Every summer, the Butterfly Pavilion at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles comes to life with hundreds of live butterflies in a walk-through open-air setting. It’s worth a visit because it offers kids a chance to get up close views of more than 30 species of butterflies native to California, including the fan favorite orange and black Monarch.
The outdoor exhibit space isn’t especially huge, but there is plenty to take in. Wander through the enclosure slowly and look around – there’s a lot to see!
This is a busy place for butterflies. If you stay in one place long enough, you might see one trying to drink some nectar.
If you look close, you might even be able to spot butterflies at different points in their transformation into adulthood, including caterpillars and chrysalises. This means that no two visits to the Butterfly Pavilion are ever quite the same.
Entry to the Pavilion is on a timed ticket basis, which helps control crowds. You’ll need to leave your stroller outside but navigating your way around inside is fairly simple – just stay on the dirt path. Kids will be tempted to try to grab or touch the butterflies, which isn’t allowed. If one happens to land on you, though, enjoy the moment!
There are butterfly identification cards available and NHM Gallery Interpreters are around to answer any questions. They’re really nice and helpful, so ask away!
Your time in the Pavilion is limited to 20 or 30 minutes, which is enough for even the most enthusiastic butterfly fan. You can also leave earlier if needed, though you won’t be able to re-enter.
After checking out the Butterfly Pavilion, you might also want to look for butterflies in the Museum’s Nature Gardens, where you can see particular plants and flowers intended to attract native adult butterflies to lay their eggs.
- The Butterfly Pavilion is open now through Sept. 7, 2015
- Special timed tickets are required and are not included in the price of Museum admission; free for members
- The Butterfly Pavilion is located outside the Museum on the South Lawn
- No strollers are permitted inside the Pavilion so if you’re coming with multiple kids, bring a friend to help keep an eye on everyone
- No touching butterflies, but if they happen to land on you, enjoy!
- Stay on the dirt path
- Everyone exits through a small, butterfly-themed gift shop