.
Oliver really liked watching the butterflies, but he's giggling like crazy in this picture because he was getting to sit in all the plants as we tried to get him close enough to the big butterfly for a picture.
Elora loved the Schmetterlinghaus and was running around from the start. If it looks like she's flapping her wings like a butterfly, she's not. She was trying to catch the butterfly a moment earlier and the butterfly took off, so she's throwing her arms back in shock!
If you sat still, you could see plenty of butterflies just hanging out on the branches. It was a little sad because the ones that were sitting very still were actually about to die. Some of them were even posing perfectly like this one above, but were already dead. Elora tried to touch it and some Wiener lady scolded her. Then we later saw this same lady swatting leaves the butterflies were sitting on trying to make them fly. Quelle Nerve!
Here's Elora again. This butterfly sat still for Elora, even though it was quite lively. It kept flying away and then coming back again for more torment.
Inside the Schmetterlinghaus there is a huge rain forest like tree with a staircase carved out inside of it that connected to a bridge that crossed the tops of the trees into a cave. Elora really liked running back and forth across it. After the first half hour or so, a school field trip showed up and really crowded the place. Elora liked watching all the other kids, but she never shouted weird German phrases at them...pity.
In the gift shop we let Elora pick out a little hand painted butterfly ring for 1.5 Euro as well as a life size "Azure Butterfly" (Fancy Nancy book) for 1 Euro. Good deal!
There's actually a "3d tour" if you click here: http://www.360rvr.com/Schmetterlinghaus-English/Virtual-Tour/788.aspx
You can walk around inside the butterfly house and look around in a bunch of panoramic pictures.