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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Live Butterflies

Ticket Information

Hawk Moth sipping nectar from an orchid

General Information
While the exhibit Partners in Evolution is open to the public free of charge, there is an entry fee for admission to the Butterfly Pavilion at all times except Tuesday. Tuesdays are free but timed-entry tickets are required and can be obtained at the ticket desk outside the Butterfly Pavilion beginning at 10:00 a.m. each Tuesday. All other tickets should be purchased prior to the time visitors hope to visit the Pavilion. Please note, space is limited and entry will be according to published times. Ticket revenue keeps the Butterfly Pavilion operating and supports education activities throughout the Natural History Museum.

The Butterfly Pavilion is a brightly lit space filled with living plants and many different butterflies. The climate-controlled environment is kept at 80oF, and 80% humidity. It is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs, however, neither strollers nor tripods are permitted in the space.

Once in the Pavilion, there is nothing but air between the visitor and the butterflies.  They fly freely around the enclosure landing on plants and sometimes people, while feeding on fruit and nectar. The butterflies come from a variety of butterfly farms located around the world.  Visitors can get very close to these beautiful creatures, watching them fly and feed.  A case of hanging chrysalids makes it possible to see crumple-winged butterflies emerge as adults, pump fluid into their wings, and eventually fly away.

Ticket availability. Tickets can be purchased in advance in person at the Natural History Museum or online. Additional fees apply to Web purchases (see details below). Depending upon availability, tickets may also be purchased at the Museum or online on the day of your visit.

Tuesdays – no charge. Free timed-entry tickets are required and are available at the Butterfly Pavilion Box ticketing desks beginning at 10:00 a.m. each Tuesday. Pavilion capacity is limited; it is advisable to come early to secure tickets. Tickets for Tuesdays are not available online.

Timed entry. All tickets are for a specified entry time. Tickets are for timed-entry every 15 minutes beginning at 10:15 a.m. The last entry into the Pavilion is at 5:00 p.m.

Purchase tickets in person, available only at the National Museum of Natural History. Ticket desks are located outside of the entrance to the Butterfly Pavilion on the second floor and at the Information Desk in the Rotunda on the first floor.

Purchase tickets online up to a month in advance.

Special fees. There is a non-refundable $2.00 per order fee when ordering online.

Group sales. Discounts are available to groups of 10 or more purchasing tickets at least two weeks in advance. Groups must call 202-633-7516 to gook group rate tickets or to request more information. Representatives are available Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.(ET)
Group rate tickets are not available for purchase online or in person at the ticket desks.

Students and children: Each group of students or children must be accompanied by an adult, with at least one adult per 10 students or children.

Prices and Schedules are subject to change; in unforeseen circumstances, the Pavilion may be closed without notice.

  • Entry times are subject to change; call 202-633-7516 for current information.

Butterfly Pavilion location
The Pavilion is on the second floor at the Natural History Museum; it is off the Rotunda, above the Mammals Hall. The related exhibit, Partners in Evolution is adjacent to the Butterfly Pavilion and is free of charge. Museum maps and assistance are available at either of the two Information Desks, one in the Rotunda facing the National Mall (Madison Avenue), the other in the lobby facing Constitution Avenue.

Museum location
There are two Museum entrances. The north entrance is located at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. The south entrance is on Madison Avenue between 9th and 12th streets NW.

Credit: Illustration of Giant Hawk Moth (Xanthopan morganii praedicta) feeding on Madagascar Star Orchid (Angraecum sesquipedale) by Emily S. Damstra

Ticket Sales

Buy Tickets

Timed entry tickets are required for the Butterfly Pavilion.

Ticket Prices
Adults (13-59): $7.50
Seniors (60+): $7
Children(2 to 12): $6.50
Tuesdays: Free

Butterfly Pavilion
Daily Hours of Operation

Regular Hours:
First timed entry: 10:15 am
Last timed entry: 5:00 pm*

* Exceptions: The Butterfly Pavilion is closed on December 25.

Natural History
Ticket Desks


Group Sales

Ticketing FAQ

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