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  Cox Arboretum MetroPark
Cox Arboretum MetroPark
6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton, Ohio 45449
(937) 434-9005
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Closed for the season
Our native-Ohio Butterfly House enables children and adults to view native butterflies and moths in all stages of metamorphosis. It is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with knowledgeable volunteers on hand from 10 a.m. to noon Monday-Saturday and noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday through August 29. Exploration will bring discoveries about the various species of butterflies and plants making each experience a personal connection with nature.

Species such as painted lady, red admiral, monarch, giant swallowtail, black swallowtail, spicebush swallowtail, tiger swallowtail, luna moth, Cecropia moth, Polyphemus moth and pipevine swallowtail are featured.

The mission of the house is to exhibit native butterflies in a natural environment, captivate visitors, inspire protection of threatened habitats, and educate the public on butterfly/moth life cycles and their plant partnerships.

About the Facility
Our Butterfly House is a living showcase of native southwest Ohio butterflies and moths. During the Butterfly Housesummer, visitors can get an up-close encounter with butterfly eggs, caterpillars, butterflies emerging from their chrysalises, adult butterflies and native moths.

The gardens inside the house include nectar plants for the adult butterflies and also host plants for the caterpillars. By including both types of plants, the moths and butterflies can complete their entire life cycle. Butterflies and moths are not purchased from outside sources. Rather they are captured on the grounds and released into the house. As the butterfly season comes to a close, the insects are released outside. Cox Arboretum MetroPark takes part each year in the tagging program that Monarch Watch conducts. All the monarchs raised in the house are then tagged and released to make the migration to Mexico.

Things to Do

  1. Listen for the Pipevine swallowtail caterpillars chewing pipevine leaves.
  2. Look for swallowtail butterflies puddling in the back of the Butterfly House.
  3. Discover more about what host plants you can grow at home to attract butterflies.
  4. Search for caterpillar eggs. Female Monarchs can lay up to 400 eggs-how many can you find?
  5. Discover the difference between a cocoon and a chrysalis by stopping in the Gazebo.
  6. Look for plants that humans AND caterpillars eat—like fennel, parsley and tomatoes.
  7. Stop at the butterfly chair for a picture with the family.
  8. Return in the evening to look for moths in the Pollinator Garden surrounding Butterfly House.
  9. Search for butterflies in the gardens surrounding the house and Conservation Corner.
  10. Be sure to return all throughout butterfly season to see new species of butterflies and moths!

The Butterfly House opened to the public in the summer of 1998. At that time, it was one of only four such facilities in the United States. Now there are many butterfly houses and exhibits throughout the U.S. and the world, but Cox Arboretum MetroPark’s Butterfly House remains one of the few that exhibits all native butterflies.

School Group Tour Info
Who doesn’t love the butterfly? Students will get up close to this elusive pollinator in our popular summer exhibit.

Students will be able to:

  • Explain the phases of complete metamorphosis
  • Name 4 native butterflies or moths
  • Use observation skills to discover butterflies at all stages of their metamorphosis

Butterfly HouseAvailability is limited so sign up early! To schedule, call the Education Department at (937) 434-9005. A variety of other guided and self-guided field trips are available and can be found here. Please call 937-434-9005 to schedule a visit.

Butterfly House
Butterfly Caterpillar
© Laura James © Bill Worman
MetroParks for Families
Hours and Contact Information

Closed for the season - check back summer 2016!

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