Meijer Gardens Butterflies are Blooming Exhibit with Kids

If you are longing for a touch of spring, you’ll find it at Frederik Meijer Gardens right now.

Every year our family treks over to the Butterflies are Blooming exhibit with cameras in tow. The exhibit returns annually every March and April with 7,000 different butterflies of 50 different species fluttering around the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory.

It’s a very unique and warm 85 degree experience.

And since I’ve gone to the exhibit multiple times over the past few years, I’ve got tips for bringing all ages along to the Meijer Gardens butterflies.

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Top Tips for Visiting the Meijer Gardens Butterflies with Kids

DRESS IN LAYERS: It gets really warm in the butterfly exhibit. The humidity is kept at 70% and when the sun is shining it feels downright tropical. A short-sleeved shirt under a jacket is the way to go.

WEAR BRIGHT COLORS: While you aren’t allowed to reach out and catch a butterfly, you can encourage them to land on you. Chances of that increase if the butterfly is attracted to you, and they love bright colors.

GO 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 and see if you can spot them.

VISIT DURING THE LATE AFTERNOON ON A WEEKDAY: I’ve found 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. So… 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.

PLAN TO PARK YOUR STROLLER: 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.

SPEND TIME WITH THE CATERPILLARS: As you enter the exhibit, you will walk through a room filled with spring flowers and monarch butterfly caterpillars. 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.Meijer Gardens Butterflies

GRAB A GUIDE 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.

BUTTERFLY BUNGALOW 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 the butterflies are constantly emerging. It’s wonderful to see the different stages of life for the butterflies, and the wide variety offered.

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.

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!

MEMBERSHIP, ANYONE? Admission is $14.50 for adults and either $4 or $7 for kids (free for those 2 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), a membership is worth it.

If You Go

HOURS: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Tuesday from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

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