Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory
Posted in the Allergy Forum
#1 Jul 24, 2009
“Magic Wings”?– Not for Kids with Food Allergies
As the parents of two small kids, we’ve traveled to countless attractions in the New England area. Our oldest daughter, age five, is allergic to peanuts and there is a chance our youngest daughter, age two, is as well (she is still too young for testing). For now, we scrupulously avoid any food that may contain nuts of any kind.
In trips to zoos, science museums, children’s museums, discovery centers, fun parks, and other kid-friendly day trips across the area, we have never had a problem bringing in our own safe foods for our daughters. Until today.
As we prepared to go to the “Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory” in Deerfield, MA this morning, I checked their website to see what foods might be available. On the very top of the menu, there is an allergen warning stating that,“All food is prepared in a facility that may contain peanuts or tree nuts.” Since there would be no safe food available for our children, we packed a picnic lunch.
When we arrived at “Magic Wings” and entered the atrium area where they have eight or ten large round tables, we saw that each table had a sign stating that outside food is not permitted. The tables also had menus with the same allergen warning, letting us know that none of the restaurant food was safe for nut-allergic individuals. Dilemma. We explained the situation to the cashier at the ticket counter and she told us we could have our picnic at the tables. We bought our tickets, enjoyed the butterflies for an hour or so and then decided to take a break for lunch.
As soon as we had our sandwiches out of the bags, a different employee informed us that we could not eat there and that the cashier had no authority to give us permission to eat there. She told us that there was a covered picnic area across the parking lot and we’d have to move outside. Though the picnic area was covered, it was a very wet and overcast day – not the best day to eat outside, even in the summer.
I asked to speak to the manager. I explained to her that there was nothing on the menu that my children could eat and that the weather was not ideal for eating outside. She informed me that if I had called ahead to make arrangements they would have allowed me to bring in food, although there was nothing on the website about the need to preauthorize picnics. She refused to bend the rules and was openly rude and dismissive of my concerns for my children. I was hoping, at least, for some compassion and understanding, and perhaps a willingness to compromise, but I found only a callous and rigid determination to adhere to a, frankly, nonsensical policy. As the butterfly conservatory is open year round, I’d like to know what they tell nut-allergic individuals in December. If an outdoor picnic area is unwelcoming on a wet day in July, it is downright dangerous on an icy day in December.
For us,“Magic Wings” has lost its magic. The butterflies may be beautiful, but the atmosphere was ugly. In the future, when our kids want to enjoy the magic of butterflies, we’ll take them somewhere where there are hearts as well as wings.
#2 Aug 26, 2012
As someone who has not only been to Magic wings but also in the restaurant business you probably would have had better results if you only packed a sandwich for your two daughters. if you and your husband dont have food allergie then you should have eaten off there menu. about 8 yrs ago on our first trip we packed my daughter food then purchased food for my wife and daughter and had no problem. If they gave into you then every family would have food allergies and bring there own food which would cut into there business. I would next time all ahead and try my suggestion about purchasing what you can there, drinks, sides whatever and bring only what you have to.
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