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Butterfly House

The Shippee Family Eye Care Butterfly House is closed for the season. We released the remaining butterflies, and we're preparing the plants for colder weather ahead. 

Butterflies will be back next summer.

This exhibit, like the butterflies themselves, changes with the weather. There are some species that arrive as pupae, and we wait for them to emerge as butterflies before releasing them in the Butterfly House. Some species may produce eggs and go through a new generation (or two) during the summer. We'll do our best to nurture them with a varity of host plants that give them sources of food and places to lay eggs.

We stop ordering pupae in late August. Colder weather and shorter days also slows the rate of mating and egg laying that would normally occur. By early-September any remaining butterflies need to be released, which is what we did on September 9, 2021.

Depending on the species, butterflies live only a few weeks.  Most of our butterflies live their entire (short) adult lives in the butterfly house.  The butterfly house has all of the necessary nectar and feed plants so that butterflies can lay eggs and those larvae can eventually metamorphose into butterflies.  Within the bounds of a human created system, we try to create an environment that allows the butterfly life cycle to self perpetuate during the course of the summer.

Our Butterfly House allows you to observe every stage of their life cycle throughout the summer. While this butterfly house is not a conservation effort, per se, it is an exhibit, which we hope will encourage our visitors to be more conservation minded. We encourage visitors to become familiar with the many species of butterflies native to northern Vermont and the plants that feed and host them from egg to pupae to butterfly.

We've created an environment for these delicate creatures to thrive and reproduce, so you can observe every stage of their life cycle during the summer. In the fall, when the colder air approaches, we carefully take in any eggs and release the remaining butterflies. Monarchs migrate many thousands of miles to overwinter in warmer climates.

During the summer months, you're invited to immerse yourself in color and the gentle movements of tiny wings. This vibrant space is home to a selection of butterflies and moths that are native to northern New England, including Monarchs, Eastern Swallowtails, Red Admirals, Painted Ladies, and more. We nurture them from eggs through all stages, so you can see pupae and cocoons, as well as mature specimens.

We've also assembled a garden of plants that host these pollinators in every stage of life. These include host plants for eggs and caterpillars as well as nectar producing flowers for butterflies to feed. You'll discover plants to attract pollinators to your garden in many shapes and colors.

Spicebush SwallowtailSpicebush Swallowtailspicebush swallowtail caterpillarmonarch caterpillarsMonarch

     Red Admiral pupalEastern Black Swallowtail pupae 

        Black Swallowtail