The transformation of the Science Museum’s tropical butterfly garden into a pollinator garden is essentially complete. The newly-renovated Hidden Garden will open to the public on Memorial Day weekend. The museum will celebrate with a public butterfly release on Saturday, May 26 at 11:00 a.m.
The Hidden Garden Butterfly Release on May 26 is free for museum members and included in the admission fee for non-members. Anyone who wishes to participate must register via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hidden-garden-butterfly-release-tickets-46232248901
The new Hidden Garden reflects the growing awareness of the importance of supporting pollinators in all stages of their life cycle. Visitors will be able to search for eggs, caterpillars, chrysalises, and adult butterflies within the garden. On the opening weekend, guests will discover Small White butterflies (all stages), Monarchs (caterpillars and chrysalises), and Gulf Fritillaries (newly-hatched caterpillars).
All of the plants within the garden are species that thrive in Virginia, which can be grown in our guests’ gardens to support butterflies and other pollinators. The museum will be providing seeds for some of these plants to the public with the Hidden Garden: Seeds of Change program. This program will provide seeds from the garden and from local collectors to museum visitors who wish to make their own gardens more hospitable to local butterflies and other pollinators.
According to the museum’s Scientific Director, Derek Kellogg, “The goal of this exhibit is to inspire people to look beyond just the adult butterfly to see the entire system; to inspire an appreciation for nature as a whole.” Even after opening, visitors should expect the exhibit to continue growing and developing over the coming years. The previous version of the garden took 2-3 years to fully grow in. As it is now a more complex exhibit, there is a high likelihood that the Hidden Garden will take even longer to fully develop. The museum intends to add new species of insects to the garden throughout the summer.