Butterfly Pavilion | Desert Botanical Garden


Since 2002, the Butterfly Pavilion has centered the special relationship between insects and plants of the Sonoran Desert. The Garden’s Pollinator Conservation Research Program dives deeper into this relationship by working on several projects such as plant propagation, milkweed ecology and determining how climate change will affect the population of the monarch butterfly which is now listed as endangered.

In 2017, the Garden reopened this 3,200 square foot open-air structure, featuring lush garden plantings, a water feature, thousands of live butterflies, engaging programming and state-of-the-art nursery space.

Desert Botanical Garden is committed to continuing conversation on issues that threaten butterflies and other pollinators’ survival by determining ways the public can take action to assist in protecting these populations in their own backyard.


Sept. 23 – Nov. 12, 2023 | 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

What to expect

Explore the butterfly life cycle by interacting with thousands of butterflies. Learn how these fluttery creatures care for and protect the desert environment. Join us in helping conserve them for future generations. 


Swallowtail Butterfly


Immerse yourself in more than 2,000 butterflies that are native to the Southwest.

Great Milkweed Growout


As of 2022, the migratory monarch has been listed as ‘Endangered’ by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Learn more about the Garden’s conservation efforts for this beloved species, such as the Great Milkweed Grow Out.


Caterpillar on Milkweed


There are many ways to help native populations of pollinators, such as creating your own pesticide-free butterfly garden on your patio or backyard! Stock up on plants with nectar at our Fall and Spring Plant Sale.



Bring the Butterfly Pavilion experience to your home; visit our blog below to find great articles about butterflies, conservation, fun activities, and more!

Methuselah A Digital Exhibit

Methuselah refers to the fourth generation of monarch butterflies that complete a transcontinental journey in an annual migratory cycle. This generation has an extended lifespan that allows the species to survive long enough to complete the migration. As part of an...

Desert Refuge: A New Way To Help Monarch Butterflies

In July, the decline of the migratory monarch butterfly was once again in the spotlight. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classified migratory monarchs as endangered, naming habitat loss and climate change as major factors for their decline. In the...

Chilled Out Butterflies

Each week while the Butterfly Pavilion is open, Desert Botanical Garden receives more than 1,000 fluttery critters from butterfly farms in California, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida. Rachel Nelsen, the Garden's exhibit coordinator, manages the butterfly pavilion and is...

Butterfly Search

Cactus can take on many shapes and sizes. Some are small some are humongous. Try this fun art activity with children of all ages.

Planting for Monarchs in Phoenix

The City of Phoenix Mayor, Kate Gallego, recently signed a new Proclamation declaring September Planting for Monarchs Month!

Activity | Butterflies In the Air

Monarch butterflies travel to their overwintering sites in Mexico where thousands cluster together, hanging from trees and creating a kaleidoscope of color.

Activity | Butterfly Spotting

Kids can engage in the natural world around them with this activity to search for butterflies interacting with plants. Head outside, and see what you can find.

Activity | Build an Insect Hotel

Insect hotels provide a welcoming habitat to friendly critters in your garden. Use this guide to build your own and welcome them. Key Features of an Insect Hotel: Holes for bugs, like solitary bees, to nest Natural materials, such as moss or straw Wood, such as twigs...

Bringing You Butterflies

The Spring Butterfly Exhibit may be closed, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy these fluttery friends. Check out this beauties, and identify their species in order below. Giant Swallowtail - Papilio cresphontes Monarch - Danaus plexippus White Peacock - Anartia...

Activity | Build an Insect

The Sonoran Desert has thousands of bug species. What have you noticed about them? Do they have fluttering wings? Do they have six legs, or maybe more? What color are they? What do they eat?  In this at-home Garden activity, kids of all ages can build their very own...

Want More Information?

Whether you have a question about a butterfly or would like to know about the next seasonal exhibit, contact the Garden by phone at 480.941.1225 or email at butterflypavilion@dbg.org