Back in 1991, Doug Beardsley of Mackinac Island had the wonderful idea of adding butterflies to his greenhouse and allowing customers to enjoy two of nature’s most beautiful creations, and so originated Michigan’s first live exhibit, The Butterfly House.
Many years later, the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House has come a long way – evolving from a dirt floor with potted plants and just a handful of North American butterflies to a beautifully landscaped tropical jungle with hundreds of butterflies from all over the world.
As you walk through the garden our attractive, but subtle, signage allows you to read some basic facts about butterflies, and insects in general – giving you just enough information to further pursue on your own, the wonderful world of insects.
The garden has two ‘feeding stations’ : butterflies most often get their nutrition in liquid form, whether that be from the nectar of a flower, or the rotting carcass of an animal. They have also been known to feed from feces. Some of our Central and South American butterfly species enjoy the moisture they can pull from fruit, using their ‘proboscis’, a straw like mouth part made especially for this purpose. And so we provide them with bananas. You can sometimes see as many as 6 or 7 species on the banana plates at one time. A real treat, and perfect for photography.
Get the Butterfly Chart!
When you first enter the Butterfly House, you will be given a FREE identification chart showing pictures and names of the butterflies we receive the most often so you can identify them in the garden.
Butterfly Chart Your butterfly identification chart is a good educational challenge, for kids and adults alike, to find and identify the many species of butterflies flying freely in the garden. Make it a game – who can find the most!
Linda-“My favorite place on the island.”
Lisa and Tony- “We didn’t want to leave!”
|No butterfly garden would be complete without Monarchs. These famous butterflies are found all over North America, and they can be seen both inside our garden and outside on the island, especially in the middle of summer.|