Melbourne Zoo's Iconic Butterfly House Reopens

24 November 2020

Melbourne Zoo visitors can again feel the magical flutter of tiny wings passing by with the reopening of the Zoo’s iconic Butterfly House today.

The Butterfly House has been closed to visitors since July under coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. It is among the first of the indoor spaces at Melbourne Zoo to reopen to visitors, who will be required to wear a mask while inside.

Visitor numbers inside the Butterfly House will be capped to ensure physical distancing, and Zoo staff will monitor visitor flows. 

The reopening comes just in time for the 35th anniversary of the Butterfly House’s grand opening in December 1985.

Ectotherms Keeper Jessie Sinclair said keepers have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure the Butterfly House was ready to welcome visitors back.

“We’ve continued to breed all our butterfly species,” Ms Sinclair said. “They’re still laying eggs like they normally would, and then those eggs are taken back-of-house to be reared to caterpillars, chrysalis, and then finally come back in as butterflies. It means that we’re now slowly increasing the numbers, so we’ll have the normal 600 or so butterflies flying every day.

“We’ve also had a chance to do some planting and a fair bit of horticulture work as well as revamping our displays, which is fantastic.”

Melbourne Zoo’s Butterfly House features more than 600 butterflies from about 13 different tropical species, and is warmed to a steady temperature of around 27°C degrees year-round, providing tropical butterflies with the humidity they need to be able to flourish.

Since its opening in 1985, the Butterfly House at Melbourne Zoo has played an essential role in its ability to connect visitors and the broader community with invertebrates and tropical butterflies.

“It’s such a magical place,” said Ms Sinclair. “You walk in here and you are surrounded by the warm, humid, tropical feel, and you have around about 13 to 15 butterfly species that will come, and you’ll get to see all their natural behaviours. It’s absolutely brilliant to have people back here to see that.”

Melbourne Zoo reopened to visitors on 29 October under the latest changing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions by the Victorian Government. Daily visitor numbers are capped and all tickets must be pre-purchased online. Some indoor venues remain closed. For more information, visit: