Meijer Gardens Butterflies are Back for 2021: 13 Smart Things to Know Before You Go – Plus a TICKET GIVEAWAY!

meijer gardens butterflies are blooming

Meijer Gardens Butterflies are Blooming Runs March 1 – April 30

If you are longing for a touch of spring, you’ll find it at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in March and April.

After a shortened run in 2020, we’re excited to welcome the Butterflies are Blooming exhibit back for a full 2 months in 2021.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some exhibition elements and activities have been altered to allow for physical distancing. In addition, due to State of Michigan guidelines, capacities have been limited. There may be times when admission will be delayed during peak hours.

Our family loves visiting the Butterflies are Blooming exhibit annually with cameras in tow. The exhibit (included with admission) returns annually every March and April with 7,000 tropical butterflies of 60 different species fluttering around the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory.

It’s a unique – and warm – 85 degree experience in 70% humidity.

And since I’ve gone to the exhibit every year since before I had kids, I’ve got tips for bringing all ages along to the Meijer Gardens butterflies.

Meijer Gardens Butterflies

Tips for Visiting Meijer Gardens Butterflies

1) Dress in Layers

It gets warm in the butterfly exhibit. The humidity is kept at 70% and when the sun is shining it feels downright tropical (85 degrees or warmer!). Leave your coat in the coat room (when you first enter Meijer Gardens) and have a short-sleeved shirt on under a sweater or long sleeve shirt.

Pro tip: Pack a bag of outdoor, winter clothes for the Children’s Garden. Leave it in the coatroom while you visit the butterflies and then head outside to play!

2) Wear Bright Colors

While you aren’t allowed to reach out and catch a butterfly, you can encourage them to land on you. (Please do not touch the butterflies.)

Chances of that increase if the butterfly is attracted to you, and they love bright colors.

FMG butterflies girl in butterfly dress Malski

3) Visit the Meijer Gardens Butterflies on a Sunny Day

Butterflies are most active when the sun is shining.

After dark, they settle down and can be found lounging around on the leaves of their favorite plants. If you do go after dark, bring a flashlight to see if you can spot them.

4) Go on a Weekday During the Late Afternoon

The best chance you have to get the “place to yourself” is to go around 3 PM on a weekday.

Most school-aged kids are still on the bus and the littles are probably still napping. If you can get that nap in early or your kids get out of school a little early, this is a great time to visit Meijer Gardens and see the butterflies.

We’ve also had good luck first thing in the morning!

Butterflies are Blooming Meijer Gardens
Butterfly Feeding Stations are Located Throughout the Exhibit

5) Park Your Stroller Outside of the Exhibit

Stroller parking is available outside the exhibit.

Space is tight inside of the conservatory and pushing a stroller in there is no fun. A baby carrier may be preferable for your little ones.

6) Spend Time with the Caterpillars

As you enter the exhibit, you will walk through a room filled with spring flowers and monarch butterfly caterpillars.

meijer gardens butterflies

Since these caterpillars are native to Michigan, they do not have to be contained like the butterflies in the larger exhibit do.

Find a docent and learn all about the life-cycle of a caterpillar as well as find them hiding on green leafy plants all over the room.


7) Grab a Brochure

Free guides are available at the information desk or on your way in.

My kids loved identifying the different types of butterflies while we were in the exhibit. The guide highlights all of the different butterflies and can turn your visit into an I Spy game.

FMG butterflies are blooming brochure

8) Butterfly Bungalow Observation Station is a Must

This is where butterfly chrysalises are pinned after Fed Ex delivers them to the Gardens.

Horticulturalists take great care of them, and butterflies are constantly emerging.

It’s exciting to see the different stages of life for the butterflies, and the wide variety offered.

Staff will release adult butterflies from the observation station throughout the day.

FMG butterflies life cycle Hunt

9) Watch a Release

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to watch a horticulturalist catch the butterflies and release them.

There is no set time for this, but if you see a uniformed person enter the Butterfly Bungalow, stick around because you might be in for a treat.

FMG Butterflies Are Blooming

10) Charge Your Camera

There aren’t many places that are as photogenic as Meijer Gardens.

Just make sure you arrive with a full battery and enough space to capture the memories. If your kids are old enough, consider letting them operate their own camera. The bright colors of the butterflies and flowers (in addition to the thrilled faces of your children) are keepers!

Meijer Gardens Butterflies feature image

11) Bring Your Flashlight

Bring your flashlight and search for butterflies with every Tuesday night in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory until 9 pm

12) Bring Clothes for a Trip Outdoors

If it’s not raining plan to play outside on your visit.

The Children’s Garden is a fantastic place for kids to blow off steam any time of year – even in snow pants. During the Meijer Gardens Butterflies exhibit, the Children’s Garden hosts special butterfly-themed activities:

  • 10:30 am Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri: Spring-themed storytimes about butterflies, moths, gardens, and rain.
  • Navigate the Butterfly Maze, discovering images of Michigan butterflies and moths along the way.
  • Play Monarch’s Journey, a life-sized game to experience a monarch butterfly’s journey by using your imagination & completing challenges.

If you’re visiting and would like a lovely walk, stroll the campus and be sure to stop by the Japanese Garden for waterfalls and other delights.

Of course, there is artwork to appreciate anywhere you turn.

13) Buy a Membership

Admission is $14.50 for adults and either $4 or $7 for kids (free for those 2 years old and under) while a one year family membership is $90.

If you think your family will go to the Christmas and Holiday Traditions and Butterflies are Blooming exhibits (both of which are must-dos in our family), membership is worth it.

A few member perks we love include:

  • Early Hours: The first full weekend of each month on Saturdays from 8 am – 9 am and Sundays from 9 am – 11 am are exclusive to members.
  • Presale and discounts on concerts, classes & workshops
  • Members-only event invitations
  • 10% off in the gift shop
Meijer Gardens Butterflies are Blooming feature image Hunt

Planning Your Visit

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park hours:

  • 9 am – 5 pm: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday
  • 9 am – 9 pm Tuesdays
  • 11 am – 5 pm Sundays

Extended Hours During April 2021

FMG will be open until at least 7 pm every day during April.

(Tuesday hours remain 9 am – 9 pm in April).

Win Tickets to Meijer Gardens Butterlies are Blooming

We’re giving away a family 4-pack of tickets to Meijer Gardens!

This giveaway will close on March 9, 2021, at 11 pm and the winner will be notified via email. The winner will have 24 hours to respond by email accepting the prize. No purchase necessary to enter the contest. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to and not to Facebook. Entrants will release Facebook from all liability. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age and reside in Michigan. Only one entry per household or IP address. Grand Rapids Kids’ liability is limited to the value of the prize.

Vote For Your Favorites & Win

We have another giveaway going on now through March 12.

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You could win a $200 gift card to the place of your choice!

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