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  • Butterfly Garden

    © Matthew Modoono

    Butterfly Garden exhibit
  • © Matthew Modoono

    Picture of Butterfly Garden interpreter
  • © Ashley McCabe

    Family in the Butterfly Garden
  • © Nicolaus Czarnecki

    Terrariums in the Butterfly Garden exhibit

Butterfly Garden

Walk among the free-flying residents of this warm conservatory filled with exotic plants. Overlooking the Charles River, this tropical oasis offers a wonderful opportunity to get close to a variety of living butterflies from New England and across the globe.

The "Emergence Box" offers a window into the butterfly behavior that most powerfully stirs the human imagination: the metamorphosis from earthbound caterpillar to winged adult. Look inside to see hanging chrysalids transform into adult butterflies. If you're lucky, you might see a new butterfly crawl out of its casing or a recently emerged adult pump fluid into its wings.

In other displays and activities, learn about the four radically different stages of the butterfly life cycle: egg, caterpillar, chrysalid, and adult. Witness some of the ways that butterfly colors and wing patterns give them protection strategies such as camouflage, warning coloration, and mimicry. Finally, explore terrariums with a variety of live specimens that offer insight into the butterfly's relationship to its animal and insect ancestors.

Reservation: Tickets required; school groups should reserve at least two weeks in advance.

On Exhibit

Permanent Exhibit


Blue Wing, Level 2

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Separate timed ticket required.
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  • Multisensory Interactives
  • Staffed Area
  • Wheelchair Accessible

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