Incredible Journey

Bid the butterflies adieu

10/18
Those with plans of making foil antennas for someone's Halloween costume might as well get on that a little early. Grapevine's Butterfly Flutterby festival--featuring, among other things, a butterfly parade and costume contest--is this weekend. Adults, children and even pets can participate. Everyone ends up at downtown's Liberty Park, which is filled with arts and crafts activities, butterfly exhibits and food and entertainment. Three live Monarch butterfly releases from the park are scheduled in the morning and afternoon. Grapevine, located on the Monarch's annual migration path from Canada to Mexico, marks the butterflies' centuries-old sojourn yearly with the free festival. The butterflies are tagged in order to track them on their journey. A couple of years ago, freezing weather killed 40 percent to 70 percent of the Monarch population in Central Mexico's Michoacan state, but the insects are reportedly showing signs of recovery as they return to North Texas by the thousands this fall. Cold fronts help Monarchs continue moving southward by blowing them toward Mexico for the winter. Author, presenter and butterfly supplier Rick Mikula--also a habitat consultant for museums, zoos, aviaries and parks like the Butterfly Emporium at Dolly Parton's Dollywood southeast of Knoxville, Tennessee, and The Hershey Gardens Butterfly House in Hershey, Pennsylvania--is the festival's special guest. The pet division of the costume contest has been particularly entertaining in the past, festival spokeswoman Sallie Andrews says, with a guinea pig dressed like a butterfly winning one year. The guinea pig received a rawhide bone, but pets now get a gift certificate from PETsMART. The sixth annual Butterfly Flutterby festival is Saturday on Main Street in Grapevine's downtown historic district from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 817-410-3185 or check out www.grapevinetexasusa.com for more information. --Cheryl Smith
Blinded Me With ScEYEnce
10/18

Every time we think of getting LASIK, we flash back to The Simpsons episode in which Ned Flanders, now sporting dark glasses and a cane, is saying, "I never should have had that trendy laser surgery. It was great at first, but, you know, at the 10-year mark your eyes fall out." We have irrational fears about our eyes--so sue us. To cure the fear sprung from ignorance, Dallas Children's Museum's ScEYEnce Laboratory lets visitors build an eye model, experience optical illusions and explore properties of light and sight. To kick off the exhibit, free eye screenings for children are offered on October 18 from noon to 4 p.m. Celebrate your eyeballs at Dallas Children's Museum, 308 Valley View Center, beginning Saturday. Call 972-386-6555. --Michelle Martinez


Feeling Corn-fused
Ongoing

Let your imagination move you into the plot of a Stephen King novel or the crop circles controversy, then head north on Interstate 30 for a visit to Zmaze. Fifteen miles past Rockwall, at Exit 83, you'll find a cornfield that will confuse and delight young and old trying to find their way from Point A to Point B. Open until November 9, the labyrinth designed by Ken Patterson is a two-mile challenge with 85 "decision points" along the way. Open every day except Monday and Tuesday, admission is $7 for adults and $5 for the kids. Dress casual and wear good walking shoes. Call 903-527-1133. --Carlton Stowers

Pipe Dreams
10/17
"Grinding the girder" gets a southern-fried twist when Mountain Dew presents Eisenbergs' seventh annual Texas Showdown at the Hoedown on October 17. Young skater fanatics get to chill with the pros at the event opener, which begins at 11 p.m. with a lock-in that lasts until 7 a.m. Early registration costs $25 or $35 the day of the event and includes an all-night session, eats and prizes. The showdown begins at 8 p.m. October 18 (if it's anything like last year, expect some surprises). And for those of you who just wanna watch in-liners clear a 3-foot quarter pipe, come out and gawk for free. Eisenbergs Skate Park is located at 930 E. 15th St. in Plano. Visit www.eisenbergs.com. --Jenice Johnson

 
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