Approximately 20,000 species of butterflies around the world, about 575 of them are spotted regularly in the lower 48 states. Here’s a look at where butterflies can be found in their metamorphic stages throughout the year.
Mission, Texas is the butterfly capitol of the USA, and the Rio Grande Valley is home to more native butterfly species than anyplace else in the country, so what better place for the National Butterfly Center to be situated. During a visit, get your checklist ready – more than 200 butterfly species have been seen throughout the center’s 100 acres! Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 – 4, when the Texas Butterfly Festival will be held, and guests can reasonably expect to see more than 60 species in a day.
The Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans is the largest free-standing museum in the USA dedicated to insects and their relatives. Their “Butterflies in Flight” exhibit features an Asian-inspired garden filled with hundreds of butterflies flitting about. Be careful, one may even alight on you!
The Smithsonian Gardens in Washington, D.C. are prime landing spots for butterflies traveling through our nation’s capital, especially the Butterfly Habitat Garden on 9th Street. For guaranteed butterfly spotting, head to the National Museum of Natural History for the “Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution” exhibit. In addition to the exhibit, the Butterfly Pavilion, a $6 ticketed admission, invites guests to stroll among butterflies from around the world.
Visitors to the Magic Wings Butterfly House at the Museum of Life + Science in Durham, N.C. are invited to meet the conservatory team to learn about the more than 100 butterflies who call the house home, and even hold a newly-emerged butterfly. One of the highlights at Magic Wings Butterfly House is participating in a butterfly release, which is held regularly.
The Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. is one of the oldest and largest tropical butterfly conservatories in North America. Open year-round, other than a two-week winter break Jan. 1 – 15, guests can spot 1,000 or more butterflies flying freely throughout the glass-enclosed environment. September is Blue Morpho Butterfly Month, and hundreds of the tropical creatures are showing off their iridescent blue beauty.
With 8,000 square feet, the Butterfly House at St. Louis’ Missouri Botanical Garden opened its doors in 1998 and features two habitats, one tropical and the other native. Nearly 2,000 butterflies fly freely throughout the structure, lighting on one of the 150 tropical plant species showcased, and their transformation is featured in the “Miracle of Metamorphosis,” with butterflies emerging before your eyes.
In Ames, Iowa, butterflies float effortlessly at the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing at Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens. The fully-enclosed 2,500 square foot glass building – shaped like a butterfly – is home to more than 1,000 butterfly and moth species, as well as emergence chambers that showcase butterflies’ metamorphoses.
Just 20 minutes north of Denver and 20 minutes south of Boulder, 1,600 butterflies rule the sky in Butterfly Pavilion’s tropical rainforest. Yoga enthusiasts will love practicing Rainforest Yoga with the butterflies!
Butterfly Gardens From All Over The U.S. Open Year Round.