The beautiful Butterfly Garden can be found inside the Detroit Zoo’s Wildlife Interpretive Gallery.
In this immersive exhibit, hundreds of free-flying butterflies representing 25 species can be observed engaging in many of their natural behaviors, including feeding on flower nectar or ripe fruit and basking in the sunlight. The temperature is always kept at a balmy 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the optimal temperature for the butterflies to take flight. Volunteer gardeners plant native plants in the garden that butterflies enjoy.
The Detroit Zoo purchases about 250 butterfly pupae (chrysalises) each week from butterfly ranches in Central America. The butterflies that are collected are not taken from the wild, because the ranchers are actively involved in butterfly conservation programs.
The Butterfly Garden is open year-round for guests and is free with Zoo admission.
A special behind-the-scenes experience called Breakfast with the Butterflies gives visitors the opportunity to learn about butterflies firsthand. During a continental breakfast, a zookeeper shares the secrets of butterfly watching in the garden and in the wild, followed by the opportunity to prepare chrysalises for display and to release new butterflies in the garden.
Many couples say “I do” at the Zoo, as the Butterfly Garden is a perfect setting for wedding ceremonies.