The Butterfly House at Tyler Arboretum

Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly
Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele). Photo by Donna L. Long.

The Butterfly House is open at Tyler Arboretum. Each year the staff and volunteers net butterflies on the arboretum property and place them in the screened house.

butterfly house at Tyler Arboretum
Butterfly house at Tyler Arboretum. Photo by Donna L. Long.

The day I went, the house had Cabbage Whites, Orange Sulphurs, a Mourning Cloak, Silver-spotted Skipper, Monarchs and Great Spangled Fritillaries. I like the fact that these are local species not exotics from other lands.

Butterflies of Philadelphia: A Checklist

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) butterfly at Tyler Arboretum. Photo by Donna L. Long.

I also saw an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on the flowers outside the house.

Species that have been seen in the past but not lately include Black Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Gray Hairstreak, Red-banded Hairstreak and Eastern Tailed Blue.


Swamp Milkweed
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). Photo by Donna L. Long.

Apparently,  this last list of butterflies have not been spotted on the arboretum grounds for several years. I wonder if it is a natural dip in the respective species populations or a lack of appropriate plants. The arboretum has many non-native species of plants on the grounds.

Perhaps, planting larval host and nectar plants would help increase the butterfly populations. But, it is a large property (650 acres), I hopeful the larval plants are already there.


Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly
Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly (Speyeria cybele). Photo by Donna L. Long.

What is great about the House is that the butterflies are so close. I can sit on a comfortable bench, watch their habits and study the marking on the butterflies’ wings. And I can take wonderful photographs.

Monarch butterfly with tattered wing.
Monarch butterfly with tattered wing. Photo by Donna L. Long.

This Monarch landed on the ground beside the bench I was sitting on and stayed there for at least fifteen minutes.

I plan on visiting the Butterfly House every few weeks to see different species and take more photos.


When to Go to the Tyler Arboretum Butterfly House

Updated – December 23, 2020 – Please check with Tyler Arboretum if the Butterfly House is still available.

Tyler’s website is

The 1,400 square foot Butterfly House is open from Saturday, July 2 to Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

Access to the house is free with regular admission.

On August 31, 2011 there will be a Great Monarch Migration program were children and adults learn about and tag Monarchs.

There will be special event on Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The netting will be removed from the frame of the Butterfly House and the butterflies freed to depart on their southern journey.

Tyler Arboretum is located at 515 Painter Road, Media, PA 19063

All the photographs in this post where taken at the Butterfly House.

More Posts on Butterflies

Early Autumn Butterflies in My Garden

Observing Butterflies At Home and Far Away

Butterflies: A Table of Contents

Migrating Monarch at Cape May Point State Park 

The Butterfly Life Cycle 


  1. Looks like a great place to go, Donna. I’ve been researching cross quarter days today and found your older nature journal site with a great link to ‘archaeo astromony’ – Thanks for sharing the link. 🙂 Wow, you have so much info there. I can’t imagine the hours you’ve spent. Fantastic job, Donna. It’s good to run into you again!

    • Hi, Pam

      It’s so nice to hear from you.

      I am glad you found the information helpful. I really like the Celtic calendar of nature holidays. They make so much sense.

      I took down and added the useful material from that site to this blog. This blog is much easier to maintain and less expensive. And it is fun.

  2. Beautiful photos, Donna!

    Unfortunately, I recently learned the cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) is in fact an exotic introduced from Europe around 1860, which potentially competes with our native veined white butterfly (Pieris marginalis) to it’s detriment (

    I’m now on the hunt for the veined white, myself!

    • Yeah, the Cabbage White is non-nattive. And it is one of the few white butterflies here on the east coast. Cabbage Whites feed on Garlic Mustard, a invasive weed just about everywhere here in the Philadelphia area.

      Two white butterflies are in my area. The Checkered White (Ponita protodice), a local native white butterfly, is rarely seen. The Falcate Orangtip (Anthocharis midea) is more common.

      The Veined White Butterfly, you mentioned, is a west coast species. So, I never see it here in Philadelphia.

      I don’t know anything about the Veined White, but perhaps you can find out it’s larval host plants, plant them and help the species along.

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