Highlights of the exhibition

Peek inside the Sensational Butterflies exhibition in our highlights slideshow. Find out some of the great things to do and spot inside the tropical butterfly house.

Butterfly house exterior.

Step into the colourful butterfly house on the Museum’s east lawn. Explore the fascinating life cycle of these amazing insects, from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis and then spectacular butterfly.

A blue morpho butterfly rests on a young visitor.

Come face to face with 100s of free-flying tropical butterflies, like this beautiful blue morpho (Morpho peleides). Some may even land on you. The blue morpho, from South America, is one of the largest butterflies in the world. 

Butterflies mating

You may even spot butterflies mating, like these two egg flies (Hypolimnas sp.) caught on camera by our photographer.
Just like us, butterflies have five senses: hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste. You'll learn about these on your journey through the butterfly house.

A row of crysalises in the hatchery.

In the hatchery you’ll find rows of pupae. These cases protect the developing butterfly during a process called metamorphosis.  

Watch as butterflies and moths emerge from their pupae, like this tree nymph (Idea leuconoe).

Tree nymph butterflies.

The striking malachite (Siproeta stelenes), found throughout Central and northern South America, is one of more than 30 species of butterfly you'll see in the exhibition. Others will appear later in the spring and summer months, including favourites such as huge Atlas moths and dazzling zebra longwings.

Butterfly feeding

The feeding table is always crowded with owl butterflies (Caligo sp.), pictured here. This butterfly species likes gulping up liquid from rotting fruit and dung. Other butterflies feed on flower nectar as well.

Butterfly eggs.

Watch out for eggs on the butterfly trail. A butterfly's life begins with a tiny egg laid on the leaf or stem of a plant. Butterfly eggs come in different shapes and colours. These are owl butterfly eggs.

The female butterfly takes great care to find the right place to lay her eggs – on or near the caterpillar’s favourite food plant. Inside each egg is a curled up caterpillar.

Collect stamps on your stamper card

Take the butterfly challenge. Get your butterfly stamper card from the ticket office and collect stamps as you follow the trail of fascinating butterfly facts.

To get a glimpse inside the secret world of butterflies, look out for the interactive displays.

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