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HomeEventSixteenth Annual Exhibition of Live Butterflies at the American Museum of Natural History - October 12, 2013-May...

Sixteenth Annual Exhibition of Live Butterflies at the American Museum of Natural History – October 12, 2013-May 26, 2014



The Butterfly Conservatory:  Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter

OCTOBER 12, 2013–May 26, 2014

Featuring  Butterflies from all over the world

Museum-of-Natural-History-LogoThe Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter, an annual favorite visited by millions of children and adults, returns to the American Museum of Natural History on October 12. Celebrating its 16th year at the Museum, this popular winter attraction transforms the iciest day into a summer escape, inviting visitors to mingle with up to 500 fluttering, iridescent butterflies among blooming tropical flowers and lush green vegetation in 80-degree temperatures. The Butterfly Conservatory will be on view through May 26, 2014.

“The Butterfly Conservatory is a joyful, enchanting, and educational exhibition for both children and adults, and truly transports visitors out of their everyday lives into a magical setting teeming with color and flourishing life,” said Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History. “That’s why it’s one of our most popular exhibitions. We are proud to present this magical and beautiful exhibition that offers an instructive interactive experience and a unique opportunity to observe the diversity of nature in a re-created tropical forest environment filled with butterflies.”

The Butterfly Conservatory

ButterflyVisitors interact with butterflies inside a 1,200-square-foot vivarium, a freestanding structure aflutter with activity, while strolling along a winding pathway surrounded by tropical plants and vibrant blossoms including Pentas and Ixora. Powerful halide lamps shine down from the ceiling, simulating the sunlight that streams through a rain forest. Outside the vivarium, visitors can watch through transparent walls as monarchs, zebra longwings, paper kites, and other butterfly species flutter among people and plants.

The conservatory’s butterflies come from farms in Florida, Costa Rica, Kenya, Thailand, Malaysia, Ecuador, and Australia. Featured species include iridescent blue morpho butterflies, striking scarlet swallowtails, large owl butterflies, and beautiful green birdwings. Because the average life span of a butterfly is only two to three weeks, roughly 500 butterfly pupae will be shipped to the Museum weekly for the duration of the exhibit, and the butterflies will be released into the vivarium after emerging. Other pupae hang in a case in the vivarium, giving visitors a firsthand look as adult butterflies emerge from the chrysalis and fly away only hours after adjusting to their new surroundings. Video screens outside the vivarium will also display a short film about this process.

Colorful educational displays outside the vivarium explain the life cycle of butterflies, the worldwide efforts to protect their diverse habitats, and the variety of butterfly species in New York State. Visitors can learn about interesting adaptations, from the colored scales that form butterfly wings’ intricate designs to the intriguing relationships between butterflies and other animal species (monarchs, for example, are toxic to birds). Other panels explain how scientists rely on wild butterflies to gauge the health of an ecosystem and how the Museum’s butterfly specimens offer a wealth of information to butterfly and moth researchers around the world.


The Butterfly Conservatory is curated by David Grimaldi, curator in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology. The design director is David Harvey, senior vice president for exhibition.

Generous support for The Butterfly Conservatory has been provided by the Eileen P. Bernard Exhibition Fund.

American Museum of Natural History (amnh.org)

The American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869, is one of the world¹s preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions. The Museum encompasses 45 permanent exhibition halls, including the Rose Center for Earth and Space and the Hayden Planetarium, as well as galleries for temporary exhibitions. It is home to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, New York State’s official memorial to its 33rd governor and the nation’s 26th president, and a tribute to Roosevelt’s enduring legacy of conservation. The Museum’s five active research divisions and three cross-disciplinary centers support 200 scientists, whose work draws on a world-class permanent collection of more than 32 million specimens and artifacts, as well as specialized collections for frozen tissue and genomic and astrophysical data, and one of the largest natural history libraries in the world. Through its Richard Gilder Graduate School, it is the only American museum authorized to grant the Ph.D. degree. In 2012, the Museum began offering a pilot Master of Arts in Teaching program with a specialization in Earth science. Approximately 5 million visitors from around the world came to the Museum last year, and its exhibitions and Space Shows can be seen in venues on five continents. The Museum’s website and collection of apps for mobile devices extend its collections, exhibitions, and educational programs to millions more beyond its walls. Visit amnh.org for more information.

At the American Museum of Natural History

The Museum offers a broad array of programs for adults, children, families, students, educators, and scientists. These range from special exhibitions to symposia, lecture series, workshops, and film festivals. Highlights include Natural Histories (October 19, 2013–October 12, 2014) an exhibition of reproductions from more than 20 rare and beautifully illustrated scientific works inspired by the book Natural Histories: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library; Frogs: A Chorus of Colors (May 18, 2013–January 5, 2014), more than 150 live frogs are on display in this delightful exhibition introducing visitors to the colorful and richly diverse world of frogs; Whales: Giants of the Deep (March 23, 2013–January 5, 2014), an exhibition that transports visitors to the vibrant underwater world of the mightiest animals on Earth; Picturing Science: Museum Scientists and Imaging Technologies (June 25, 2011–Spring 2014), an exhibition of more than 20 sets of striking large-format prints, showcasing advanced imaging technologies used by scientists at the American Museum of Natural History and revealing once-hidden, intricate details of both natural phenomena and cultural artifacts; Journey to the Stars, a Hayden Planetarium Space Show narrated by Whoopi Goldberg; and a year-round calendar of engaging and educational public programs that feature dynamic encounters with living cultures and authentic science.


The Museum is open daily, 10 am–5:45 pm. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Museum admission is free to all New York City school and camp groups.

Suggested general admission, which supports the Museum’s scientific and educational endeavors and offers access to the Museum’s 45 halls including the Rose Center for Earth and Space, is $22 (adults) suggested, $17 (students/seniors) suggested, $12.50 (children) suggested. All prices are subject to change.

The Museum offers discounted combination ticket prices that include suggested general admission plus special exhibitions, IMAX films, and Space Shows.

o   Museum Plus One includes one special exhibition, IMAX film, or Space Show: $27 (adults), $22 (students/seniors), $16 (children)

o   Museum Supersaver includes all special exhibitions, IMAX film, and Space Show: $35 (adults), $28 (students/seniors), $22 (children)

Visitors who wish to pay less than the suggested Museum admission and also purchase a ticket to attend a special exhibition, IMAX film, or Space Show may do so on-site at the Museum. To the amount they wish to pay for general admission, they add $25 (adults), $20.50 (students/seniors), or $13.50 (children) for a Space Show, special exhibition, or IMAX film.

Public Information

For additional information, the public may call 212-769-5100 or visit the Museum’s website at amnh.org.

Prepare for your Museum visit by downloading the new American Museum of Natural History Explorer App, a groundbreaking enhanced navigation tool available for free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at www.iTunes.com/appstore/. The Explorer pinpoints your location within the Museum and offers turn-by-turn directions and customized tours, a fossil treasure hunt, and social media links for posting to Facebook and Twitter.


Become a fan of the Museum on Facebook at facebook.com/naturalhistory, or visit twitter.com/AMNH to follow us on Twitter.


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