Flight of the Butterflies, the latest IMAX movie screening at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park, is a colorful, magical journey, from Canada and the US down to Mexico with millions of beautiful Monarch butterflies. The film documents the life of Fred Urquhart, a zoology professor and lover of butterflies, which he dedicated to researching the migration of butterflies, alongside his wife, Norah.
In 1940 they began tagging monarch butterflies and then, soon after, founded the first Insect Migration Association, enlisting thousands of volunteers across North America to tag hundreds of thousands of butterflies in order to track their migration route. In 1975, this association ultimately helped Dr. Urquhart determine where millions of butterflies migrated – the remote Transvolcanic Belt of central Mexico.
At points of the film I thought to myself that some of the shots had to contain CGI’d images of the butterflies, because there were just so many of them, and so brilliantly colorful and vivid. But according to the producers, “The hundreds of millions of butterflies featured in the monarch sanctuaries in the film are REAL.”
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I must have said, “Wow, that’s beautiful,” at least ten times under my breath throughout the movie, and I particularly enjoyed watching the close-up camera angles capturing the birth of a caterpillar and the transformation into a chrysalis and ultimately a butterfly. The most I knew about the process was from Eric Carle’s famous “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” book so I kept waiting to see pickles, ice creams cones, and lollipops.
The RH Fleet Science Center is always a big hit with the kids, of any age, and now it’s a must visit while this film is playing. For more information on the film, plus show times and tickets visit the RH Fleet website. The closing date is open-ended for now, but I’d recommend seeing it sooner rather than later, and then go to plant some milkweed in your garden.