I do extensive research before I write, or illustrate a book. If at all possible, I try to do "hands on" research and travel to view things up close. In order to illustrate the Lepidoptera art for Butterfly Counting, written by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Shennen Bersani (me), Charlesbridge 2015, AND my Achoo! Why Pollen Counts character, Zoe Zebra Butterfly, I visited four "butterfly gardens". All four are in Massachusetts: The Franklin Park Zoo Butterfly Landing, Boston, MA The Butterfly Place, Westford, MA Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory and Gardens, South Deerfield, MA Museum of Science Butterfly Garden, Boston, MA All four are similar, but unique. I do not have a favorite! All of them are amazingly peaceful and calming. I will say the two in Boston are smaller spaces, exhibits tucked into their parent organization - the Zoo and the MOS. The other two are larger facilities where you can commune with the gentlest creatures of nature in an enclosed environment. I have visited all four too many times to recall.
The first time I visited The Butterfly Place I went with my good friend, and fellow artist, Donna Berger. Outside of the entrance in the parking lot I snapped these photos of pollinators - a bumble bee and an ant - moving pollen about from one flower to another.