"Wings of Fancy" Live Butterfly & Caterpillar Exhibit
Our Butterflies have flown away for 2014! Due to the Visitors Center entrance, parking lot and access improvements, Wings of Fancy will not be offered in 2014. Instead, plan to visit our free summer Conservatory Display, described below.
Teachers - looking for field trip opportunities?
We offer a variety of curriculum based classroom programs for school and youth groups, including the butterfly life cycle.
Summer Conservatory Display- Summer Colors
Saturday, April 26- Sunday, September 21, 2014
Brookside Gardens Conservatory
1500 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902
10:00am-5:00pm daily; Admission: FREE
2014 is a year of change for Brookside Gardens that will be visible in the summer conservatory. ‘Wings of Fancy’ butterfly exhibit will take the summer off and a lush tropical scene will fill both conservatories with vibrant summer color.
Giant leaves of Elephant ears and taro create huge umbrellas of foliage in the summer sun. Color pops from the flowers of begonias, petunias, impatiens, Crossandra, lollipop flower (Pachystachys lutea), and shrimp plant (Justicia brandageana). Coleus and Caladium leaves add to the tropical mix of red, pink, yellow and green. Ginger lily flowers (Hedychium) will top its leafy stems in late summer, adding fragrance to the tapestry of texture, shape and color in the conservatory jungle garden.
Wings of Fancy General Information for 2015
Special Events Information Line- Recorded Information: 301-962-1453
Brookside Gardens General Information: 301-962-1400
FEES: $6 adults; $4 ages 3-12
Groups of 15 or more: Must pre-register by calling 301-962-1467. Group Tour Information
NOTE: Children 2 and under are admitted free, however, we regret that we are not able to accommodate strollers in the Butterfly Exhibit. The exhibit is wheelchair accessible. Exhibit tickets and parking are available at the Visitors Center and Conservatories. Tickets may be purchased at either the Visitor Center or the Conservatory Gift Shop and must be purchased by 4 p.m. Tickets are good for re-entry to the exhibit throughout the day of purchase.
Butterflies on a Budget! Purchase the new Frequent Visitor Pass at Brookside Gardens and enjoy unlimited return visits to the Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly and Caterpillar Exhibit this season. Individual, Dual and Family Passes are on sale now in the gift shops at the Gardens for $45 for the Individual pass, $60 for the Dual pass, and $112 for the Family Pass.
Help a caterpillar fly, plant your garden to provide! Why did the caterpillar cross the road? To get to its host plant! This year the focus is on butterflies in your backyard, and the host plants that local caterpillars need in order to survive and thrive. Learn about the life cycle of these amazing creatures, and be surrounded by hundreds of North American, Costa Rican and Asian butterflies flying freely inside the Conservatory. Learn more about how to attract butterflies to your backyard with our informative brochure, Gardening for Butterflies.
Beginning in early May and running daily through Mid- September, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 p.m., Brookside Gardens South Conservatory will feature live butterflies. Come witness the butterfly life cycle as tiny eggs hatch into crawling, chewing caterpillars, which then encase themselves in jewel-like chrysalides and emerge as sipping, flying adult butterflies. Learn about the best annual and tropical plants, and hardy shrubs that are used as nectar sources to attract butterflies to your own garden.
Peak visitation hours are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Exhibit tickets and parking are available at the Visitors Center and Conservatories. Admission is $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for ages 3 to 12. Children 2 and under are admitted free, however, we regret that we are not able to accommodate strollers in the Butterfly Exhibit. The exhibit is wheelchair accessible.
Note: From early May- mid June, and in September, many area school children visit the exhibit on weekdays from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.. During these times, individuals may prefer to visit the exhibit after 1 p.m. to avoid crowds and for easier access to parking in the conservatory parking lot. The parking lot at the Visitor Center is much larger, but is almost a half mile walk from the exhibit location. Buses may drop off visitors at the conservatory, but may not park in the conservatory lot due to space limitations. They may park at the Visitor Center and return to the conservatory to pick up visitors at a designated time.
Planning a visit for the morning hours after public schools close for the summer is another way to avoid crowds and enjoy the butterflies when the temperatures in the exhibit are more comfortable.
"Wings of Fancy" is located inside a greenhouse, which is usually ten degrees warmer than the outside temperature. The exhibit is also more humid than the outside environment and temperatures increase over the course of the day. Visiting the butterfly exhibit and seeing the gardens requires a fair amount of walking. We encourage all visitors to bring water with them during hot weather and to drink water regularly to replace water lost as sweat. We want all our visitors to have a safe and enjoyable visit to Brookside Gardens and "Wings of Fancy" and we look forward to seeing your group at Brookside Gardens.
NOTE: "Wings of Fancy" will close at 12 noon during the following National Weather Service conditions: Heat Advisory, Excessive Heat Warning, Code Red or Purple Air Quality Alert. The exhibit may also close at other times during severe thunderstorms or other emergencies. Please call or check this website before your visit. The telephone hotline and the web site are updated frequently in the event of a temporary closure.
The Butterfly Exhibit is located in Brookside Gardens south conservatory located at 1500 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902. The Visitors Center is located at 1800 Glenallan Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902. Call 301-962-1400 for more information
Wings of Fancy Video
(Click on the triangle to play the video.)
Volunteers are needed throughout the season. You can apply on-line to volunteer in the exhibit. Visit the
ParksVolunteers Homepage and click on "Search Opportunities.
Call the Volunteer Coordinator at 301-962-1429 for more information, or e-mail mcp-GardenVolunteer@mncppc-mc.org.
An e-Learning web-based training course is available along with on-site training.
Brookside Gardens Conservatories
The Conservatories at Brookside Gardens consist of two glass buildings joined by a short hallway. The Conservatories house a large collection of tropical plants including banana, giant bird of paradise, and mimosa as well as seasonal displays in the spring, summer, and autumn and a terrific holiday show. The Conservatories are often used for special programs, such as the live Butterfly Exhibit in summer and the holiday train display in winter.
Besides the "Wings of Fancy" Live Butterfly Exhibit, the Conservatories at Brookside Gardens host three more changing shows each year:
- Spring Display: January through April
- Fall Chrysanthemum Display: October through November
- Winter: December
*Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly on Coneflower, image by George DeBuchananne.