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Temporary Exhibits

Butterfly Haven

Open through early October  – 9am-5pm

Guests will experience the beauty of the seasonal BUTTERFLY HAVEN, a 14′ x 24′ butterfly enclosure located alongside the Virginia Garden just outside the Wason Education Center.

The exciting new exhibit will engage guests of all ages as they immerse themselves in a world of butterflies and plants!

The house will support the Museum’s conservation efforts to preserve pollinating species such as the Monarch Butterfly. The initiative also supports education and awareness for the challenged annual Monarch butterfly migration due to deforestation in Mexico, extreme climate fluctuations in North America, and the growth of herbicide-based agriculture destroying crucial milkweed flora in the Midwest.

Cost: included in museum admission





Butterfly list

Swallowtails Papilio polyxenes Black swallowtail
P. glaucus E. Tiger swallowtail
P. troilus Spicebush swallowtail
Battus philenor Pipevine swallowtail
P. cresphontes Giant swallowtail
Eurytides marcellus Zebra swallowtail
Brush-Footed Variegated fritillary Euptoeita claudia
Gulf frit Agraulis vanillae
Red-spotted purple Limentis arthemis
Red admiral Vanessa atalanta
Painted lady V. cardui
Common buckeye Junonia coenia
Zebra heliconian Heliconius charithonia
Monarch Danaus plexippus
Sulphurs and Whites Cabbage white Pieris papae
Great southern white Ascia monuste
Clouded sulphur Colias philodice
Cloudless sulphur Phoebis sennae
Skippers Silver-spotted skipper Epargyreus clarus
Long-tailed skipper Urbanus proteus
Silkmoths Luna Actias luna
Polyphemus Antheraea polyphemus

Plant List

Aristolochia macrophylla Pipevines Pipevine swallowtail
Aristolochia serpintaria Virginia snakeroot Pipevine swallowtail
Asimina triloba Pawpaws Zebra swallowtail
Zizia aurea Golden alexander Black swallowtail
Zanthoxylum americanum Prickly ash Giant swallowtail
Liriodendron tulipifera Tulip tree Eastern tiger swallowtail
Sassafras albidium Sassafras Spicebush swallowtail
Lindera benzoin Spicebush Spicabush swallowtail
Passiflora Passion-vine Fritillaries
Plantago spp Plantain Common buckeye
Asclepias spp Milkweed species Monarchs


Opens November 26 – December 30| Nature Nights Holiday Lights

Dates: Thursday-Sunday nights, dates vary

Nature Nights Holiday Lights Evening Walk

Time: 5:30pm-8:30pm (extended evening hours)

Cost: VLM Members $9/ Non-Members $12 – ages 2 and under are free.

Enter an outdoor trail glittering with lights and holiday spirit. Take a nature walk on the outdoor trail and through the Dinosaur Discovery Trail village!  This new experience is right in time for the holidays and is sure to put you and your family in the holiday spirit. Receive a candy cane treat, cookies and cocoa.

ADD your own Glow! Light up toys and wearables available for purchase.

Check back for ticket links!

Nature Nights Holiday Lights is sponsored by:

National Exterminating logo


Backyard Adventures

Coming February 5, 2022- May 1, 2021

There is a hidden world of science waiting to be discovered in the backyard!

From the biological interactions between plants and insects, the zoology of nocturnal animals, the horticultural know how to that goes into growing giant vegetables, the mathematical genius needed to lay pavers and the feats of construction that can go on in the shed, the backyard is full of science.

Step into a garden, complete with gnomes, ants and a giant spider that will engage visitors with science and technology and enable them to continue discovering in the future!  Featuring: Garden Golf, Night Vision, Augmented Reality Garden Bed, Nectar Collector, Paver Puzzle, Food Web Pond, The Garden Shed, Critter Calls and more!

Garden Golf

Try your hand at the backyard themed mini golf. Be warned, you’ll need more than good putting skills to get around this course!

Night Vision

Investigate the creatures that live in your garden at night. What do they do when you go to sleep? Try to find the animals in their own environment.

Augmented Reality Garden Bed

Dig down in the ‘dirt’ and see if you can spot the different layers of soil. Use your hands to make it rain and see the effects.

Nectar Collector

Jump on board the magnificent flying bee for a bee’s eye view of the garden. Try your luck at pollinating flowers, collecting pollen for honey production and seeing if you can hack it in the cut-throat world of bees.

Paver Puzzle

Just one of the DIY projects that someone just hasn’t had time to complete. Can you create a path out of odd shaped pavers?

Food Web Pond

Explore the intricacies of backyard animal-insect-plant interactions at the pond. Investigate which creatures rely on other creatures to survive in this frog eat insect world.

The Garden Shed

Most gardens have them: a haven for tools, the lawn mower and maybe the BBQ. Step inside the shed and see what you can create with the tools and objects left lying around on the work benches.

Critter Calls

Investigate some of the animal noises that can be heard in many backyards. Can you identify the calls from some common birds, frogs and insects?

Companion Programs:

Title: Backyard Naturalists Animal Show

Description: Animals are all around you including your backyard! Meet various ambassador animals and discuss ways we can help protect their wild counterparts.

Days: Saturdays and Sundays (Feb. 5 – May 1, 2022) Also President’s Day, Monday February 21, 2022.

Times:  11:30am, 12:30pm and 1:30pm