Phoenix’s Butterfly Wonderland is a Sprawling Indoor Rainforest

Photo by Taylor Skaff on Unsplash

Phoenix, Arizona is a long, long way from the nearest natural rainforest. Yet tucked away in nearby Scottsdale, you will find a man-made, indoor rainforest packed to the rafters with tropical butterflies and a range of reptiles, birds and more.

It’s called Butterfly Wonderland, and it’s a must-see for any nature lovers that find themselves in the Phoenix area.

Butterfly Wonderland is located at Arizona Boardwalk in Scottsdale, a unique entertainment hub that features a total of eight attractions (OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Laser + Mirror Maze, Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs, Surprise Your Eyes, VR Extreme, and Polar Play Ice Bar) as well as plenty of dining and shopping options.

Visiting Arizona Boardwalk is free — as is parking — but there is a modest admission fee to attend Butterfly Wonderland: $24.95 for adults and $17.95 for children. Most visitors agree that that price is a bargain given the excitement that awaits inside.

Butterfly Wonderland is the largest butterfly conservatory in the United States, and one of the largest in North America. The facility’s main claim to fame is a sprawling indoor rainforest environment — right in the heart of the Arizona desert — where thousands of butterflies flutter freely. It’s also the home of an impressive selection of rainforest reptiles, some amazing tropical birds, and a colony of ever-productive honeybees.

“The conservatory is a rainforest paradise filled with thousands of butterflies that have traveled (via express post) from all over the world to greet our guests each day,” the Butterfly Wonderland website explains. “Watch as up to 70 different species meet for the first time, sip nectar from beautiful flowers, bask in the brilliant Arizona sunshine, and dance the day away. Our tropical paradise is also home to dozens of colorful Koi fish, some tiny tropical finches, and two amusing chickens.”

In addition, Butterfly Wonderland features a range of interactive exhibits, a Butterfly Emergence Gallery where you can watch live chrysalis transforming into beautiful butterflies and flying freely into the conservatory, a 3D movie theater where engaging and educational films are played, an on-site cafe and gift shop, and a popular “bug vending machine” known as the “Edible Insect Station” that teaches visitors about entomophagy — the practice of eating insects.

“Some of the tasty insect treats include chips made with cricket protein, chocolate covered ants, coconut brittle mealworms, and scorpion lollipops,” the Butterfly Wonderland website explains. Bon appetit!

The precise address of Butterfly Wonderland is 9500 E. Via de Ventura in Scottsdale, which is about a 25–30 minute drive from Downtown Phoenix. The facility open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm every day. Tickets can be purchased on-site, or online ahead of your visit. Just be sure to bring your camera when you head over to Scottsdale to check it out — photography is welcome and encouraged.

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