Group Tour Availability
Bring your youth group (public and private schools, home schools, scouts and summer camps) to this live butterfly exhibit April 30 through September 18, to learn about the butterfly life cycle and observe butterfly behaviors like nectaring, spiraling, and puddling. Due to the popularity of the butterfly exhibit, groups of 15 or more must make an appointment. Please call 301-962-1467 for group reservations. Please print, complete this group ticket form and bring it with you, if you are planning to pay as a group.
- Preschool, Daycare, Kindergarten and Adult Groups
We would like to know when you are visiting the Wings of Fancy Exhibit and can advise you on the best day and time to visit. We regret that we are unable to provide you with a tour guide, however knowledgeable docents are always available in the exhibit.
- First through 5th grade Student Groups
Elementary school groups receive a guided tour with a knowledgeable tour guide. Tours are available weekdays from 10 AM to 1 p.m., at half-hour intervals. A maximum of 30 children can be scheduled per ½ hour.
Group tours are scheduled:
- May, June and September: weekdays
- July and August: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
- Butterfly Discoveries Educational Backpacks
While waiting for your tour time, registered 1st through 5th grade groups may borrow a self-guided "Butterfly Discoveries" educational backpack. To obtain a backpack, request one from the Brookside Gardens staff member that meets your bus. These backpacks (a total of six) are self-guided and each backpack contains a choice of 5 different activities for groups of 15 working individually (or 30 in pairs). These are a popular way to extend your day and experience at Brookside Gardens. You may view the choice of activities by clicking on the link below. Click to see activities outline (pdf, 500KB).
General Information for all Wings of Fancy Exhibit Group Visitors
We want to inform you that the exhibit temperature can be very hot at certain times and is not air-conditioned. Please note that the actual fluttering of butterflies can be a fear factor for some individuals. No strollers are permitted in the exhibit. Butterflies are most active on bright sunny days. On cloudy days butterflies like to perch, which allows for closer observation.
Number of chaperones
Please bring at least one chaperone for every 5 children.
Exhibit hours and ticket information
Group discounts are not available. Purchase tickets in the gift shops on the day of your tour or when visiting the garden in advance. Admission is: $4.00 for children ages 3-12. $6.00 per adult (age 13 and up, including chaperones.) Ages two and under admitted free. Open daily rain or shine.
Upon arrival at Brookside Gardens
Buses may unload passengers in front of the conservatory but then proceed to the Visitors Center for parking. Click here for directions. Large groups must divide into groups of 30 children with a designated leader for each. The leaders should check-in and confirm tour times with Brookside Gardens staff and tour guides (if applicable). Look for staff members adjacent to the conservatory underneath the "Wings of Fancy Butterfly Garden" sign. Groups with spare time may tour the outside garden areas until their designated tour time.
Important lunch information
NEW! Change of Policy -
Groups ONLY may picnic in designated open grass (no
tables) areas. Familiarize yourself where these areas
are by looking where the arrows are pointing on the "Garden Features" map (pdf, 500KB). Other picnic
areas with tables include the Brookside Nature Center
(walking distance from the Conservatory) on a first
come/first-served basis and the Shorefield area (off
Georgia Ave.). An approximate ten-minute drive or
20-minute walk is required to get from the conservatory
to the Shorefield area. Shorefield provides playgrounds
and shelters, in addition to open picnic areas. Call
301-495-2525 for a picnic shelter reservation and
bus-parking permit. If you are planning to have lunch
on your field trip, you may choose to store your lunches
in the nearby building labeled "School Group
Lunch Shed" (Brookside Gardens parking lot area).
Please try to condense your lunches into plastic trash
bags, coolers, or boxes.
NOTE: Plan to carry out your trash, as we are a trash-free park.
"Wings of Fancy" exhibit information and rules
Please advise students not to touch, chase or catch the butterflies. No running is permitted in the conservatory. Students must stay on paths, use "inside voices" and be courteous to others.