Monday, May 9 -- Beautiful butterflies
With new summer hours in place, you can stroll through this special butterfly exhibit with exotic plants and live butterflies from around the world until the last entry at 6 PM. Tickets are required, however and rates are as follows: $6 for adults; $5.50 for seniors (60+); $5 for children and members. Big tip for the frugal visitor: There is no charge on Tuesdays; however you still must get a ticket at the desk. Visit the Butterfly Pavilion’s Web site to purchase tickets and for more information about free entry on Tuesdays. Natural History Museum, 10:15-5:00 PM.
Tuesday, May 10 -- Harry Potter pops up
The Houston-based paper engineer Bruce Foster talks about designing the 2010 Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book, the design process and paper engineering. "I will show the process from beginning to end, explain some of the math involved in creating this boo and share secrets of Harry Potter that did not make it into the final book," Foster writes. Free. 12:00 PM. American History Museum. Sponsored by Smithsonian Libraries. Related exhibition: "Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull, Pop and Turn"
Wednesday, May 11 Behind the Scenes at the Lunder Center
Learn how museum conservators use science, art history and skilled hands to preserve the art collections at the American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. Free, but register before 3:00 PM at the Luce Foundation Center information desk. Tour begins at 3:00 PM at the same place. Repeats most Wednesdays. American Art Museum.
Thursday, May 12 Pick a Flick just $10
"Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue" presents 10 films with a discussion following the screenings: Freedom Riders (already sold out); La Mission; Udaan and A Small Act at 6:00 PM; Boy at 6:15 PM and The Last Train Home; Afghan Star; Amreeka; Son of Babylon (free admission, but tickets required) and Winter's Bone at 6:30 PM. $10 tickets for general admission are available online. Various National Mall locations.
Friday, May 13 Not Your Father's Planetarium Show
Cosmic Collisions, a planetarium show, is the story of a speeding comet that collides with Earth's atmosphere. Zipping along at 40 million years per second, the film takes visitors on a journey through time and space that includes colossal impacts and exciting explosions. Scientific visualizations, images from NASA and advanced simulation and imaging technology enhance the experience. Seven shows daily, beginning at 11:00 AM. Tickets are $6.50 members, $9.00 adult (13-and up), $8.00 senior, $7.50 youth (2-12 years old). Purchase tickets by phone (toll-free) 866-868-7774; online up to two weeks in advance or at the box office. Albert Einstein Planetarium at the National Air & Space Museum