Open May 18 – Sept. 22, 2019
10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Experience hundreds of graceful native butterflies sipping nectar from colorful flowers, basking in the sunlight and flying freely as you wander through our 1,000 sq. ft. outdoor flight house located in the Africa Zone across from the bongo exhibit. FREE with the Zoo admission. Open daily until 4:30 pm weather permitting.
See if you can identify monarchs, swallowtails and painted ladies from amongst over 500 winged beauties representing a dozen native species. Learn about the types of nectar and host plants needed to sustain butterflies throughout their life cycle: from egg to caterpillar to chrysalid to butterfly. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the chance to see a butterfly emerge.
Bring a camera to capture your encounters with these delicate, brilliantly colored creatures. You’ll emerge with a sense of awe and a better understanding of the environment and protections needed for the survival of these beautiful animals — plus ways to help them thrive in your own backyard.
To help protect the butterflies and all guests, we ask that you abide by the following guidelines:
- Do supervise children at all times.
- Do make sure the entry/exit curtain closes behind you.
- Butterflies may land on you – please don’t touch them! Butterflies are very fragile and their wings are easily damaged.
- Please don’t pick up any caterpillars or butterflies from the plants.
- Do stay on the path and watch your step — butterflies may be on the path with you!
- Don’t pick any flowers from the exhibit. The flowers are food for the butterflies.
- Do have a great time and enjoy learning about butterflies!
Pollinators have POWER.
Where they spread pollen, they spread life. They give life to flowers by helping them reproduce. They even help provide for humans. Many fruits and vegetables — about 1/3rd of the world’s food supply — come from flowers that are pollinated. Apples, grapes, and even tomatoes would disappear from stores if we didn’t have bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
They Help Us Everyday. Can You Help Them?
Insects are powerful. But they are also vulnerable. Habitat loss and pesticide use weaken pollinators and beneficial bugs and reduce their populations. What can you do to help?
- Avoid overuse of pesticides. Pesticides can kill pollinators and harm bugs that are only there to help. Try natural ways to get rid of your pests — like introducing beneficial bugs!
- Plant Native Gardens. Native flowers from Kentucky will grow easier and provide the best habitat for pollinators. A local nursery can help you to select the right native plants for your yard.
- Don’t mow as much. Kentucky lawns are often home to dandelions, violets, and purple deadnettle. Allow these flowers to bloom for a while before mowing them, especially in the early spring, when emerging pollinators need food.
- Support legislation that respects the environment and natural habitats. Even small creatures like pollinators need BIG habitats. Large, publicly-owned preserves, forests, and parks are critical for Kentucky’s biodiversity.
- Become a Monarch Way Station! Click here to find out how.
Read about butterflies that were seen in the 2018 exhibit.
Click Here for a list of blooms that were included in the 2018 exhibit and Butterfly Waystation.
Flutter by the Zoo on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019 for a day of unique hands-on fun celebrating the annual Monarch Butterfly migration.
Learn about the lifecycle of butterflies and download a fun coloring sheet
The Louisville Zoo is a certified Monarch WayStation. Learn how you can create your own!
Bring the outdoors indoors with our enchanting butterfly screensaver.
Butterflies are the only beneficial insect. Learn more about beneficial bugs in your own backyard.
Still have questions? Get your answers here.