The beautiful Butterfly Garden, inside the Detroit Zoo’s Wildlife Interpretive Gallery, houses hundreds of free-flying butterflies. Approximately 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 garden is kept at a balmy 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the optimal temperature for the butterflies to take flight.
The Zoo purchases about 250 butterfly pupae (chrysalises) each week from growers in Central America. The butterflies are raised by growers who maintain their own breeding stock; they are not taken from the wild but are part of an effort to promote butterfly conservation programs in those countries.
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.