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Olbrich's Blooming Butterflies

Blooming Butterflies

July 14 - August 7, 2022

10 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily

Open to Olbrich Members only July 13, 2022

Admission Prices

Admission paid at the door - no advance reservations

$8 - Adults (ages 13 & up)

$5 - Children (ages 6 - 12)

Free - ages 5 & under

Free for Olbrich Members

The Butterflies are Back!

Blooming Butterflies features up to 19 different species of free flying butterflies in the tropical Bolz Conservatory. Visitors make connections with these fluttering friends while learning about the butterfly life cycle. Two chrysalis cases provide opportunities to possibly witness a butterfly emerge from a chrysalis!

During Blooming Butterflies, the outdoor gardens spotlight relationships between plants and pollinators with an 'I SPY' Pollinators scavenger hunt. A pollinator themed children's book is displayed as a StoryWalk along Starkweather Creek. And every child that attends Blooming Butterflies receives a coupon for a free junior scoop from our friends at Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream!

You can prepare for your visit by watching the Blooming Butterflies welcome video.

The life span of different butterflies varies from a few weeks to a few months. All flying butterflies live out their natural lives in the Conservatory, with food sources remaining for them after the exhibit dates.

Butterfly Action Day

Butterfly Action DayFriday, July 29
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

No cost to attend or participate, but there is a separate cost to enter Blooming Butterflies.

Join us for a special day with representatives from local monarch conservation organizations! Interactive displays focused on monarch butterflies will highlight what you can do to help the population. Monarchs make one of the longest known insect migration on earth and everyone can make a difference in supporting their spectacular journey!

To see how Olbrich staff and volunteers prepare for Olbrich's Blooming Butterflies, visit

Behind the Scenes of Blooming Butterflies

Butterfly Identification Guide (PDF)


Pollinator Bingo

Play POLLINATOR BINGO (PDF)  in your yard, a local park, or one of these nature areas:



Butterflies drink nectar from flowers using their proboscis. While feeding from flowers butterflies get pollen on their feet and body which they carry to other flowers.

Fallen Leaves
The vast majority of butterflies and moths overwinter as an egg or chrysalis. Many butterflies, beetles, bees, and moths use fallen leaves as shelter during cold months. One of the most valuable things gardeners can do to support pollinators is to leave fallen leaves and dead plant material standing over winter.
Purple Aster
Experiments have shown that bees are particularly attracted to purple flowers, likely due to purple flowers often being the most nectar-rich flowers. Look for purple flowers such as Prairie Clover, Gentian, and Aster.
Most moths fly at night, so they are attracted to pale or white flowers with a heavy fragrance. Visit Olbrich Gardens' moonlight meadow to see a wide variety of white flowering plants such as Rattlesnake Master, Coneflower, and Goat's-Beard.
Oak Tree
Oak trees support the caterpillars of 500+ species of butterflies and moths. Caterpillars are a critical food source for 96% of song birds. Wisconsin is home to a variety of Oaks, including Burr Oak, Swamp White Oak, and Chinkapin Oak.
Red Milkweed Beetle
Around 40% of all insects on earth are beetles, making them the largest group of pollinating animals in the world. Beetles pollinate flowers while eating petals, pollen, or other plant material.
Bumblebees are much more efficient pollinators than honeybees. They pollinate by 'buzzing', rapidly vibrating, which releases large amounts of pollen. The pollen sticks to their hairy bodies and is transferred to another flower the bumblebee visits.
Blackeyed Susan
Flowers have evolved to have vibrant colors that attract pollinators. Red or yellow plants are known to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Look for yellow flowers such as Blackeyed Susan, Goldenrod, and False Sunflower.
Just like us, bees and butterflies need water to survive. So when they are thirsty they will seek out puddles. Drinking from puddles and moist soil also provides insects with essential minerals and salts.

Member Preview Day

Butterfly in Olbrich's Bolz ConservatoryWednesday, July 13, 2022

10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Be the first to see the live butterflies in the Bolz Conservatory! Olbrich members get an exclusive sneak peak of the exhibit one day before we open to the public.

This preview event is open to Olbrich members only. To become a member, call 246-4724 or visit our Membership page for more information!



Group Visits to Olbrich's Blooming Butterflies

School groups, daycares, camps, bus tours, and other groups are welcome to visit Olbrich's Blooming Butterflies. We hope you will join us for this truly amazing event and register your group for a visit.

Groups larger than 10 people must register in advance. Please contact Education Registrar Rebecca Benedict at 608-245-3648 or rbenedict@cityofmadison.com to schedule a time for your group to visit so we can provide the best experience possible for your group as well as other visitors.

Limited dates and times may be available for group visits.

For adult groups visiting, one group leader will receive free admission into the exhibit. For youth groups visiting, one adult per every eight children will receive free admission into the exhibit, and any additional adults will be charged the regular admission pricing.

Payment can be made on arrival with the Event Manager. Cash, check, debit or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover) are accepted. Please do not bring carry-in food or drink into the building. Outdoor picnic areas are available nearby.


Accessibility at Olbrich's Blooming Butterflies

Wheelchairs and motorized scooters are allowed in the Bolz Conservatory during Blooming Butterflies. For more information about Olbrich's wheelchairs and scooters available for use, please visit the Accessibility Page.



For the enjoyment of all visitors, the use of strollers is discouraged inside the Conservatory. Stroller parking is available in the lobby.




John J. Frautschi Family Foundation

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream


Media Partners


Madison Media Partners



Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719