If you want to make a trip to a tropical climate, but just can’t get away for a few days, you might want to make a trip to Brookside Gardens at 1800 Glenallen Avenue, Wheaton 20902. Walk into the South Conservatory and you will be delighted by brilliant livebutterfly2 butterflies from North America, Costa Rica, Africa and Asia dancing over colorful flowers and going about their business of drinking nectar and looking for others of their kind. You will learn about their amazing change from caterpillar to butterfly, the important function that butterflies play in healthy ecosystems, and how to invite these beautiful insects into your own gardens.


Butterfly-Related Programs During the Wings of Fancy 2018 Exhibit

Wings of Fancy Butterfly Birthday Party
May – September

Be your own butterfly for the day, emerge from a chrysalis, craft your own butterflies to take home with you, and get up close and personal with butterflies at Brookside Gardens’ “Wings of Fancy’ Exhibit.

Garden after Dark: Wings and Wine
Wednesday, May 9 | 6:30-8:30 p.m.
What do butterflies do when the sun sets? Find out with exclusive evening access to our Wings of Fancy exhibit where you’ll learn more about the fascinating family of butterflies – Lepidoptera. Sample several wine varieties and enjoy light refreshments as butterflies and music swirl around you in our tropical conservatory. Finish off the evening with a decadent dessert. Must be 21.

Pollinator Party and Garden Camp
Monday, June 18 – Friday, June 22 | 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

What better fun than to have a party and celebration every day during National Pollinator Week? Each day you can  explore and learn about plants and pollinators, plus go behind the scenes and tour our Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly and Caterpillar Exhibit! Plant a pollinator garden, explore garden areas, go on a scavenger hunt, play fun games, make garden crafts, and meet new friends! Extended care is also available.

Focus on Butterflies
Saturdays and Sundays | 7-9 a.m.
Bring your tripod and enjoy two quiet hours of photography in our Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly and Caterpillar Exhibit before it opens to the public. Please note the new start time of 7:00 a.m. as the exhibit now opens to the public at 9:00 a.m. Register for as many sessions as you like. Reservations required and classes fill up quickly.

Hours For Brookside Garden and the Butterfly Exhibit

Gardens, sunrise – sunset
Visitors Center, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Conservatories, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Tickets for the Butterfly Exhibit

Wednesday, April 18-Sunday, September 16, 2018
$8 ages 13+
$5 ages 3-12
Free ages 0-2

Visitor Information

Purchasing Tickets: Tickets may be purchased at the Visitors Center or at the Conservatory gift shops. Tickets are good for re-entry to the Exhibit throughout the day of purchase. Frequent Visitor Passes also available for use throughout the duration of the Exhibit.

Frequent Visitor Pass! Purchase a Frequent Visitor Pass and come back often to the Exhibit this season. Individual, Dual, and Family Passes are on sale in the Gift Shop. $50 for the Individual pass, $65 for the Dual pass, and $125 for the Family Pass (6 person maxium).

Groups and Students

Brookside Gardens is happy to welcome school and private groups to visit and learn about these amazing pollinators. Group discounts are not available.  The tours are self-guided with interpretive signage, as well as suggestions for pre- and post-lesson activities to visiting organizations. Groups of 15 or more must pre-register by calling 301-962-1467. Please bring at least one chaperone for every children.

  1. Preschool, Daycare, Kindergarten and Adult Groups
    The organizers of Wings of Fancy ask that pre-school, daycare groups, kindergarten and adult groups let them know when visits to the Wings of Fancy Exhibit are planned so that the organizers can advise on the best day and time to visit. No tour guides are available but knowledgeable docents and interpretive signage are always available in the exhibit.
  2. First through 5th grade Student Groups
    Elementary school groups will receive self- guided tour instructions upon registering your group. Elementary school groups are scheduled weekdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at half-hour intervals. A maximum of 30 children can be scheduled per ½ hour.
  3. Butterfly Discoveries Educational Backpacks
    While waiting for your tour time, registered 1st through 5th-grade groups may borrow a self-guided “Butterfly Discoveries” educational backpack. Request one from the Brookside Gardens staff member that meets your bus. Each backpack contains five different self-guided activities for groups of 15 students working individually or 30 students in pairs. These activities reinforce lessons learned in the Exhibit and enhance your experience at Brookside Gardens.

Accessibility:  The Exhibit is wheelchair accessible.  Strollers are not permitted in the Exhibit.

Physical Conditions: The Exhibit is located inside a greenhouse, which is usually ten degrees warmer than the outside temperature and more humid. Visiting in the early morning hours is a way to enjoy the butterflies when the temperatures are more comfortable.  We encourage all visitors to bring water with them during hot weather and to drink water regularly.