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Film depicts butterflies epic journey
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Flight of the Butterflies’

When: shown daily Jan. 4-May 9

Where: Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Road, Atlanta

How much: $13 adults, $12 students and seniors, $11 ages 12 and under, $8 museum members; combo tickets $19-$23 include film, museum admission

More info: flightofthebutterflies.com, fernbankmuseum.org, 404-929-6300

“Flight of the Butterflies,” a giant screen adventure from SK Films, is flying into the IMAX theater Jan. 4 at Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta.

Based on a true story, the epic film tracks real monarch butterflies to their Mexican winter haven where hundreds of millions of live butterflies migrate. It also chronicles the work of Dr. Fred Urquhart, who spent 40 years trying to discover the mysteries surrounding their journey and secret winter hideaway.

Through Giant Screen/IMAX technology, audiences are transported into the tiny world of the creatures. Dana (Danaus plexippus) begins the journey north from Mexico, a voyage completed by her offspring as they migrate through the U.S. to Canada and back south again, ultimately reaching the hidden butterfly sanctuaries 10,000 feet high in the mountains of Mexico.

The monarch, though weighing less than a penny, makes one of the longest migrations on Earth across a continent to a place it has never been, with pinpoint navigational accuracy. While much has been learned, scientists are still unraveling the many interrelated aspects of this phenomenon. As the film illustrates, it takes two to three generations of butterflies to migrate north from Mexico to Canada and one “super generation” to complete the migration back south to Mexico.

Moviegoers experience the journey up close and see the evolution from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, captured through MRI and micro CT scans. The film team also travels high into the mountain ranges and up tree canopies into the monarch sanctuaries of Mexico.

“It’s remarkable how such a small insect can migrate up to 3,000 miles to a place it has never seen. Just as amazing is Dr. Urquhart’s lifelong work to shed light on a scientific mystery by discovering the over-wintering grounds of the monarch butterfly. It’s real-life a detective adventure,” Fernbank biologist Becky Facer said.

“We hope by experiencing the ‘Flight of the Butterflies’ film, our visitors will gain a greater appreciation for of these extraordinary creatures, their habitats and the natural world as a whole.”

In 2008, UNESCO declared the monarch butterfly reserve in Mexico a World Heritage Site.

SK Films will donate significant portions of the film’s box office revenue toward monarch conservation through Mexico’s leading conservation organization.

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