Butterflies in Flight – Museum of Nature in Ottawa

Butterflies in flight, museum Nature, Ottawa

Have you ever had a butterfly land on your hand? Have you ever looked closely at a butterfly’s eyes, or the patterns on its wings? Do you need a break from the wicked cold we’ve been having here in Ottawa, Canada? The Canadian Museum of Nature has a beautiful exhibit called Butterflies in Flight, where children and adults of all ages can have a close encounter with winged beauties.

Presented by Essential Costa Rica, the exhibition features butterflies supplied by two sustainable farms in Costa Rica which are transported to the Museum during their Pupal stage. Visitors can see the pupae hanging in the Animal Care room. An informative chart helps visitors identify the pupa and its associated butterfly.

Butterfly chart, Museum of Nature, Ottawa

Science Interpreter MarieveThe butterflies are housed in the solarium. Mimicking a tropical forest with an ambient temperature of 27C, visitors walk about while observing butterflies in flight or resting and eating on pieces of fruits. The exhibit is time-ticketed as the solarium accommodate up to 25 visitors at a time. It is best to buy your tickets online to reserve your spot at your scheduled visit time; you can also get tickets at the arrival of your visit, but due to the popularity of this exhibit, there may not be any tickets left during your visit.

The friendly staff members explain the rules of the solarium to help ensure the butterflies are not handled or, even worse, stepped on my mistake. The butterflies will land on brightly coloured clothing, and at times, even on one’s head! During my visit, Science Interpreter Marieve Perron spoke to visitors, answered their questions and helped children learn about the butterflies.She often asked the children if they wanted to let a butterfly sit on their sleeve or hand. She definitely was suited for this type of work as she was constantly surrounded by inquisitive children.

I really enjoy macro photography, and I had many opportunities to zoom in on these magnificent creatures. Here are a few of my favorite captures.

Butterflies close up, nature museum

Notice the curly proboscis (feeding tube) that curl when not in use. The body of the butterfly can either be matching the wings or different but with the same colours. I really am in awe of the variety of patterns in wings, and the complex details of some like the middle one called the Owl Butterfly. I think the pose of the butterfly on the right seems rather regal!

butterflies on my finger

The left and middle picture is the Malachite butterfly. Look at its big colourful eyes! The butterfly on the right is the Blue Morpho. Notice how the bottom of the wings are very dark and patterned and the top iridescent blue.

There are more things to see and do outside of the solarium. One can learn which flowers best attract butterflies, or how to make an origami butterfly.  There are fun stations where kids can play with plush animals and birds, and additional hands-on activities are offered during holidays and weekends.

how to make an origami butterfly

You can also see a new 3D movie, Amazon Adventure which tells the story of Henry Bates who spent 11 years studying wildlife in the Amazon.

Butterflies in Flight will run until April 2nd. For more information, access the Plan Your Visit page of the Canadian Museum of Nature site.

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apptraveler

Retired exec consultant who traveled for more than 4 decades, both corporate and leisure. I appreciate my travel experience and want to share tips, photos and stories with readers! I live in Ottawa Canada and have traveled to 31 countries.

26 thoughts on “Butterflies in Flight – Museum of Nature in Ottawa

  • January 8, 2018 at 4:41 pm
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    What a beautiful place. We have visited smaller versions of butterfly gardens ato our local botanical gardens. Both gardens had different butterflies. One was tropical and the other were more common in this area. One of my favorite places to visit.

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    • January 9, 2018 at 12:37 pm
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      Hi Rose! Thanks for your comments. I have seen both regional and tropical butterflies and the tropical ones are much more colourful, but either types are amazing.

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  • January 8, 2018 at 5:35 pm
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    This sounds so amazing. I love the last picture of your butterflies, with the blue on the inside. Butterflies are definitely an interesting and fascinating bug!

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    • January 9, 2018 at 12:36 pm
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      Hi Angela, thanks for your comments. Isn’t that particular butterfly so amazing! The wings bottoms are mottled and dark to allow for blending in nature when they are at rest, yet the top of their wings are of such a gorgeous blue! Amazing!

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  • January 8, 2018 at 6:04 pm
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    I love going to butterfly solariums. So many beautiful creates all in one place.

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    • January 9, 2018 at 12:35 pm
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      Hi Jennifer, Thanks for your comments. Butterflies are beautiful creatures!

      Reply
  • January 8, 2018 at 9:53 pm
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    Great post. Our favorite spot at the Bronx Zoo is the Butterfly Pavilion! I am going to vote now Good Luck!

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    • January 9, 2018 at 12:34 pm
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      Thanks Nisi for your comments and your vote! Both are much appreciated.

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  • January 8, 2018 at 10:46 pm
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    I love butterflies, they are so pretty! I’ve been to a few places where you can go in the butterfly room and have been able to feed them before, it’s so much fun!

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    • January 9, 2018 at 12:34 pm
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      Hi Stephanie, thanks for your comments. I really enjoying observing their flight and the brilliant colours of their wings!

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  • January 9, 2018 at 12:21 am
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    I wish I was able to see stuff like this, great blog post!

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  • January 9, 2018 at 4:11 pm
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    I love visiting butterfly gardens where they fly around and land on you. Your photos are beautiful, and this looks like a great place!

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    • January 21, 2018 at 6:25 pm
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      Hi Lois, and thanks for your comments. I am happy you enjoyed my photos – it was a great opportunity to get to know these creatures

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  • January 9, 2018 at 5:21 pm
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    I love butterflies, so seeing all these photos is a treat! This museum sounds spectacular too.

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    • January 21, 2018 at 6:24 pm
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      Thanks Sarah for your comments – I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.

      Reply
  • January 9, 2018 at 5:49 pm
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    I don’t think I’ve ever really paid attention to butterflies. But I really like museums and those patterns on their skin are so unique and cool.

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    • January 21, 2018 at 6:26 pm
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      Hi Claire, thanks for your comments. I have to admit that as a photographer, the wings of butterflies really offer a lot of great photo ops!

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  • January 10, 2018 at 12:53 am
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    I enjoyed reading this as I love butterflies. There is a butterfly house at the local zoo and I’m always terrified that I’m going to step on one.

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    • January 21, 2018 at 6:23 pm
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      Hi Zoe, thanks for your comments – and I will admit that I was also worried about stepping on any butterflies – the slow shuffle seemed to work well!

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    • January 21, 2018 at 6:22 pm
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      Hi April, thanks for your comments. I haven’t seen a 3D at the museum yet, but it’s on my to-do list for sure!

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  • January 10, 2018 at 8:09 am
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    My kids have always loved going to butterfly exhibits at museums. Great photos.

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    • January 21, 2018 at 6:22 pm
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      Thanks Jill for your comments, and I am glad you enjoyed the photos!

      Reply
  • January 11, 2018 at 1:22 am
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    I love butterflies. They’re so pretty. I’d like to make a trip to Ottawa but I don’t think I’ll make it before this exhibit is over which is a shame because I’d really like to see it.

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    • January 21, 2018 at 6:21 pm
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      Hi Krystal, thanks for your comments. If you get a chance to visit Ottawa, you would appreciate the exhibit!

      Reply

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