Explore life as an amazing butterfly

Press release - 31 March 2008

Amazing Butterflies at the Natural History Museum

Explore life as an amazing butterfly

5 April – 17 August 2008

From chomping caterpillars to beautiful butterflies, the Natural History Museum comes alive this summer with a tropical butterfly house and giant outdoor maze.

Shrink down into the undergrowth, enter an interactive maze as a caterpillar and find your way through a secret wild world as grass and leaves tower above your head. Choose the right route and emerge as a beautiful butterfly. But beware. The maze hides dead-ends, and down these lurk poisonous plants and predators waiting to pounce. Throughout the maze follow the nursery rhyme-style text and collect stamps on your visiting card to record your progress.

As you wander round our maze

Look for friends and games to play

Choose which way you want to go

Hurry up and don’t be slow…

Welcome all new caterpillars, cabbage whites and grizzled skippers

Work your way through the first part of the maze and discover what life is like for a newly hatched caterpillar. With a series of fun interactive games, find out if you can: climb leaves like the best creepy crawlies, defend caterpillars against a team of parasitic wasps and avoid meeting a sticky end by getting entangled in the deadly Velcro passionflower.

Find friends to see if you can work as a team to walk like a caterpillar. Caterpillars move by contracting the muscles in the rear back segments, pushing the blood forward unto the front segments and stretching their body. The interactive game mimics this movement, so you and your friends have to work in unison to move forward – it’s harder than it looks.

You are changing, can you see, which butterfly you soon will be?

After the trials and tribulations of life as a caterpillar, see if you fare any better as a butterfly. Climb into a chrysalis and emerge to flap the wings of an enormous butterfly.

As a newly emerged butterfly, there is still lots to learn in the second part of the maze. Find out which smells help to attract butterfly mates, what you can do to look after butterflies, and what food is their favourite. Most importantly, try not to get trapped in a huge spider’s web and eaten by a hungry arachnid.

It’s your turn now to fly and glide, on our brilliant long zip slide.

push yourself into the sky, you’re a gorgeous butterfly.

Then enter the tropical butterfly house where you’ll be face to face with hundreds of colourful butterflies. Watch them emerge from their chrysalises, see them feed at the feeding station and look in awe at the huge atlas moth.

Designed for families, especially children under 12, this unmissable new family exhibition gives you the chance to discover all about these amazing insects.

Visitor information

Opening times: Monday to Sunday 10.00–16.00
Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000
Admission: £5, £3.50 concessions, £14 family (up to five, minimum one adult, maximum two). Free for Members, Patrons and children aged three and under.
Booking: www.nhm.ac.uk/amazing-butterflies
A £1.50 transaction fee per booking applies on
all advance tickets
Nearest tube: South Kensington


Notes for editors

• All text in bold is taken from the Amazing Butterflies exhibition
• Selected by Time Out in 2007 as one of the Seven Wonders of London, the Natural History Museum is also a world-leading science research centre. Through its collections and scientific expertise, the Museum is helping to conserve the extraordinary richness and diversity of the natural world with groundbreaking projects in 68 countries.
• The entomology collections at the Natural History Museum total an estimated 28 million specimens. Of these, 8,712,000 are butterflies and moths.