After being inside all winter (and let’s face it, most of this year), your kids are probably eager to spread their wings. And a great way to (literally) do it? Check out one of the butterfly gardens in NJ where littles can marvel at all the different colors and species of plants and butterflies, and you’ll be able to sneak in a few Insta-worthy photos. Plus, they’ll learn how a caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly and what plants to grow to attract butterflies to your 2021 garden. Note: Each butterfly garden’s hours (and more) could change due to Covid-19, so please check the location’s website or give them a call before heading out.
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Here are 7 Butterfly Gardens in NJ to visit this spring
The Kate Gorrie Butterfly House in NJ — and The Watershed Reserve in general — is host to a wide range of native butterflies, as well as native plants that provide their nectar and shelter. Help your kiddos look for the well-known golden monarch butterflies — they’re known to shelter on milkweed species plants. Inside the butterfly house, you can find a recreation of all the habitats in Central NJ, from the fields to the wet meadows to the forests.
Open: Daily, dawn to dusk, starting in May for butterflies or mid-June for caterpillars and butterflies
31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington, NJ 08534
Phone Number: (609) 737-3735
The Essex County Environmental Center is an education center that emphasizes creating awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the environment. The butterfly garden is located inside West Essex Park among trails and a bunch of child-friendly gardens, including a Learning Garden. After exploring the Butterfly Garden, stop by the pollinator garden, which focuses on native plants that attract pollinators (like butterflies).
Open: Daily, dawn to dusk
621 Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland, NJ 07068
Phone Number: (973) 228-8776
Wheelabrator is a waste management company with a commitment to a clean environment. As such, Wheelabrator Gloucester has both a wildlife refuge and nature trail on 150 acres of wetlands around the facility — and towards the front of the refuge is a butterfly garden in NJ. After you finish up there, take a break at the picnic pavilion. If you want to make a whole afternoon of this with your fam, follow southjerseytrails.org’s guide to exploring the rest of the refuge.
Open: Daily, during daylight hours
600 US-130 (before you get to the gate, turn into the parking lot), West Deptford, NJ 08093
Phone Number: (856) 742-1484
Tenafly Nature Center’s Butterfly House in NJ has various butterflies to admire; however, it’s currently closed due to Covid-19. They’re hoping to reopen this summer, so keep an eye on their website for updates. In the Pollinator Garden, the plants, birds, and insects that inhabit the garden vary by season (early summer for butterflies).
Pollinator Garden Open: Daily, one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset
Cost: Tenafly Nature Center members — free. Non-members — $2 per person or $10 per family.
313 Hudson Avenue, Tenafly, NJ 07670
Phone Number: (201) 568-6093
The variety of plants at The Mark Landrum Children’s Butterfly Garden in NJ not only serves as a beautiful backdrop for your photos of the kiddos — but they also provide food and shelter for the local butterflies (and birds). In particular: Two milkweed species attract monarch butterflies, and herbs like dill, parsley, and fennel are popular among swallowtail butterflies. Bonus: Swing by the turtlehead, bee balm, and honeysuckle plants to try and get a glimpse of some hummingbirds.
Open: Daily, 9AM-6PM
21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair, NJ 07042
Phone Number: (973) 744-4752
The Philadelphia Eagles Four Seasons Butterfly House in NJ at Camden Children’s Garden offers a wide array of butterfly species for you and your kiddos to marvel at. Plus, the spacious 1,200 square foot butterfly house in NJ gives your fam plenty of space to walk around and enjoy the tropical feel. Make sure to stop by the peaceful pond and bubbling fountain for some photos for the ‘gram.
Open: Spring — keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for updates on the specific date.
Cost: $6 for general admission; children one and under are free
3 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ 08103
Phone Number: (856) 365-8733
If you’re looking for a spot filled with butterflies, check out Turtle Back Zoo’s Butterfly Tent — this 100-foot long space has over 700 butterflies from six different North American species. Your littles can see butterflies in their different stages in this one space, from eggs to caterpillars to chrysalises to butterflies. And after you finish marveling at the butterflies, make an afternoon of it — you’ve got the whole rest of the zoo to explore.
Open: Daily, 10AM-3PM, from Memorial Day (May 31) to Labor Day (September 6)
Cost: $2 per person for the Butterfly Tent in addition to Zoo entry fees
560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052
Phone Number: (973) 731-5800
Woodbridge Township’s Butterfly Garden in NJ, which the Woodbridge River Watch maintains, is simple but peaceful. Let your kiddos run around on the walkways to explore the garden, sit on the nearby benches to enjoy the spring weather, and check out the charming gazebo.
Open: Daily, dawn to dusk
Omar Avenue, Avenel, NJ 07001
Phone Number: (732) 738-1311