Located just 12 miles east of Traverse City, the G.T. Butterfly House & Bug Zoo has three main goals: to entertain, educate and engage. Fostering visitors’ understanding of these creatures is critical because it makes them more likely to conserve and protect them, owner and Traverse City native Cyndie Bobier notes. “If you don’t know about a species, how could you ever protect it?”

To get a closer look at one of Michigan’s favorite fliers, we stopped by the G.T. Butterfly House & Bug Zoo to learn about the monarch butterfly. Read on to learn about how many monarchs are in residence at the Butterfly House. Then get fun facts and learn about upcoming educational programming.


G.T. Butterfly House & Bug Zoo

How many monarchs are housed in the G.T. Butterfly House and Bug Zoo?

Zoologists at the Butterfly House released fifty monarchs into the garden last week, and they will continue to add more throughout the season.

How do you identify the monarch butterfly?

Monarchs can be identified by their bright orange wings making them toxic to predators. Their bright orange colors warn predators that they taste bad.

What’s the scientific name for the monarch butterfly and what’s their average life span?

Monarchs are scientifically known as Danaus Plexippus and they live for about eight weeks. Monarchs are as light as a feather, weighing in at around 10 grams!

Fun facts about monarch butterflies:

  • Monarchs can only survive in regions with milkweed. Milkweed is their “host plant,” and where they lay their eggs. Monarch caterpillars can devour an entire milkweed leaf in less than five minutes! They also happen to be toxic. Monarchs absorb the toxins from the milkweed as caterpillars and later use them as a self-defense mechanism against predators.
  • Their wings flap 300-700 times per minute—which is a slower rate than most butterflies—but they can travel up to 25 miles per hour!
Four-year-old Alayna Thompson and six-year-old Beau Thompson stopped by the G.T. Butterfly House & Bug Zoo with their grandparents while visiting from Kentucky.

Four-year-old Alayna and six-year-old Beau stopped by the G.T. Butterfly House & Bug Zoo with their grandparents while visiting from Kentucky.

See the monarch butterfly in action!

The G.T. Butterfly House & Bug Zoo took flight this May for its first full season. Experience the monarch and learn about dozens of other butterfly and bug species at the G.T. Butterfly House & Bug Zoo, located at 8840 East M-72 in Williamsburg and open daily from 10 to 6PM. They offer group tours, field trips for school groups and Junior Zoo Keeper classes.

The G.T. Butterfly House partners with the Grand Traverse Conservation District, a nonprofit entity in Traverse City, to provide youth programming. Summer camps feature comprehensive classes taught by qualified educators who share their expertise about bugs, birds and more with you!

Find out more about upcoming classes and camps at the G.T. Butterfly House & Bug Zoo.



Photo(s) by Colleen Otte