Butterflies at the Zoo
Walking through a giant caterpillar, become immersed into a world of amazing and beautiful butterflies and moths from around the globe. Become lost in the rich variety of species as they delicately flutter around you, seeking out plants on which to feed and rest.
Our Butterfly Paradise habitat showcases species from around the world. Visitors can learn more about the conservation of this diverse insect group, from species recovery programmes, community-based habitat protection initiatives and climate change issues.
In 1981 we created the first exhibit developed exclusively for invertebrates. It featured mainly butterflies and moths - making it the world's first butterfly house!
Designed to resemble a giant caterpillar, Butterfly Paradise is a walk-through tropical haven, carefully planted and heated to a balmy 27 degrees to provide the perfect habitat for the beautiful invertebrates, which fly freely overhead in the exotic environment.
Experience the 'walk through'
Butterfly Paradise itself was launched in May 2006 and it showcases a vast array of butterfly species in a carefully created ‘walk though’ environment, offering visitors the opportunity to learn more about life cycles, biodiversity and climate change.
Hundreds of butterflies have been chosen to represent some of the 100,000 species that exist on the planet. All butterflies are forest-species from the shrinking tropics of South-East Asia, Central and South America and East Africa.
Butterfly Paradise is an ever changing environment that is obvious not only in the development of the flora and fauna, but also in that it illustrates the entire lifecycle of a butterfly.
Alongside the free flying butterflies in the exhibit, there is also a pupae holding room where visitors can see a vast array of beautiful pupae develop and butterflies eventually emerge. We breeds some species, but most do arrive as pupae, from butterfly farms in native areas. It gives community business a sustainable income that does not do further damage to the forests.
Highlights to look out for include tiny butterfly eggs, giant caterpillars and butterfly feeding stations.
Tropical plants at the Zoo
The plants within Butterfly Paradise took a lot of careful planning as they provide not only a beautiful backdrop to this amazing experience but, more importantly, both nectar and breeding areas for the butterfly and larvae.
In order to get the planting just right the Invertebrate team worked very closely with the Horticultural department at ZSL, who not only supplied a vast amount of specialist knowledge about how plants interact with butterflies, but also did all the actual sourcing and storage until the exhibit was ready for planting.
With each visit to Butterfly Paradise you are sure to see an ever changing backdrop of plants as they grow and develop.