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Live Butterfly Garden®

Quick Overview

A Family Favorite since 1969, from the Original Butterflies-By-Mail Company!

Watch the Miracle of Metamorphosis in your own home or classroom!

The Live Butterfly Garden offers children the invaluable lessons of metamorphosis, science, patterns, patience, and life cycle studies. Give the Magic of Metamorphosis to a child you love.

Insect Lore provides two options when you order the Live Butterfly Garden. Order your Live Butterfly Garden with Cup of Caterpillars NOW, or order your Live Butterfly Garden with Certificate, which allows you to redeem your Cup of Caterpillars LATER.

"Shipped with Live Caterpillars NOW" is usually the best choice. You'll save valuable time and you will receive everything you need in one convenient, exciting package.

"With Certificate for Caterpillars LATER" is a good option only if you are not sure when you will be ready to receive and raise your butterfly larvae. This option includes an additional cost for shipping and handling the larvae later.


Availability: In stock

Product Name Price Qty
Live Butterfly Garden Shipped With Live Caterpillars NOW (#02221)
Live Butterfly Garden With Certificate For Caterpillars LATER (#01010)



“This kit provided my children with a wonderful, exciting learning experience they will never forget!”

 “Releasing them was the best part and they stayed in our yard for several days.”


Watch the Miracle of Metamorphosis Up Close

This educational kit gives children, students and families an unforgettable opportunity to watch caterpillars change into chrysalides and then emerge as beautiful Painted Lady Butterflies. Raise and feed your very own butterflies and then release them into the wild! The entire transformation from caterpillar to adult butterfly takes about three weeks.


The Live Butterfly Garden Includes:

  • Pop-up, reusable 11.5-inch tall mesh habitat perfect for butterfly viewing!
  • Feeding Pipette
  • Complete Live Butterfly Garden Instructions.
  • A cup of 5 live caterpillars either: included NOW, or redeemed online or by mail LATER using the certificate included in the box. Choose the option best for you. Please note that an additional $5 fee is required when you redeem your certificate. This fee covers the cost of shipping and handling your Cup of Caterpillars. 3 of the 5 caterpillars are guaranteed to develop into perfect specimens.


See An Amazing Transformation

5 caterpillars (a live butterfly culture) will arrive in a clear plastic cup with all of the nutritious food they need. Place the cup in a safe place away from direct sunlight. The caterpillars will remain in the cup and will eat, spin silk and grow to TEN times their original size! After seven to ten days they will hang upside down and harden into chrysalides (chrysalides are also known as pupae).


Raise Your Very Own Butterflies

The Butterfly Garden Habitat is a reusable, cylindrical mesh container perfect for up close butterfly viewing! When not in use it folds flat for easy storage. Once the chrysalides have hardened, gently move them to the pop-up butterfly habitat. It will take about seven to ten more days for them to complete the transformation to adult butterflies. Everyone will want to keep a close eye on the habitat so they can witness the fascinating birth of their Painted Lady Butterflies.


Once your butterflies emerge, children will love feeding them! To make the butterfly nectar, thoroughly mix 3 teaspoons of sugar with 1 cup of water. Place fresh flowers in the habitat for your butterflies to rest on and then use the feeding pipette included to sprinkle the nectar on the flowers daily.  Watch your butterflies eagerly sip the nectar with their long proboscises. Butterflies also love to feed from fresh slices of watermelon and oranges!


Set Your Butterflies Free!

Enjoy your butterflies for a few days, and then experience the excitement of letting them go to continue their amazing life cycle.  Release your butterflies within a week of their emergence from the chrysalides when temperatures are above 55 degrees. Simply take the butterfly habitat out to your yard, unzip the cover, and let your butterflies go. Butterflies will often land on little hands and faces before flying away. Watch for your butterfly friends, as they may decide to remain in your garden for a few days!


Experience Metamorphosis Again and Again!

Cup of Caterpillars refills for your Live Butterfly Garden are available here.


Did You Know Butterflies Taste With Their Feet?

Find interesting butterfly facts and answers to many butterfly questions by visiting our Butterfly FAQ as well as our in-depth Live Butterfly Garden Instructions.


Recommended for Ages 4 and Up with Adult Supervision.

  • A family and classroom favorite for over 40 years!
  • Insect Lore has shipped over 50 million butterflies since 1969.
  • Experience the Miracle of Metamorphosis up close.
  • An unforgettable learning experience for ages 4 and up
  • Your choice to receive The Live Butterfly Garden with 5 caterpillars NOW, OR to receive The Live Butterfly Garden with a certificate to redeem your 5 caterpillars online or by mail LATER
  • 5 caterpillars (a live butterfly culture) and nutritious food shipped to your door
  • Watch your caterpillars grow, harden into chrysalides and then transform into beautiful Painted Lady Butterflies.
  • Insect Lore guarantees that at least 3 of the 5 caterpillars will successfully metamorphose into adult butterflies.
  • Butterflies are coldblooded, so it is important to release them when temperatures are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. If temperatures are below 55 degrees, keep your butterflies indoors and in their habitat for their entire life cycle.
  • Live caterpillars are shipped to destinations within the Continental USA,  Alaska and Canada. We cannot ship caterpillars to Hawaii.
  • It is best to have your live caterpillars sent to a building (where temperatures are controlled) rather than to an outdoor mailbox.
  • Please be prepared to receive shipment of your live caterpillars. Shipments of live caterpillars must be opened upon receipt. To ensure the survival of your live caterpillars, do not leave live shipments unattended.
  • Cup of Caterpillars refills are available here.



Weight: 0.00 lbs

 Shipping: Live caterpillars are shipped to destinations within the Continental USA and Alaska. We cannot ship live caterpillars to Hawaii.

Manufacturer Recommended Age: 4 and up

Warning: Choking Hazard. Small parts. Not recommended for children under 3 years.

  1. Fun for the whole family! Review by Kris10 - Scottsdale, Arizona

    This has been fun, exciting and educational. The kids and parents have bonded about this experience. It's a great gift that will spark questions out of small children... and adults. The customer service is also fast and fantastic. One of our chrysalis fell and within minutes, I had a response via e-mail on what to do. I will be a repeat customer buying this program for gifts and probably again for our family! (Posted on 2/12/14)

  2. Great Service Review by Jeannine - Boulder, Co

    Our package of caterpillars was delivered to our neighbors by mistake. It sat in the sun all day before they gave it to us and as a result the caterpillars were all dead. I wrote to Insectlore and they sent out ASAP. (Posted on 8/30/13)

  3. So fun! Review by HIlary - Columbus, Kansas

    I love using the Butterfly Gardens! Such a great learning experience in the classroom or at home. (Posted on 8/26/13)

  4. GREAT Review by mary - nc, usa

    so fun!! the butterflis wher biutiful (Posted on 8/23/13)

  5. fun Review by Deanna - Jacksonville, Florida

    We enjoyed the Chrysalides turning into butterflies. Unfortunately, we never got to see the caterpillars. They were already hanging from the top of the cup when we received them. (Posted on 8/20/13)

  6. Great Summer Project! Review by MissAubrey'sMom - Stephens City, Va

    My 3 year old daughter LOVES butterflies and she had so much fun doing this project. I paired it with the Dr. Seuss' My oh My a Butterfly book and she learned so much about butterflies and had a blast doing it. Her favorite part was setting them free and having them land on her hand before flying away. I highly recommend this fun and educational project for anyone with a toddler. :-) (Posted on 8/2/13)

  7. Good purchase Review by Dawn - Centerville, Ohio

    This was a good purchase, and my son was very happy when we were able to release the butterflies. It was a bit messy when adding the food for the butterflies, so be sure to place on plenty of layers of newspapers! But, overall a great teaching tool for my son :) (Posted on 7/31/13)

  8. kids loved it! Review by Angela - SAN DIEGO, CA

    everything worked as the directions explained (Posted on 7/26/13)

  9. What Fun Review by Lionllg - Bear, DE

    My kids loved this product. It was so cool to watch the caterpillars grow and turn into beautiful butterflies. All 5 of our butterflies came out. Great learning exp and great fun. Highly recommend. (Posted on 7/26/13)

  10. So much fun for small children! Review by Malinda - Centerburg, Ohio

    I tried this kit last year, when my daughter was 2.5yrs old and my son only a baby. This year, I purchased the caterpillar refill so we can do it again. Even as young as the kids were the first time, my daughter was fascinated with growing "baby butterflies" and helping them out into the world. We live in the country and see many animals and insects regularly... but this left a lasting impression on her. Some months ago, she noticed the butterfly enclosure in the garage in storage and excitedly asked (out of the blue) if we were going to help more baby butterflies. Considering her age, I am often impressed with her memory...and this was no exception! Obviously, this kit made a very positive impression on her. I cannot wait to bring my young son into the mix as they watch the new babies emerge!
    Highly recommend! (Posted on 6/21/13)

  11. Wonderful Learning Project Review by John - Royal Oak, Michigan

    I purchased the Live Butterfly Garden for my 4 year old grand-neice. We followed the instructions and the product worked exactly as described (helps to watch the Youtube instructions in addition to the instruction pamphlet). It was a great learning experience for both of us. On the final day of release, the butterflies sat on my grand-niece's hands for a few minutes before taking flight I highly recommend it! (Posted on 6/14/13)

  12. Its great 5 stars Review by Dylan - staten island, NY

    I been getting these butterflies for my son since he was a baby now its a tradial that every year we get one we are now getting them for this year. (Posted on 6/13/13)

  13. Watch the weather.. Review by KBD - Montauk, NY

    This was a great experience to watch the caterpillars turn into beautiful butterflies. We can not release them because the weather temperature outside is just too chilly. Before ordering them wait until it is warmer out at night. We are very lucky not to far from where we live to have an aquarium which has a butterfly exhibit. They are willing to let our butterflies be released inside their exhibit where the temperature is best for them. Next year when we do it again - it will be during the last summer months when the
    the weather is better for them to be released. (Posted on 5/29/13)

  14. loved it Review by Kacismom - Los Angeles, California

    I got this for my daughter for her 4th birthday. I may have enjoyed it more than she did. We followed all of the instructions and now have 4 butterflies in our habitat. We feed them daily and will let them go soon. It was totally interesting to watch the caterpillars eat and grow. Way cool!
    Highly recommend! (Posted on 5/17/13)

  15. Love it Review by Liz haisler - Taylor, Texas

    Using it at Assisted Living in Taylor, they are so excited watching the changes. Love it, thank you. (Posted on 5/14/13)

  16. good Review by puppy - bufflow, new york

    it helps kids learn about butterflies life cycle. (Posted on 5/13/13)

  17. A Must Have Review by Niki - OAK GROVE, Mo

    I bought this for my 10 year old daughter. We had so much fun, watching the teeny, tiny caterpillars go through the stages of their life. Lots of emotion from not knowing if they were alive, to one hurting their wing, and bleeding all over our garden. 4 of our butterflies made it, they are so sweet, and they love to sit on my daughters hands. Thank you, this is a great idea. I just ordered my second set to surprise my daughter.
    (Posted on 5/12/13)

  18. Love it! Review by Preschool teacher - Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska

    I love doing this with my preschoolers. The first thing that they do every morning is to check on what is happening in the butterfly garden. They love to watch them fly. (Posted on 5/8/13)

  19. Excellent Review by K3 Educator - Goose Creek, SC

    I have been buying this kit for my son (10) for years and he really enjoys watching and waiting on the butterflies. This year I bought it for my class of 3 year old children and they were absolutely amazed. They learned from it and enjoyed it! (Posted on 5/5/13)

  20. GREAT! Review by Allie - San Jose, California

    I got this for my 5 year old son and he is super happy with it it is everything he expected! The only thing was we got 5 caterpillers and 1 was way smaller than the other ones and they were not able to transform at the same time so the smallest one died :( (Posted on 5/4/13)

  21. Lots of fun! Review by GREAT! - Wilkes-Barre, PA

    I thought this was great! I wasn't sure how it would work. All 5 of my caterpillars turned into butterflies and when we were setting them free one of them hung around for awhile and I got some great pictures of my kids holding it :) It did then fly away. I recommended this product to others and would get this again! (Posted on 5/4/13)

  22. Excellent Review by Mom of 5 - Washington, Missouri

    My son recieved a certificate for a live butterfly kit for his 4th birthday. He is 12 now and we have been getting one every year since. It was the most wonderful, educational, experience for him and his 4 siblings. It's so much fun for the kids, they don't realize they are learning. I highly recommend this for anyone with kids. They are easily contained until the time to set them free. My children usually name them (Posted on 4/25/13)

  23. Lots of fun Review by Butterfly girls - Lehi, Utah

    I have 3 girls and we had a great time watching the caterpillars grow and turn to butterflies. They all lived and developed into beautiful butterflies. (Posted on 4/23/13)

  24. Should not have an extra fee. Review by prek fun - Houston, TX

    The container is sturdier than the box type I have had in the past but the fact that there is an additional "processing" fee of $5 when you send in your coupon is a total rip off. The purchase pice should be all inclusive. So sorry that your policy has chnged on htis. (Posted on 4/22/13)

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