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  • © Samuel Jaffe of The Caterpillar Lab;

    Butterfly and Caterpillar Weekend
  • © Matthew Modoono

    Butterfly and Caterpillar Weekend
  • © Samuel Jaffe of The Caterpillar Lab;

    Butterfly and Caterpillar Weekend
  • © Samuel Jaffe of The Caterpillar Lab;

    Butterfly and Caterpillar Weekend

Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6 | 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Butterfly and Caterpillar Weekend

Meet an amazing array of native New England caterpillars in various stages of development and learn more about caterpillars and butterflies through live presentations and interpretations throughout the Museum. (Note that the Butterfly Garden requires purchase of separate timed ticket.)



The Caterpillar Lab

  • Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Blue Wing, Lower Level

This one-of-a-kind experience is a celebration of the impressive diversity of New England caterpillars. Each individual display includes a variety of caterpillars in various stages of development and on their local host plants. With no glass between you and the displays, you can experience caterpillars up close — eating, camouflaging, pooping, or defending themselves with clever adaptations such as warning coloration, inflatable horns, strange smells, and squeaking mandibles.


Create Your Own Butterfly Habitat

  • Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
  • Butterfly Garden, Blue Wing, Level 2

With your paid admission to the Butterfly Garden, learn how to create and plant your own butterfly habitat. We'll discuss the importance of using native plantings and how to get your garden started. Get your hands dirty planting native seeds and take them home to help start attracting butterflies!


Capillary Action Butterflies (Make and Take)

  • Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Discovery Center, Red Wing, Level 1

Create a model of a butterfly, practice using real science tools including magnifying lenses and pipettes, and learn how water's "stickiness" allows it to move through paper. Please note: the Discovery Center is designed for children up to age 8 and their grownups.


Little Naturalists: Butterfly Classification (Drop-in Activity)

  • Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm and 1:30 – 3:00 pm
  • Natural Mysteries, Blue Wing, Lower Level

Join early childhood educators in exploring preserved butterflies and moths from the Museum collection. Young learners will use their observation and classification skills to learn more about these amazing insects. Recommended for children up to age 8 and their grownups.


Live Presentations

Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, Blue Wing, Level 1 (except where noted)

  • The Photography of The Caterpillar Lab; Saturday, 12:30 pm 

    Samuel Jaffe, founder of The Caterpillar Lab, talks about his adventures during the last five years raising and photographing charismatic native caterpillars. 

  • Understanding Butterfly Evolution; Saturday, 2:30 pm 

    Jim Mallet from Harvard University talks about butterfly evolution and hybridization, including his field experiments in the Amazon rainforest and the latest science in butterfly diversity.

  • Animal Life Cycles; Saturday, 3:30 pm (Shapiro Family Science Live! Stage, Green Wing, Lower Level)

    Some animals undergo dramatic changes as their life progresses. An example is the butterfly that begins its life as a caterpillar. Learn more about what other animals have different phases in their life cycles.

  • Cooperative Living in Butterflies; Sunday, 12:30 pm

    Naomi Pierce from Harvard University talks about how different types of butterflies live in complicated relationships with a variety of diverse plants and animals.

  • An Unusual Butterfly Journey; Sunday, 2:30 pm

    Dr. Loree Griffin Burns, award-winning author of science books for children,     talks about butterfly farms and the path that butterflies take from farm to exhibit. A book signing follows.

  • Declining Bees and Our Food Supply; Sunday, 4:00 pm (Shapiro Family Science Live! Stage, Green Wing, Lower Level)

    If bees continue to decline, we may lose the crops that add nutrient diversity and flavor to our diets: berries, nuts, melons, and even coffee and chocolate! Explore why bee populations are in jeopardy and what we can do to reverse this trend.


Photo Exhibit

Blue Wing, Level 1

Visit the temporary exhibit New England Caterpillars: Life on the Leaf Edge, which features the New England caterpillar photography of Samuel Jaffe, who is the founder and executive director of The Caterpillar Lab.



Locations throughout the Museum


Recommended for: Grades Pre-K – 12 and adults

Public Event

Free with Exhibit Halls admission. Purchase Exhibit Halls tickets:


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