We got a great tip to make a stop at the Casa delle Farfalle (butterfly house) in the town of Viagrande. It's in the Monte Serra Park, the pretty hill pictured here.
It's actually quite close to home, but that doesn't mean it was easy to find. After arriving in Viagrande, we did see one sign that sort of lead us in the right direction. But we quickly found ourselves at a fork, and typical Sicily, no longer any signs! UGH. So, we got a bit lost and meandered through the town, with baby getting restless, husband getting irritated, and no possibility of resorting to the tried and true Italian method of traveling - ask anyone walking or driving by, or, in the case of Viagrande, watering their lawn, for directions. We finally lucked out and asked the lady watering her lawn and found our way to our destination just before we were all about to scream. Lesson learned (again), don't leave home without TomTom, our GPS navigator.
But, the good news is we quickly forgot about any driving discomfort once we set foot in this lovely park. There are trails to hike and animals to see. We opted for the later and spent most of our time with the goats and bunny rabbit. We also bumped into the donkey going out for a stroll. And then there is the tropical (as in warm and humid) butterfly house, a little atrium full of fluttering butterflies. Nearby is a picnic area and playground for the little ones, full of dozens of weathered plastic play equipment--houses, slides, swings, etc. Our toddler did it all, and we even managed to take a brief walk along the trail through the woods, where we met the friendly park calico cat. She had no fear of kids and even a tail-pulling rascal didn't stop her from purring.
The Casa delle Farafalle has been added to our list of kid-friendly outings in the area. Minus the getting lost, it should only take about 30 minutes to get there from Catania. A great outing for a hike, a picnic, and plenty to do for a little one. Next time I'll be sure to remember to pack a picnic.