Environmental Education, Field Trips

Learning about Butterflies

Learning about Butterflies

Originally published in TEACH Magazine, May/June 2020 Issue

How does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly? Your students can find out with a field trip to a butterfly conservatory where they can witness this fascinating metamorphosis. Observing the beauty and grace of these colourful creatures up close will certainly capture students’ interest, as you introduce them to the various stages of the butterfly life cycle. Here are some places to visit where kids can learn more about the lives of butterflies and how to keep them safe.

Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory
Cambridge, ON

Learning takes flight at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. The lush, tropical garden is home to thousands of free-flying butterflies. Students can marvel at these delicate creatures as they wander under the floral canopies or stop by the cascading waterfall. Field trips focus on inquiry and exploration, with a variety of curriculum-linked, hands-on activities.

Each education program is 90 minutes in length and students will experience three different interactive components: the butterfly conservatory that is also home to birds, fish, and turtles; the learning discovery room, where they will participate in several interactive activities; and the insect gallery, where students who are brave enough can meet some bugs up close and personal! A visit here will surely inspire curiosity and wonder about butterflies and other insects, as well as their importance in the natural world.

John’s Butterfly House
Medicine Hat, AB


Located inside the Windmill Garden Centre, John’s Butterfly House is a 5,000-square-foot tropical paradise filled with exotic plants and species of tropical butterflies such as the Blue Morpho, Atlas Moth, Paper Kite, Longwing, and many more. The Butterfly House is open May to October and contains around 500 butterflies at any given time. School tours are an hour long and include a tour of the garden and an emerging house where students can view the different butterflies in their chrysalis form. Large groups are offered discounted rates.

Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden
Winnipeg, MB

From late spring to early fall, this 2,000-square-foot exhibit is home to hundreds of butterfly varieties such as the Monarch, Painted Lady, Black Swallowtail, and Red Admiral. Outside, special plants attract local butterflies at all stages of their life cycle. Inside, the peaceful, pastoral garden features colourful perennial and annual flowers preferred by adult butterflies, as well as a container garden section, and interpretive information. A central area houses a hatchery, displays, and demonstration space.

Victoria Butterfly Gardens
Brentwood Bay, BC

Thousands of tropical butterflies, consisting of up to 70 species, flutter around this enormous garden. Along with the array of butterflies, visitors can also see poison dart frogs, flamingos, tortoises, tropical flowers, fruits, and much more. The garden is the size of almost three basketball courts, providing vast learning opportunities as visitors explore something unique around every corner. This educational trip takes requests for groups of ten or more so make sure to plan ahead!