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Creeping, crawling caterpillars: Sometimes cute and fuzzy, occasionally pulsatingly nasty, those little buggers nevertheless often grow into nature’s most exquisite winged beauties. The Brookside Gardens Butterfly Festival celebrates the butterfly life cycle, tracking their growth from tiny eggs to leaf-munching caterpillars to soaring Lepidoptera. Highlighting the festival is the “10th Anniversary Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly Exhibit,” in which specimens from North, Central, and South America are free to fly as they please, lay larvae, and sip nectar from exotic flowers in a visitor-accessible garden-conservatory habitat. The festival also features a lecture on butterfly gardening led by National Museum of Natural History Insect Zoo Manager Nathan Erwin, a sale of butterfly host and nectar plants, and children’s activities—including storytelling, face-painting, and a “musical entomology” concert. Marvel metamorphosis at the festival, which runs today from noon to 4 p.m. at Brookside Gardens, Wheaton Regional Park, 1800 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton. The exhibit is on view from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily to Sunday, Sept. 17. $4.50. (301) 962-1400. (Patricia Murret)