CLOSED For the season. This exhibit will reopen in May 2024.
The Whispering Wings Butterfly Exhibit will be open daily from May – September, 10 am – 2 pm. It is free for members and free with Gardens’ admission for all others.
This seasonal exhibit features a lush garden filled with tropical plants where hundreds of butterflies soar through the air or perch on your shoulders.
The butterflies in the Whispering Wings Butterfly Exhibit, known familiarly to fans as just The Butterfly House, include Gulf Fritillary, Monarch, Zebra Longwing, Giant Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, and American Lady.
In addition to being beautiful (and even a little magical), wild butterflies are important to the environment. They are important pollinators, provide natural pest control, and are an important part of the food chain for birds and bats. The number of butterflies you see in an environment also indicates the environment's health for other pollinators. We are fortunate to have many wild butterflies that make their homes in the Gardens. If you visited the wildflower meadow in the Arboretum last summer, you saw an environment teeming with butterflies, moths, and bees.
Unfortunately, butterflies are threatened. Extremes in temperature, strong storms, pesticides, habitat loss, and deforestation are just a few of the issues that can make life difficult for butterflies.
The inhabitants of Brookgreen’s butterfly exhibit are hatched and raised in captivity and sent to us specifically to populate the exhibit. Since these are not native insects, even though they may be a species that is native to the area, the exhibit must conform to the USDA containment guidelines for educational displays. That means none of these butterflies may be released into the native ecosystem, and we have protocols to ensure none of them “sneak out,” possibly by catching a ride on a guest!
Just outside of the Butterfly House, guests may notice milkweed gardens or stalks of milkweed, depending on how many Monarch caterpillars have found them! Brookgreen is a certified Monarch Waystation through Monarch Watch. If you want to use your home garden to provide a home and food for butterflies and caterpillars, head over to www.monarchwatch.com. There you can find all the details of the Monarch Waystation program and tips to make your garden a butterfly resort!
Part of Brookgreen’s mission is to educate our guests about the importance of native species to the environment. This exhibit enables us to share the importance and beauty of these fragile creatures.