Butterfly House at Albuquerque Botanic Garden

Atlas Moth

Atlas Moth

Earlier this week I was in Albuquerque, NM to speak at the BeeSWeek 2013: Scientific and Community Panel. When I travel to speak at conferences, I love to build in extra time so that I can see the birds and maybe some wildlife gardens in every new place I visit.

Buckeye Butterfly

Common Buckeye

While there I got to visit the Rio Grande Nature Center, which has a delightful native plant demonstration garden.

Emerald Swallowtail-se asia

Emerald Swallowtail, se asia

And I also had the extreme pleasure of meeting an online friend in person. I’ve known Linda Rockwell for over 5 years now, and she took me birding to Sandia Crest.

Malachite 3

Malachite Butterfly, from Mexico and Central America

Very early that morning I visited Tingley Beach, a beautiful park along the Rio Grande, and then I headed to the Albuquerque Botanic Garden in time for its 9am opening because I was hoping to see some of New Mexico’s beautiful native plants on display.

Zebra Longwing tongue curled

Zebra Longwing, check out that curled up tongue!

Sadly, the Albuquerque Botanic Garden is a plant zoo, which places much more emphasis on exotic plants than highlighting the plants that are representative of this high desert ecosystem.

Julia Helconian and Swallowtails

Julia Helconian and Swallowtails

So I headed over to the Albuquerque Botanic Garden Butterfly House because it’s often difficult to get good photos of butterflies, and a butterfly house is a great place to learn about butterflies from around the world and get to observe them up close.

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

The Butterfly House at Albuquerque Botanic Garden has a wide assortment of native butterflies, including Monarchs, Black Swallowtails, Painted Ladies, Commas, Buckeyes, and many others.

Black Swallowtail

Black Swallowtail

They also have quite an assortment of exotic butterflies from around the world, including the stunning Blue Morpho  and Malachite Butterfly from Central America, the Green Emerald  and Golden Birdwing from southeast Asia, and the giant Atlas Moth from Malaysia.

Tree Nymph-India

Tree Nymph, from India

Many volunteers are on hand to answer questions and provide education to the many children (of all ages) who flock to this display. Their wealth of knowledge about the butterflies in their care was truly impressive.

Great Southern White

Great Southern White

So if you’re in Albuquerque, especially if you have kids, I highly recommend you take the time to visit the Butterfly House at the Albuquerque Botanic Garden. The price of admission also include admission to the aquarium, and you can also get a combo ticket that will get you into the Albuquerque Zoo as well.

See more of my photos from the Butterfly House

Here’s a short video I made of the butterflies I saw:

And I even got to see the birds and the bees:

Have you ever visited a Butterfly Conservatory? I’d love to hear about it. Please tell me about your visit by leaving a comment below.

Check out my new free online course Ecosystem Gardening Essentials, 15 free lessons delivered to your inbox every week, teaching you to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for wildlife in your garden.

© 2013, Carole Sevilla Brown. All rights reserved. This article is the property of EcosystemGardening.com If you are reading this at another site, please report that to us

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About Carole Sevilla Brown

Carole Sevilla Brown is a Conservation Biologist who firmly believes that wildlife conservation begins in your own back yard. Carole is an author, educator, speaker, and passionate birder, butterfly watcher,  and naturalist who travels around the country teaching people to garden sustainably, conserve natural resources, and create welcoming habitat for wildlife so that you will attract more birds, butterflies, pollinators and other wildlife. She gardens for wildlife in Philadelphia, zone 6b, and created the philosophy of Ecosystem Gardening. Watch for her book Ecosystem Gardening, due out soon. Carole is managing editor of  Beautiful Wildlife Garden, and also  Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. Follow Carole on Facebook and also @CB4wildlife and on Google+


  1. I will remember this place for when I visit NM. Love it.
    Donna@Gardens Eye View recently posted..Those Wonderful June Blooms

  2. Kristin says:

    Hey. Does anyone know what has happened to our butterfly population in our Ohio backyard? This year is the first time I have seen very small-sized tiger swallowtails which arrived very early this spring? And, now I see none. Weather has been very nice, actually. No major storms, winter was cold but not an abundance of snow, and I have a perfect habitat for butterflies.

  3. Caroline Lawson says:

    I noticed your comment about the lack of native plants at our Botanic Garden. Because the terrain and climate in New Mexico differs so much from one region to the next as you travel north, many native plants won’t grow in Albuquerque. For plants that are native to the lower chihuahuan desert of southern NM, Albuquerque is too cold in the winter, the plants freeze. For plants native to the northern, more mountainous regions Albuquerque is too hot. The sun bakes these plants. However, there are many natives in the landscape around the gardens. Native shrubs and trees around the lake and in the Japanese Garden, desert plants in the Desert Conservatory, and flowering plants in the perennial garden.


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  7. [...] Black Swallowtails, Painted Ladies, Commas, Buckeyes, and many others….see them all at the Butterfly House at Albuquerque Botanic Garden at Ecosystem [...]

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