Butterfly Garden

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Walk among the free-flying residents of this warm conservatory filled with exotic plants. Overlooking the Charles River, this tropical oasis offers a wonderful opportunity to get close to a variety of living butterflies from New England and across the globe.

The "Emergence Box" offers a window into the butterfly behavior that most powerfully stirs the human imagination: the metamorphosis from earthbound caterpillar to winged adult. Look inside to see hanging chrysalids transform into adult butterflies. If you're lucky, you might see a new butterfly crawl out of its casing or a recently emerged adult pump fluid into its wings.

In other displays and activities, learn about the four radically different stages of the butterfly life cycle: egg, caterpillar, chrysalid, and adult. Witness some of the ways that butterfly colors and wing patterns give them protection strategies such as camouflage, warning coloration, and mimicry. Finally, explore terrariums with a variety of live specimens that offer insight into the butterfly's relationship to its animal and insect ancestors.

Reservation: Tickets required; school groups should reserve at least two weeks in advance.

Photos © Tom Kates

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