Butterfly Garden: Get Back to Nature in Winter

Have the cold, inclement weather and shorter wintry days customary in the East right now put you in a seasonal funk? If you’re among the many people who suffer from the blahs at about this time of the year — yours truly included — I suggest taking advantage of an oasis of warmth and summertime beauty graciously offered to the public by Boston’s Museum of Science (Science Park, Boston, 617-723-2500).

The museum’s Butterfly Garden overlooking the Charles River is unlike any other exhibit and as such, it provides a true respite for visitors seeking some natural relief from the artificial climates we’re subjected to while staying indoors so much. A 1,000-square-foot conservatory featuring 400 free-flying butterflies and moths, the tropical garden filled with exotic plants allows visitors to leisurely experience one of the few species of insects that many individuals actually like due to their colorful beauty and eye-catching forms.

The Butterfly Garden houses butterflies and moths native to New England and other regions worldwide. Various displays permit a firsthand view of butterfly and moth behavior at different stages of their development. For instance, the emergence box contains hanging chrysalids — protective coverings or cocoons that enclose butterflies during their earliest developmental stage — that lucky and observant viewers may be able to see transform into adult butterflies.

Additional displays spotlight the insects’ special ability to protect themselves in the wild through the unique color properties of their wings. And, others clarify the four stages of development that butterflies go through in a life cycle as they advance from an egg to a caterpillar to a chrysalis and finally to an adult.

Although tickets are required for the Butterfly Garden, the exhibit is one of the most well-priced activities available at the Museum of Science. Full-price admission for non-members to the garden alone (and not the other museum exhibits) is just $4.00 for adults, $3.50 for seniors, and $3.00 for children. If you’re a member, subtract two dollars from the full price that applies.

The Butterfly Garden is open during normal museum hours, with entry granted for 25-minute sessions every 15 minutes from opening to closing time. Take a look at a PDF copy of the Butterfly Garden Take-Home Guide to learn more about what the exhibit entails.

Note: The Museum of Science recommends advance reservations for the Butterfly Garden, and strollers are not permitted inside the exhibit.