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“Slow moving line to get in but worth the wait”

Smithsonian Butterfly Habitat Garden
Ranked #128 of 460 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed April 9, 2012

Located on the top floor of Smithonian Natural History Museum this was a great venue since everything else on display does not move. Suggest getting tickets on line just to save you time. Tickets purchased online can be picked up at the Johnson Imax booth or at the ticket booth outside the butterfly pavilion. The room is not big but is full of plants, butterflies and cacoons.
Dispite the bright lights in the room and the number of people the temperature seems, to me, to be comfortable. Once your are allowed in the room you are not rushed. This might cause some patience issues with those waiting to get in since only a certain number are allowed in at one time. If you don't want to go into the pavilion there is a window, on the side of the pavilion, that enables you to view what is happening inside.

2  Thank divearnd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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61 - 65 of 82 reviews

Reviewed April 4, 2012 via mobile

$6 per person and kids require at least one supervising adult. The kids enjoyed the exhibit but Seattle Science Center has a larger and nicer butterfly exhibit.

2  Thank heppachopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2012

I love butterflies but most of all I knew I would get amazing photos in here. well worth the $6 entry fee.

1  Thank bmacdonald18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2012

Fun to visit, especially with little ones...used to visit a lot more frequently when I worked in DC.

2  Thank travelmd46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2012

The Butterfly Pavilion is housed inside the Natural History Museum, which is one of the most popular components of the Smithsonian Institution. While most Smithsonian museums are free, there is a fee to enter the Butterfly Pavilion--except on Tuesdays, when it's free. Regardless of the day, you'll need a time-stamped ticket available only at the pavilion, typically for a visit two hours after you obtain the ticket. I therefore recommend getting a ticket immediately upon your arrival at the museum, spending a couple of hours enjoying other marvelous exhibits inside the Natural History Museum, then returning to the Butterfly Pavilion.

The pavilion is fairly small, so the number of visitors at any time is constrained, but the small space also means the butterflies are densely packed. It's fun to be surrounded by these beautiful insects, and most children would enjoy it, though parents will need to ensure the children don't inadvertently squash any of these delicate creatures, who often alight on the visitors. The best part is that the butterflies are so accustomed to visitors that you can get a very close-up view of them, either for photography or to examine their structure and behavior. I was delighted to watch one uncurl its proboscis to suck nectar from a flower, just inches away from my eyes.

There are guides who can answer questions about the butterflies, but the explanatory plaques inside and outside the pavilion are fairly simplistic. Unlike most portions of the Natural History Museum, there's not much emphasis here on scientific concepts. This is more of an immersive, experiential display of natural beauty. Because the pavilion is small, I probably would have felt shortchanged if I'd paid for the visit, but I planned my visit for a free Tuesday.

The nearest metro station is National Archives/Navy Memorial, which is at most a five-minute walk from the north entrance of the Natural History Museum; from that entrance, you'll go upstairs and to the right to reach the Butterfly Pavilion. There are clean, free public restrooms elsewhere in the museum.

7  Thank Joseph C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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