Indianapolis Zoo’s New Butterfly Kaleidoscope Provides Fun, Respite for All Ages



Butterfly Kaleidoscope at the Indianapolis Zoo

I was excited to get to preview the new Butterfly Kaleidoscope at the Indianapolis Zoo, however I wasn’t prepared for the effect that had on me. I’ve had a super hectic past six weeks with illnesses and other stuff going on in our lives, and I didn’t really realize how stressed I was until I arrived at the zoo that day.

As you enter the Butterfly Kaleidoscope exhibit in the The Hilbert Conservatory at the White River Gardens at the zoo, an immediate calm floats over you. The Conservatory is beautiful with sunlight streaming through onto the flora and water running. And, all of the colors actually do make you feel like you’re in a kaleidoscope. I immediately felt the tension draining from me. 

However, that’s not the best part of the exhibit (although, I could stop there and that would be enough for many of you).

TIP: If you need a break one day–away from kids, work, whatever–come here alone. You won’t be sorry.

The butterflies land right on you!

40 Species of Butterflies

You get to see over 40 species of butterflies at the Butterfly Kaleidoscope. And, since they are flying and landing all around you–including on you, sometimes–it’s like your own real-life 3-D movie … and you’re the star! Each day, they’ll release new butterflies, so make sure you go several times so that you can see different species.

Indianapolis Zoo’s Butterfly Kaleidoscope Great for Kids, Homeschooling

I’m really excited to take my 5 year old to the exhibit. She’s fascinated by the butterfly chrysalis and at the Butterfly Kaleidoscope you can view the metamorphosis from egg to larva to pupa to butterfly. I’m going to add this as a study unit to our homeschooling efforts and then use the zoo as the field trip.

There is also a really cool interactive butterfly building station, where kids can build a giant of these butterflies.


Butterflies versus Moths

Lori Roedell, Indianapolis ZooWhile I was there, I had to have Lori Roedell, the zoo’s Curator of Horticulture, Desserts and Bird Encounters, (dude, I know…I never had a title that cool) settle an argument for me.

Last summer, my husband and I had an ongoing argument about whether the “thing” we were seeing on our back deck was a moth or a butterfly. Lori gave me some tips to prove him wrong next time.

Main Moth and Butterfly Differences

  • Moths have feathery antennae with balls on the end; butterflies have long thin antennae.
  • Butterflies rest with their wings up; moths rest with their wings flat.

Thanks Lori!

If you want more amazing info about the butterflies, check out the post on Indy With Kids!

The Butterfly Kaleidoscope is currently open through September 2, 2013. White River Gardens at the Indianapolis Zoo is located at 1200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis.    

Located in White River State Park downtown, the Indianapolis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Association of Museums as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. The Indianapolis Zoo empowers people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation. 

I got to preview the exhibit for free as part of the media, but this is not a sponsored post. I did, however, have the experience of having a butterfly fly toward my camera lens like in that movie THE BIRDS, so I consider that payment enough. Thanks to Jon, Carla, Jordan, Lori and the other awesome people at the zoo for inviting me and answering my annoying questions.

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