Butterflies in San Diego

The Wild Animal Park’s Butterfly Jungle just closed for the year, but San Diego kids can continue to mingle with pollinators all summer long. From the Water Conservation Garden, to the Monarch Program, the NAT to Butterfly Farms, families can learn about and get up close with beautiful butterflies.

Butterfly Festival this weekend!

photo credit: Water Conservation Garden

A wonderful place for families to explore is the Water Conservation Garden, featuring nearly six acres of beautiful gardens and monthly education programs and classes. This weekend families can enjoy the opening of the garden’s butterfly pavilion, meet “Ms. Smarty Plants” at her pollinator party, attend story time with “Miss Metamorphosis,” get their faces painted and create butterfly themed crafts.

The Spring Garden & Butterfly Festival

Saturday, April 29th  

9 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West

for a schedule of events, visit thegarden.org/springfestival


Why pay a lot of money to wait in long lines at the zoo when you can get up close with butterflies for just $5 per person (kids under 3 are free!). Butterfly Farms is located in Encinitas and is working to conserve native butterflies and their habitats through education, research and conservation. Their butterfly vivarium is the largest native butterfly free house in Southern California. It’s home to many different native butterfly species, including the Cloudless Sulfur, Cabbage Whites, Painted Ladies, Gulf Fritillaries, Anise Swallowtails, their most popular butterfly, the Monarch.

Families can take a self-guided tour of Butterfly Farms, weather permitting, Monday through Saturday from March through November from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. (closed on holidays).  

Butterfly Farms

441 Saxony Road

Encinitas, CA 92024  


There’s another place you can walk amongst the butterflies, and that’s The Monarch Program in the Fallbrook area. People of all ages can hand feed fruit to the butterflies, see caterpillars and the life cycle, take photographs and learn about native butterflies. This location is smaller than their previous Encinitas facility, which we loved visiting,  but very butterfly friendly and used as a mating and research center.

The Monarch Program’s Flight House is open on weekends from 11 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., or by appointment on week days.

The Monarch Program

4558 Pala Road (Hwy. 76) 

Fallbrook, CA 92028


photo credit: the Monarch Program

San Diego’s Natural History Museum’s last Family Day of the season will focus on none other than butterflies! Join the museum for their “Just Winging It” Family Day, and discover more about these beautiful and fascinating creatures. Learn more about life cycles and different types of butterflies. Take part in butterfly-inspired activities and crafts.

Family Days are free to members or included with paid admission. The event runs from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., with Ms. Frizzle offering Family Day participants a wild and wacky performance in the Museum’s giant-screen theater at noon. Wind up your mental motor and cruise on down to surf some brain waves with the Frizz, from The Magic School Bus® series.

Family Day at the San Diego Natural History Museum (the NAT)

Monday, May 29th 

11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

1788 El Prado, Balboa Park



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