live butterfly feeding on flowers

The Academy’s Butterflies! exhibit will be closed from Tuesday, September 2, through Friday, September 26, 2014, for some much-needed renovations. These changes will improve the butterflies’ habitat and allow the animals to be more comfortable. When you visit later this year, you might even notice some new plants. Check back in late September for updates.

You can still see live bugs at the Academy throughout the month of September. Visit Outside In on the Academy’s third level. There’s a living beehive, plus you may even get the chance to see and touch a hissing cockroach!

Also, don’t miss Pinned: Insect Art, Insect Science in the Art of Science Gallery. It’s among our most beautiful Art of Science Gallery exhibits to date! Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see artist Christopher Marley’s intricate mosaics of insect specimens alongside specimens from the Academy’s Entomology Collection.

A Tropical Garden in Philadelphia

Butterflies! features a lush, tropical garden filled with colorful plants and a multitude of live butterflies from Central and South America, East Africa, and Southeast Asia.

How many kinds of butterflies are there?

It changes every day! The exhibit will usually have between 60 to 150 butterflies and 20 to 40 different species on any given day. Butterflies generally live for one to two weeks, and we receive new butterflies from around the world each week. What’s here one week probably won't be the same as what was here last week.

How many butterflies will you find?

That can depend on how many there are, but it also depends on how well you look.

  • Some will be flying. These are often the easiest to spot.
  • Some will be eating at food stations. These are good places to get close to the butterflies.
  • Some will be resting on plants. Butterflies usually rest with their wings pointing up so you’ll be looking at the undersides of the wings. This side of the wing is often less colorful and may even be camouflaged.
  • Some will be resting on the walls or the ceiling.
  • Some will be resting on the floor. Watch your step!
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