FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES to Open at the American Museum of Natural History on 1/5

FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES to Open at the American Museum of Natural History on 1/5

Flight of the Butterflies, a breathtaking new giant-screen adventure that takes viewers on the epic 3,000-mile journey traveled every fall by half a billion monarch butterflies, opens at the American Museum of Natural History on Saturday, January 5, 2013. The film is the awe-inspiring story of two unlikely heroes that share a common strength. Based on true events, it follows the perilous journey of the iconic monarch butterfly in one of the most incredible migrations on Earth and the determined scientist, Dr. Fred Urquhart, who spent 40 years trying to discover the mysteries surrounding their journey and secret winter hideaway.

Produced by SK Films, with considerable funding support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Flight of the Butterflies is directed by Mike Slee (Bugs 3D, Legend of Loch Lomond), who co-wrote the script with co-executive producer Wendy MacKeigan (Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta, The Water Brothers). The film's executive producer is Jonathan Barker (Bugs! 3D, Into the Deep 3D, Mission to Mir).

What began with a small boy daydreaming about where butterflies went each winter became a lifelong pursuit by Dr. Urquhart, who ingeniously enlisted the help of legions of volunteers across North America, known as "citizen scientists," to help with tagging and tracking the butterflies. The decades-long quest yielded the ultimate discovery of the monarch butterflies' overwintering sites in the sanctuaries set 10,000 feet high in the remote mountains of Mexico.
The film follows the butterflies' amazing journey in what is the longest insect migration on Earth. Audiences are transported into the tiny world of one intrepid creature, Dana (Danaus Plexippus), and her offspring as they migrate north from Mexico and back south again. As the film illustrates, it takes two to three generations of butterflies to migrate north from Mexico through the U.S. to Canada and one "super generation" to complete the migration back south to Mexico. In the immersive giant-screen environment, moviegoers will experience this journey up close and see the evolution from egg to caterpillar to pupa to butterfly, captured for the first time thanks to MRI and micro CT scans, which bring audiences closer to the action than ever before.

The film also includes an extensive Educational Outreach Program with lesson plans for all curriculum levels, and is supported by the NSF, in partnership with The Maryland Science Center. Monarch butterfly experts, including Dr. Chip Taylor, Dr. Karen Oberhauser, and Dr. Lincoln Brower, served as scientific advisors to the film. Major support has also come from the Mexican Federal Government (Environment & Tourism) and the States of México and Michoacán, as well as Coca-Cola FEMSA, and Grupo Bimbo. Significant portions of the film's box office revenue will go towards Monarch butterfly conservation.

Flight of the Butterflies will be shown daily in the LeFrak IMAX Theater, 10:30 am to 4:30 pm (hourly) through July 7, 2013. To purchase tickets in advance, the public should call 212-769-5200 or visit amnh.org. A service charge may apply.

Visitors interested in learning more about species featured in Flight of the Butterflies can visit the Museum's The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter. An annual favorite visited by millions of children and adults, The Butterfly Conservatory transforms the iciest day into a summer escape, inviting visitors to mingle with up to 500 fluttering, iridescent butterflies among blooming tropical flowers and lush green vegetation in 80-degree temperatures. The Butterfly Conservatory is on view through May 27, 2013. The butterflies are housed in a vivarium that approximates their natural habitat, including live flowering plants that serve as nectar sources.

In addition, A Night at the Museum-the Museum's popular sleepover program-will introduce special activities during the run of the film, beginning on January 5. The evenings will include a screening of Flight of the Butterflies, a walkthrough of The Butterfly Conservatory with knowledgeable Museum explainers, and special activities including folding origami butterflies; discovering how far butterflies can glide by modifying paper airplanes to make the most efficient glider possible; and learning about warning coloration by creating an artistic rendition of an organism with warning signs. The evenings also include flashlight tours. Attendees will end the evening falling asleep in one of the Museum's darkened halls.

The American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869, is one of the world's preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions. The Museum encompasses 45 permanent exhibition halls, including the Rose Center for Earth and Space and the Hayden Planetarium, as well as galleries for temporary exhibitions. It is home to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, New York State's official memorial to its 33rd governor and the nation's 26th president, and a tribute to Roosevelt's enduring legacy of conservation. The Museum's five active research divisions and three cross-disciplinary centers support 200 scientists, whose work draws on a world-class Permanent Collection of more than 32 million specimens and artifacts, including specialized collections for frozen tissue and genomic and astrophysical data, as well as one of the largest natural history libraries in the Western Hemisphere. Through its Richard Gilder Graduate School, it is the only American museum authorized to grant the Ph.D. degree. In 2012, the Museum began offering a pilot Master of Arts in Teaching with a specialization in earth science. Approximately 5 million visitors from around the world came to the Museum last year, and its exhibitions and Space Shows can be seen in venues on five continents. The Museum's website and collection of apps for mobile devices extend its collections, exhibitions, and educational programs to millions more beyond its walls. Visit amnh.org for more information.

The Museum offers a broad array of programs for adults, children, families, students, educators, and scientists. These range from special exhibitions to symposia, lecture series, workshops, and film festivals. Highlights include Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture (November 17, 2012-August 11, 2013), an exhibition that explores our complex food system from farm to fork and is devoted to growing, transporting, cooking, eating, tasting, and celebrating food; Winged Tapestries: Moths at Large (September 29, 2012-September 29, 2013), an exhibition of 34 striking images featuring the arresting beauty and surprising diversity of moths from Ottawa-based photographer Jim des Rivières; Picturing Science: Museum Scientists and Imaging Technologies (June 25, 2011-June 24, 2012), an exhibition of more than 20 sets of striking large-format prints, showcasing advanced imaging technologies used by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History and revealing once-hidden, intricate details of both natural phenomena and cultural artifacts; Journey to the Stars, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg; and a year-round calendar of engaging and educational public programs that feature dynamic encounters with living cultures and authentic science.

The Museum is open daily, 10 am-5:45 pm. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Suggested general admission, which supports the Museum's scientific and educational endeavors and offers access to the Museum's 45 halls including the Rose Center for Earth and Space, is $19 (adults) suggested, $14.50 (students/seniors) suggested, $10.50 (children) suggested. All prices are subject to change.

The Museum offers discounted combination ticket prices that include suggested general admission plus special exhibitions, IMAX films, and Space Shows.

- Museum Plus One includes one special exhibition, IMAX film, or Space Show: $25 (adults), $19 (students/seniors), $14.50 (children)

- Museum Supersaver includes all special exhibitions, IMAX film, and Space Show: $33 (adults), $25.50 (students/seniors), $20.50 (children)

Visitors who wish to pay less than the suggested Museum admission and also purchase a ticket to attend a special exhibition, IMAX film, or Space Show may do so on-site at the Museum. To the amount they wish to pay for general admission, they should add $22 (adults), $18 (students/seniors), or $12 (children) for a Space Show, special exhibition, or IMAX film.