Butterfly Conservatory

Now Open!

Butterflies have long been admired for their beauty and grace, but often fail to receive the appreciation they so earnestly deserve for their role in plant pollination. Pollinators, such as bees, ants, and butterflies, are partly responsible for one out of every three bites of food you eat!

An estimated 87.5% of all flowering plants on the earth need help with pollination—they need pollinators. Pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1,200 crops. Without pollination, most crops would simply fail to bear fruit and eventually become extinct—as would the animals that rely on them for sustenance.

Pollinators are vital economically, adding 217 billion dollars to the global economy. In the United States, honeybees alone are responsible for between 1.2 and 5.4 billion dollars in agricultural productivity in the United States. Pollinators support healthy ecosystems that clean the air, stabilize soils, protect from severe weather, and support other wildlife. Tragically, a host of environmental imbalances are decimating many Florida pollinator populations. For example, Florida monarch butterfly populations have dropped an alarming 80% since 2005!

The Monarch butterfly has recently been added to the endangered species list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The US Fish and Wildlife placed the imperiled butterfly on the waiting list for Endangered Species Act Protection and will propose listing it in 2024.

Researchers believe that shrinking populations of native milkweed (the monarch’s host plant), due in part to a boost in the use of the herbicide glyphosate (lethal to milkweed), is responsible. Less milkweed means less habitat, and less habitat means less monarch butterflies, an essential food source for birds and mice. These chain effects inevitably undermine the entire ecosystem.


Protecting butterflies requires both conservation and education. Educating individuals about butterfly life cycles, migration patterns, and ecological roles cultivates an appreciation for these animals and encourages people of all walks of life to invest in and protect native butterfly habitats, promoting their survival and ensuring that their crucial role in the ecosystem continues.

Flamingo Gardens’ new Butterfly Conservatory is an effective way to offer individuals engaging, fun, and interactive opportunities to learn about these key players in our ecosystem and the inseparable connection between their survival and our own. Housed in a screened pavilion and furnished with native nectar and host plants, the exhibit provides the perfect environment for Florida native butterflies to thrive at all stages of their life cycle while providing visitors an opportunity to discover more about these unique pollinators and their native habitat.

Our Pollinator Repopulation Program allows students to learn about the importance of butterflies as pollinators and the butterfly lifecycle through hands-on, interactive classes in which they can experience all stages of the butterfly lifecycle before releasing the butterflies used in the class. Putting our own teaching into practice, we strive to release nearly 12,000 butterflies from our conservatory every year, with weekly if not daily releases, to help re-establish native butterfly populations throughout the gardens and in the wild.

The Butterfly Conservatory provides a supportive environment for raising Broward County-native butterflies for release, all while education and engaging our guests. The 1,600 square-foot building houses a variety of native hosts and nectar plants, along with rocks for the butterflies to sun themselves, “puddlers” and nectar trays for water and supplemental food, and butterfly “houses” – simple wooden boxes with thin slits that serve as butterfly sleeping quarters. A live display portrays the life cycle of the butterfly.

In keeping with our mission, the Butterfly Conservatory serves to perpetuate and protect native butterfly and plant populations all while educating the public about these vital pollinators and the need to conserve them.

A peek inside our Butterfly Conservatory

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