Butterfly Bungalow

The butterflies emerge from chrysalides, or cocoons, daily at the Butterfly Bungalow. To help ease their transition to the open conservatory there is a regular schedule for releasing adult butterflies—make sure to ask about release times!

Hot Spots

The conservatory provides the perfect “home away from home” for the butterflies. Look around carefully, under leafy cover or high up in the canopy—they may be difficult to spot when they are resting. Butterflies are more active than usual on sunny days.

Nectaring Stations

Nectaring Stations

Nectar stations provide a great spot to closely watch and identify butterflies as they feast on a honey-water solution. Also look for trays of juicy, overripe fruit.

Orchid Wall

Orchid Wall

Watch the butterflies as they land on the Orchid Wall searching for nectar.

Stream Bed & Waterfall

Stream Bed & Waterfall

Common Morpho butterflies can often be seen chasing each other along the streambed and past the waterfall. Many butterflies flock to the plants along the streambed. The damp soil is a hot spot for watching butterflies probe for minerals.

Release Platform

Release Platform

Stop by the butterfly release platform to watch butterflies take their first flight. Check for release times!

Double Coconut Island

Double Coconut Island

This sunny spot is a magnet for butterflies. Watch them basking in the sun, visiting nectar-rich flowers.

The Caterpillar Room

The Caterpillar Room

Look for Monarch caterpillars as they roam freely through the greenhouse.

Sometimes butterflies may even land on you! Let them be and enjoy the rare close encounter. But be careful they don’t hitch a ride with you as you exit the conservatory!

The Butterflies


The front legs of brush-footed butterflies are reduced to small “brushes.” They include some of the most brilliantly colored and patterned butterflies. Some have iridescent colors—watch how the color seems to change when they fly.


These butterflies are named for the long, narrow shape of their wings. They taste terrible to predators and warn them with bright colors and distinctive patterns. Colors and patterns vary greatly, depending on their region of origin.


These butterflies are named for the “tails” on many (but not all) species. Swallowtails are powerful fliers and in flight, the tails are used for gliding. When at rest, birds may mistake the tails as the butterfly's head and antennae, providing protection from predators.


March 4, 2014 6:00 pm / Tropical Conservatory

Tuesday Night Lights

Bring your flashlight on Tuesday nights until 9 pm to see the nightlife in the Tropical Conservatory. 

March 22, 2014 12:00 pm

Who Am I? Butterfly Ballet

Sold Out

Mark your calendars now for a thoroughly delightful butterfly ballet with the Grand Rapids Ballet Junior Company.


  • Members $5.0000
  • Non-Members $8


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