The Butterfly House & Insect World is Mackinac Island’s original, and very first in Michigan, butterfly and insect museum. The Butterfly house is also the 3rd oldest live butterfly house in the United States with celebrated tropical gardens with hundreds of butterflies from around the world.

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1.History & Attractions

History & Attractions
© Original Butterfly House & Insect World

The Butterfly House was established in 1991 when Doug Beardsley, a resident of Mackinac Island decided to add butterflies to his already abundant greenhouse and allow people to stroll his greenhouses and enjoy nature. Insect World


The two attractions at The Butterfly House & Insect World are the gardens that house the butterflies in the Butterfly House and the Insect World Museum. The establishment is open year-round but does have different hours seasonally which are updated on the website. There are group discounts for prearranged tours of 10 or more people.

Butterfly Garden- The garden is set inside a greenhouse with tropical foliage. Pathways are paved and signage lines the walks with basic facts about butterflies in the gardens, insects and some of the plant life and flora. There are two feeding stations with bananas that can often draw many different species of butterflies at one time. Most of the butterflies feed on nectar, carcasses or feces and can be found flying or amongst the vegetation. All visitors will receive a free identification chart upon entrance of the butterfly garden.

All butterflies at The Butterfly House are supplied from farms. The butterflies come from Asia, Africa, North, South and Central America at a rate of 350-400 chrysalids per week. The Butterfly House can have anywhere from 50-100 species of butterflies at any one time and there can by as many as 800+ flying at a time. Most butterflies live 10-14 days so every experience at the Butterfly House can be new and different. The Butterfly House staff ask that when visiting the gardens all patrons refrain from touching the butterflies.

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2.More Attractions

More Attractions
© Original Butterfly House & Insect World

Although the butterflies in the garden will mate, the females will not lay eggs unless they find host plants. The Butterfly House never plants any host plants in the garden such as milkweed for the monarchs, therefore the females never lay any eggs. Visitors will never see caterpillars or chrysalises in the garden, only butterflies. The USDA actually prohibits caterpillars from being raised in Butterfly Houses that have foreign butterflies that are regulated species and must be contained so as not to pose a threat to the native species and outside environment.

Insect World- This museum dedicated to all things insects educates on the benefits that insects play around the world and the impact on environment. The museum features an impression collection of beetles including the Goliath Beetle and visitors will also learn all about the life cycle of the butterfly and enjoy interactive displays and the musical butterfly wall—a children’s favorite. The ceiling is decorated to mimic a monarch migration.

The Insect World Museum also features an Education Room where visitors can witness butterflies emerge from their chrysalis’s. This emergence case is one of the largest in North America, holding up to 700 chrysalises at once and never less than 500. This room also presents information on how butterflies have transformed the way the agriculture industry operates in the rainforests without harming the lands.

There are more than just insect in this museum though. Along with an emporer scorpion, centipedes, mantises, beetles, and cockroaches, visitors can also see: Guacamole the Senegal Chameleon, toads, red eared sliders, and more.

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© Original Butterfly House & Insect World

The Butterfly House Gift Shop is filled with all items related to nature. There are books and toys for kids as well and unique gifts for adults. From souvenir items to hand made jewelry made from butterfly wings by local artists there is sure to be something to please everyone. Artist John Jurek also designs acrylic displays and can create custom orders using real butterflies. He and his wife Erika have been working with the gift shop since 2007. All cases have a clear mounting and come in a variety of sizes and prices. Each piece is 100% original and unique. Each butterfly died naturally on one of the butterfly farms and was sourced as such.

For customers that cannot come to Mackinac Island, the gift shop is accessible online through the website and shopping is available just about anywhere in the United States. Another gift shop location is available on Main Street across from the Haunted Theatre and The Chuckwagon Café. If you purchase your Butterfly House tickets here, you will receive a discount.

Back to: Things to Do on Mackinac Island, MI

6750 McGulpin Street, Mackinac Island, Michigan, 49757, Phone: 906-847-3972

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Original Butterfly House & Insect World on Mackinac Island

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