Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s annual Butterflies Are Blooming exhibition opens March 1 and runs through April 30.

Butterflies Are Blooming will mark 20 years by bringing more than 7,000 tropical butterflies to West Michigan.

More than 170,000 people visit the exhibit each year, Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park officials said.

About 50 colorful species will fly freely in the five-story Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory, which is set at 85 degrees and 70 percent humidity.

The butterflies are from Africa, Asia, South America and Central America.

“Our butterflies arrive from tropical regions all over the world, but this year, we’re focusing on the diversity and richness of species from Central and South America,” said Steve LaWarre, director of horticulture. “Over half of our butterflies come from this region, so guests can learn more intimate details about species like the morphos and longwings, among others.”

Included in the species arriving from this area are the Columbian and Common Morpho, two familiar visitor favorites whose blue iridescent color seems to change in flight. Longwing butterflies are another species from Central and South America. Their patterns and colors vary depending on the region of origin. The Doris, Blue, Yellow and Tiger Longwing, in addition to the Postman and Small Postman, can all be found in this exhibition.

More than 800 pupae arrive at Meijer Gardens weekly. Visitors can watch as chrysalides and cocoons are placed in the Butterfly Bungalow, where adult butterflies spread their wings for the first time.

The Caterpillar Room, located in the Seasonal Display Greenhouse, features Monarch caterpillars.

Visitors can watch as the caterpillars feed on milkweed plants. After two weeks of growth, the caterpillars will look for a suitable place to form their chrysalides.

New Name For Exhibition

Meijer Gardens has also announced a new title for the exhibit, which will permanently be known as the Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming.

Dorothy Fichter loved butterflies. Before she died in March 2014 at the age of 91 years old, she and her husband, Fred Fichter, looked forward to the opening of the annual exhibition.

To honor the memories they shared, Fred Fichter made a generous gift to become the permanent title sponsor.

Who Am I?: A Butterfly Ballet

The Who Am I?: A Buttefly Ballet is a special event on two Saturdays in March: March 7 and 21 at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. both dates.

The fee to attend is $5 for Meijer Gardens members and $8 non-members; and it is free for children ages 2 years old and younger.

Choreographed by Attila Mosolygo, it is performed by members of the Grand Rapids Ballet Junior Company and narrated by Errol Shewman.

Developed in collaboration with Grand Rapids Ballet, the performances highlight characteristics of butterflies through dance. The story is told through the eyes of a newly emerged butterfly.

Participate in interactive dance activities before the performance and take advantage of photo-ops on stage with the dancers after.

Register online at MeijerGardens.org or call (616) 975-3147.

An American Sign Language interpreter will be provided for the 10 a.m. performance on March 21 (Reservations for this service are required, please call 616-975-3184 by March 7).

Children’s Activities

Children's activities for the exhibit run March 1 through April 30 during daylight hours in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden.

Activities include flying like a butterfly in life-cycle costumes, performing butterfly puppet shows, searching for butterfly and moth life-cycle stages in a special Treehouse Village hunt and navigating the Butterfly Maze.

Activities vary daily. Check the Meijer Gardens' Information Center for daily activities.

Tuesday Night Lights

Bring your flashlight on Tuesday nights until 9 p.m. to see the nightlife in the Tropical Conservatory.
Hours

  • Sunday: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Monday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Thursday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Rates

  • Members: Free
  • Adults (ages 14 to 64 years old): $12
  • Seniors (ages 65 and older): $9
  • Students (with student ID): $9
  • Children (ages 5 to 13 year olds): $6
  • Children (ages 3 and 4 year olds): $4
  • Children (2 and younger): Free

Butterfly exhibit included with general admission.