Behind the Scenes Butterfly Tour

Each week, we receive hundreds of butterfly chrysalides and moth cocoons and wait as they undergo their metamorphic magic. See it happen on this Behind-the-scenes tour.

Schedule a Tour

Go Behind the Scenes

What does it take to run a butterfly house? For starters; patience! Each week, we receive hundreds of butterfly chrysalides and moth cocoons and wait as they undergo their metamorphic magic. What you may not know is that the purchase of these butterflies from tropical butterfly farms adds to a sustainable rainforest economy.

We work with butterfly farmers around the world to keep the butterfly house full of tropical beauties. Over the last 30 years, butterfly farming has blossomed into a vital economic alternative to logging and other activities that destroy the rain forest. Join the fun and reserve a Behind the Scenes Butterfly Tour.

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Pupa: also known as a chrysalis or cocoon. This phase takes place after they are caterpillars but aren’t fully matured.

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Chrysalis: the hard outer shell formed around a butterfly pupa.

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Cocoon: a silky case spun by moth larvae.

Tour Information

Ages: All ages
Time: 30 min
Tour Size: 4 Maximum (Limited per USDA regulations)
Availability: See Listings

Registration: Call 605-334-9466 x10 or email becca@sdaquarium.org to schedule your experience
Price (does not include admission): $10/person
Activity: Get a behind-the-scenes look with our Biologist as she prepares these pupae shipments.

Getting Ready for Your Tour

Wearing non-slip shoes is recommended (flip-flops, crocs and heels not suggested)

Dress comfortably with layers, the butterfly containment area is kept at 80-85 degrees.

Plan to arrive no more than 5 minutes before your tour. Check in at our main facility entrance.

Stay late—your admission is good for a full day of exploration.

When booking a tour, please notify staff member of any guests with special needs.

Schedule Your Tour Today

Join our experienced biologists in processing a butterfly shipment—even try pinning a butterfly chrysalis yourself.

Experience 3

After Dark Experience

What is a butterfly's bedtime? Do they fly at night? Find out on an after dark flashlight group tour through the jungle. For $15 a person, you'll get an exclusive look at our nocturnal species. Each event features activities designed for fun and learning.
Experience 2

Butterfly Feeding

Help us keep our most popular inhabitants happy and healthy with a unique look at how butterflies eat. They'll be eating out of the palm of your hand! Purchase your butterfly feeding equipment for $3 at the admissions counter for up-close-and-personal fun.