The Butterfly Place is a nature reserve located in Westford, Massachusetts. Featuring a well-kept indoor garden with hundreds of butterflies in free flight, the site also holds a gift shop, indoor exhibits, and outdoor picnic area. Formed in 2005, the Butterfly Place is a popular attraction for school field trips and visitors interested in nature as it displays many species of animal cohabiting in the same indoor garden. Offering a discount scheme, the Butterfly Place sees seniors receive a discount in the gift shop with an admission purchase, while military personnel and their families as well as scout troop groups receive discounted entry. Weddings can be booked at the Butterfly Place, as can birthdays, corporate events, family gatherings, bridal showers, and many other event occasions. Pre-booked visitors are able to release two live butterflies into the indoor garden for an additional price. The Butterfly Place is handicap accessible and has free parking.

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Exhibits and attractions

Before visitors enter the indoor butterfly garden, they can visit the caterpillar exhibit, which houses many different species. The various exhibits feature caterpillars in environments suited to their natural habitats. With a variety of eggs, chrysalides, and cocoons on display, visitors are able to observe all stages of these beautiful creatures and read about the lifecycle of the butterfly before they see them in flight. Each of the displays features a detailed information placard with details about each species. Many of the cocoons are from overseas and are at different stages of metamorphosis. A 15-minute educational video also plays continuously and visitors can watch and learn about the lifecycle of butterflies as well as a collection of facts about the species.

If a visitor has questions about the butterflies or the displays and exhibits, there is a show and tell bench, where a member of staff is always seated. The member of staff is open to all questions relating to the Butterfly Place. The interior of the butterfly garden is maintained at a temperature of 80-85°F as the butterflies prefer a warm environment. There are up to 50 different types of butterfly within the garden, including the banded orange, Greta oto, and blue morpho butterflies, to name a few. The majority of the butterflies are from New England, but there are also some tropical species. Furthermore, the garden features a large variety of plants, trees, flowers, and bushes as well as man-made streams and a koi pond. Flightless Chinese painted quails can be found at the ground level, while Atlas moths can be seen on leaves and in the air.

The gift shop is the first point of call when visitors enter the building. Offering butterfly-related gifts and souvenirs, the shop sells jewelry, educational materials, and books. Popular purchases are the butterfly hatching kit, which children and families can buy to raise butterflies from the egg stage to fully flying butterflies at home, after which the butterfly is released into the wild. Many of the items in the gift shop are also available online on the company’s associated online shop. Offering butterfly hatching kits, painted lady caterpillars, and much more butterfly-related merchandise, the shop enables money made from sales to go back into maintaining the Butterfly Place.

Located outside is a spacious picnic area with benches for visitors to use. Wildlife and a variety of bird species can also be spotted here. Depending on the season, the outside picnic area is covered by a tent.

Ongoing programs and education

The Butterfly Place hosts the Favorite Homeschool Field Trip program, where during specific days of the week and hours homeschooled children and their parents can attend the facility and see the attractions for a discounted price. The Butterfly Place has a summer camp program for children of all ages, where they can learn about the life of butterflies and their place in nature. Children can also enter the Get Kids Active Scholarship, which is linked to the Butterfly Place. On Tuesdays at 2:00pm, a presentation and question and answer session is held by a member of staff, where children and adults can find out more about the Butterfly Place and its inhabitants. On Thursdays at 9.30am, there is a story time session at the facility, which is popular with preschoolers.

120 Tyngsboro Rd, Westford, MA 01886, website, Phone: 978-392-0955

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