Butterflies LIVE!

Please note: We will not have our Butterflies LIVE! exhibit in 2024 and 2025 while we expand the Conservatory to include a permanent butterfly house. Learn more about the Garden’s expansion project.

M&T Bank Butterflies LIVE! 

Experience the wonderful world of butterflies! Tropical and native beauties, fascinating and showy, transform the Conservatory’s North Wing into a wonderland of vibrant colors…captivating sights…and extraordinary discoveries. Every butterfly is different, as is every visit! 

Top 5 Things to Know Before You Visit

  1. Butterflies LIVE! is an exhibit inside the North Wing of the Conservatory and is geared for all ages. The environment can be quite hot and humid. Dress comfortably and consider bringing water, as other food and drinks are not permitted. Our tropical butterflies love the heat, but for the safety of our guests and staff, if temperatures inside the display reach an unsafe level, the exhibit will close and reopen once safe to do so. Consider visiting earlier in the day to avoid disappointment.
  2. We ask that you do not touch the butterflies, but they may land on you if you’re lucky! If a butterfly lands on you and you need assistance or would like it removed, speak to one of the Butterfly Educators or the person at the entry and exit doors and they will be able to assist you.Three-tailed swallowtail butterfly (Papilio pilumnus) sitting on a red flower. It is a yellow and black striped butterfly with blue and red markings.
  3. Strollers are not permitted in the exhibit unless medically necessary. Wheelchairs, other mobility devices, and service dogs are welcome! Large bags are discouraged in the exhibit because sometimes butterflies like to hitchhike out on guests clothing or belongings. Since many of the butterflies are non-native species, they must remain in the exhibit. There is a place to leave personal items at the staffed entrance, however the Garden is not responsible for them.
  4. Butterflies tend to be most active on clear, sunny days. On cloudy days, they tend to roost, which can be good for taking close-up photos. You may want to plan your visit accordingly.
  5. Don’t forget to check out all of our special displays and activities! In the exhibit, there is an identification board with the pictures, names, and some fun facts about every butterfly we currently have. Each week, we highlight a new Butterfly of the Week and focus on its unique qualities! There is also a rotating display of moths and a butterfly chrysalis emergence box where you can sometimes see the butterflies emerge in real time. Many other activities are available as well, including a little library of books, magnifying glasses, life cycle magnets, butterfly vs moth guessing games, and much more!

Bonus tip: Take a look at Meet the butterflies! page to see some of the species we have in the exhibit!


The Reason Behind Butterflies LIVE!  Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a nonprofit garden. Our mission is education and our passion is bringing people and plants together to improve communities. Butterflies LIVE! shows the interdependence of people, plants and insects and encourages all to care for nature.

Love native butterflies? Check out Butterflies LIVE! Coordinator Clara Aus’s Top Tips for a Virginia Butterfly Garden. Looking for activities for your kids this summer? Visit our Kids Activities page and Kids Learning page!

More Butterflies

We’ve planted nectar and host plants for butterflies all over the Garden!  Look and see how many types you can find.

Join us for fun family activities in the Children’s Garden where you can learn how to do the bee dance and participate in our Butterflies LIVE! KidQuest or Bee KidQuest. Pick up a copy in the Conservatory, or download and print your own Butterfly KidQuest (PDF) or  Bee KidQuest (PDF).



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Visit All Year & More!

See our Top Reasons to Become a Member including unlimited visits to the Garden.

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Meet the Butterflies

We have many species of tropical butterflies in Butterflies LIVE!  See some of the ones you are likely to meet when you visit!

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M&T Bank Logo 2022

Butterflies LIVE! is generously sponsored by M&T Bank.

Supporting sponsors include:

Patient First logo                    Publix Charities logo