From October through May, you can spread your wings and fly among hundreds of butterflies through the rainforest of the Butterfly Conservatory. One of the most popular exhibits at the Museum of Natural History, The Butterfly Conservatory houses over 500 butterflies that come from more than 100 different species– including the cruiser, julia, longwing, owl and paperkite from countries like Thailand, Brazil, Kenya and Australia. The exhibit teaches visitors about butterflies’ life cycles, their lives and their impact on the environment.
Visitors have the opportunity to walk through a 1,200 square foot vivarium where the butterflies are housed, that’s filled with tropical plants and flowers that are almost as beautiful as the exhibit’s inhabitants. The vivarium, complete with halide lamps to mimic sunshine, is meant to be reminiscent of a rain forest, and is even set to 80 degrees.
For visitors who prefer a less immersive experience, they can travel down the hallway outside of the vivarium and get an outside view of the people, plants and butterflies through transparent walls. The hallway also features educational illustrations like videos and displays about the protection of butterflies and the many species that can be found throughout New York.
The museum boasts that it is the top field trip location in the city, and invites school groups to visit. Educators can find a guide to the Butterfly Conservatory and other educational resources on the museum’s website, as well as plan a field trip.
Those who are interested in visiting the Butterfly Conservatory need to act fast because the exhibit closes for the season on May 29. It should reopen in the fall.
General Admission tickets, which include access to all 45 halls within the museum, including the Butterfly Conservatory, and the Rose Center for Earth and Space, are $22 for adults and $12.50 for children. Tickets can be purchased online or inside of the museum.
The museum is located on Central Park West at 79th Street, and the exhibit is on the second floor of the Whitney Hall of Oceanic Birds.
To learn more about butterflies, such as their anatomy or how to grow a butterfly garden, visit the American Museum of Natural History’s website.