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Butterfly Wonderland: Tips to Visit this Family-Friendly Gem

The Butterfly Wonderland at the Arizona Boardwalk is the largest butterfly conservatory in the United States. It's a lush, tropical experience unlike any other.

The main area of this Scottsdale attraction is the conservatory. This is an open space area where you can watch the butterflies flying right in front of your eyes.

Other activities inside this attraction include the 3D movie illustrating the Monarch migration, an area where live chrysalis emerge from their cocoons, the Rainforest Reptile Experience, and Tropical Waters of the World.

It truly is an unforgettable sensory experience!

Butterflies at Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale

What to Expect When You Visit

Your visit is primarily self-guided, with a small introduction by a staff member. The staff will meet you at the ticket counter and help direct you toward the movie theater to see “Flight of the Butterflies” in 3D. 

After the movie, the staff will show you a fascinating area where the butterflies are still inside their cocoons (live chrysalis).

Perhaps, if you are lucky, you’ll be able to see a cocoon open and witness a beautiful butterfly emerge naturally inside the little glass box.

Next, you’ll walk directly into the Butterfly Conservatory. Inside, there are several staff members that are extremely knowledgeable and very happy to help you.

However, you will be on your own to explore. You can stay inside the conservatory as long as you want.

Afterward, you will exit into the café and gift shop area.

From here, you can visit the following exhibits:

  • Rainforest Reptile Exhibit
  • Honey Bee Extravaganza
  • Spineless Giants
  • Edible Insects Station
  • Tropical Waters of the World

More About the Conservatory

Black and Red Butterfly in Scottsdale Attraction

This Butterfly Wonderland Conservatory is a 10,000-square-foot space filled with tropical plants, thousands of butterflies, and some small, colorful birds.

This massive tent offers the butterflies the perfect environment. It's warm and humid, and you will feel like you are in a tropical rainforest.

There are over 30 different types of butterflies that come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and colors. It is amazing to see so many diverse butterflies in one spot!

Many of these butterflies come from all over the world. Some butterflies you can expect to see here include the Mountain Blue Swallowtail from Asia, the Gold Banded Forester from Africa, and the Costa Rica Clearwing.

Aram and I enjoy not only the stunning butterflies but also love the other animals here. For example, there is a remarkable Koi Pond located in the middle of the conservatory. You will also see chickens, bees (safely tucked behind glass inside their hives), birds, and more!

Touching the Butterflies

Rules for the Butterfly Wonderland in PhoenixRules for the Butterfly Wonderland in Phoenix

The one rule inside the conservatory is that you cannot touch the butterflies. They are very fragile and can easily be hurt or damaged.

At times, butterflies land on the people inside. Don't shoo them away or touch them. Just use it as an opportunity to admire them up close.

If you’d like a better chance of them landing on you, we suggest wearing bright, colorful clothes to attract them. Likewise, if you prefer not to have them land on you, wear dark clothes like blue or black.

The Wonderland even has a special name for when a butterfly lands on you, called "Butterfly Kisses!"

Imagine how cool it would be to tell your friends and family a butterfly kissed you during your visit.

More About the Flight of the Butterfly 3D Movie

This special 15-minute 3D movie is about the migration of the Monarch Butterflies from Canada to the USA and, lastly, to Mexico. The amazing migrations include hundreds of millions of Monarchs as they set out every spring and fall.

Trust me, you will want to reach out and touch the beautiful butterflies as they seem to be all around you! It is a truly magical experience and an extraordinary start to your journey into the world of this magical kingdom.

Note: There is closed captioning for the Flight of the Butterflies movie.

Tropical Waters of the World

A view inside the Tropical Waters of the WorldA view inside the Tropical Waters of the World

Near the end of your Butterfly Wonderland tour is a small, cute aquarium. It will only take a few minutes to explore, but it’s your chance to see exotic, colorful fish, eels, and other water creatures.

There is even a fun “touch pool” in the middle of the Aquarium exhibit!

The “touch” pool is full of almost 2,000 gallons of water and has spotted stingrays inside it.

It is totally safe to touch, and kids love it!

Daily and Weekly Activities

Types of birds at the Butterfly Wonderful in ScottsdaleTypes of birds at the Butterfly Wonderful near Phoenix

Throughout the week, Butterfly Wonderland offers several activities that are free with your standard admission. This is their current schedule (which is subject to change at anytime):

  • Koi Feedings (Daily at 9:30 am): Watch "Hoover," the Koi fish, eat his lunch, and learn about him.
  • Whimsical Wings (Every Friday at 11 am): Learn from Education Specialists who share how the conservatory released their tropical butterflies.
  • Stingray & Shark Feedings (Every Saturday at 11 am): Learn fun facts about venomous stingrays. This takes place near the Observation Pool.
  • BW's Bug Club (2nd and 4th Sunday at 11 am): Bring your little ones to learn all about interesting insects. Experts will show live insects as they talk a little about them. This is in the Theater.
  • Nature Walk in the Conservatory (3rd Sunday of each month): Take a walk around the glassed-in Conservatory with an expert. Learn more about the butterflies and other animals that call it their home.
  • ‘The Buzz About Bees’ (Daily at 1 pm in the Conservatory):  Learn everything you've ever wanted to know about bees from a local beekeeper! If you want to learn more, check out the Honeybee Exhibit in the Conservatory.

Please note that depending on when you visit, some activities may not be available, and/or others may be added depending on the season and holidays.

Aquarium Hours and Dates

A beautiful butterfly in the Butterfly Wonderland in PhoenixA beautiful butterfly in the Butterfly Wonderland in Phoenix

The Butterfly Wonderland is open from 9 am to 5 pm Daily.

It is open 365 days a year and even on Holidays, including Christmas and New Year's Day.

Prices & Discounts

  • Adults (13 years old and up) are $29.95 if purchased online or at the door.
  • Children (2 years old up to 12) are $19.95.
  • Children under 2 are free.
  • Military discounts are available when you buy tickets at the door with your ID.

You can buy combination tickets depending on how many attractions you decide to go to. They start with 2 attractions and can include all of them.

If you plan to come back to Phoenix more than once in the next year, buying an annual pass will pay for itself within 2 visits. That would also allow you to return several days during your visit if you love it here.

Best Time to Visit and Length of Stay

Butterflies in their cocoons at the Butterfly WonderlandButterflies in their cocoons at the Butterfly Wonderland

The best time to visit is in the morning due to fewer crowds. However, if there is a school field trip or a group tour, it may be a little busier than usual.

Most visitors tend to go Saturdays and Sundays, which makes it the busiest time. If you can, we recommend visiting in the morning on the weekdays. This will allow you to experience the Butterfly Wonderland with only a handful of others.

Even if it is crowded, the conservatory is so large that it shouldn’t be a problem.

We like to spend ample time strolling around, so it’d be best to plan a visit between 1 and 2 hours for your entire visit. We will sometimes even stay up to 3 hours.

Group Tours

Group tours are available for groups of 15 people or more. Individual payments are not permitted within a group, so there is a single price for the entire group.

Some of the benefits of the group tours include:

  • Discounts on admissions compared to buying a single ticket for each person.
  • A special personalized welcome for everyone and a special introduction by a trained staff member. 

You will be allowed to schedule a time to visit, so, no need to worry about other groups and field trips. 

Plus, there is a special lunch menu that you can order in advance to ensure enough for everyone in your group.

Photography Policies

A butterfly hanging out inside the conservatoryA butterfly hanging out inside the conservatory

Photography is permitted at Butterfly Wonderland!

This is the perfect place for those who love colorful butterflies since you can take as many photos as you want as long as you don't touch the beautiful butterflies (or other rainforest animals).

A few restrictions apply as they do not allow selfie sticks or tripods. For the safety of the animals and other guests, you may not use flash or strobe lights.

ADA Accessibility and Conditions

The Wonderland is fully ADA-accessible.

There are no wheelchair restrictions, and all areas are accessible, even the conservatory tent.

The state of Arizona only permits dogs or miniature ponies as service animals. All service animals MUST be on a leash.

Also, at guest services, there are hearing assistive devices.

Since Butterfly Wonderland works hard to be fully accessible to all persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities, it has been granted the official designation as a "Pal Place."

It even has insider tips to help reduce anxiety and make it more enjoyable to visit for the whole family.

Strollers and Limitations

Baby strollers are allowed everywhere except the conservatory.

However, since the conservatory is the most interesting part of the Butterfly Wonderland experience, we’d suggest leaving the stroller to not miss out on the conservatory. If possible, carry your young ones to fully enjoy your trip here.

Backpacks and snugglies are allowed everywhere at Butterfly Wonderland.

Food, Drink, & Pets

Food and beverages are not permitted inside with so many rare and endangered butterflies and rainforest animals.

If you are thirsty or hungry, there is the Butterfly Wonderland Café.

Arizona state only permits dogs or miniature ponies as service animals. All service animals MUST be on a leash and are allowed at Butterfly Wonderland.

Cafe and Gift Shop

The Butterfly Wonderland CafeThe Butterfly Wonderland Cafe

This small café has a few choices and is more like a snack bar than a full-scale café.

The gift shop has fun memorabilia, including t-shirts, mugs, bags/purses, fun toys, stuffed animals and insects, unicorns, and ballerinas with beautiful butterflies. Your entrance photo taken near the ticket area is also here for purchase.

Better still, is a very special encased acrylic butterflies display for purchase. It is simply gorgeous! The butterfly's wings are spread so you can see their magical, colorful display.

It is a perfect way to remember your trip!


Koi fish in the Butterfly Wonderland in PhoenixKoi fish in the Butterfly Wonderland in Phoenix

The Butterfly Wonderland is located on the Arizona Boardwalk. There are numerous other attractions, restaurants, and stores here too.

Due to other venues, there is a decent size parking lot around the Boardwalk. A nice benefit is that the parking here is free.

The parking lots tend to get full on busy days, so please plan in advance. 

More to do at the Arizona Boardwalk

The Arizona Boardwalk in PhoenixThe Arizona Boardwalk in Phoenix

Due to Butterfly Wonderland’s perfect location, you could easily spend the entire day at the Arizona Boardwalk.

Below is a list of some places you can dine and shop. We've also included details for other attractions here.


Enjoy your time shopping at the Arizona Boardwalk. There are several choices, no matter your interests, or simply enjoy some window shopping. Here are a few that we love:

  • Butterfly Treasures
  • Arizona Territory Trading Post
  • OdySea Treasures
  • Fours Peaks Mining Company
  • The Soap Bubble


Lunch at Johnny Rockets inside the Arizona Boardwalk

With so many choices, you are sure to find something delicious to eat, drink, and enjoy. Jill and I love the variety. Below is a list of some great places:

  • Sugar Drop Candy Shop
  • Frozen Penguin Ice Cream
  • Johnny Rockets
  • Pangaea Dinosaur Grill


After visiting the Butterfly Wonderland, you will still have time to check out some other attractions here.

With so many things to do, it might be tricky to choose. Luckily, there is an option to buy “combination tickets.” If you plan to visit more than one attraction, this is a great way to save a little money.

Other attractions include:

  • UFO Experience
  • Ripley's Believe It or Not!
  • The Laser + Mirror Maze
  • The OdySea Aquarium
  • Museum of Illusions
  • Cyber Quest
  • Johnny's Playground
  • Pangaea: Land of the Dinosaurs

Depending on the season, there are also special events and exhibits for you to see.

Hotels Nearby the Arizona Boardwalk

With so much to do on the Boardwalk, you might decide to spend the night nearby.

It might be a great way to relax at your hotel and return to the exhibits after a rest.

We've included a few hotels below that are close and easy to access:

  • Talking Stick Resort
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton
  • Hampton Inn & Suites
  • Tru by Hilton
  • Days Inn & Suites

Fun Facts

Fun facts for the kids at the Butterfly WonderlandFun facts for the kids at the Butterfly Wonderland

Here are just a few fun facts about Butterfly Wonderland and butterflies!

  • The kiddies will love this one: Did you know that butterflies fart? Yep! Just like any other insect. Luckily, you will never smell a butterfly fart because they are so tiny. It is a weird, fun fact, but I bet your kids will laugh at it and tell their friends! 
  • The Butterfly Conservatory is the largest in the whole USA! 
  • They have a "bug vending machine" where you can buy edible insects inside candy and other treats. No fear! The insects are dead! Jill and I have yet to try these treats… and we don’t plan on it! 
  •  The Monarch butterfly travels over 2,500 miles each spring and fall. Some take 2 to 3 generations to make the flight, while there is also a "supergeneration" that does it all at once.
  • Also, due to deforestation, the Monarch butterfly is an endangered butterfly. 

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