New York State In-depth

An afternoon in the Long Island Aquarium Butterfly Garden

Credit: Victoria Caruso

Looking for an indoor activity to escape the cold weather? A tropical garden filled with flowers, trees and vibrant butterflies awaits at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead.

The aquarium’s butterfly, beetle and bee habitat is the only one of its kind on Long Island. Inside, visitors can stroll down a stone path and watch as butterflies flutter freely from branch to branch. Scattered among the flowers are bowls of halved oranges and banana peels, attracting butterflies and providing food.

At any one time there are approximately 40 to 50 different butterfly species roaming the habitat. Each week, the aquarium’s entomologists take in between 800 and 1,200 pupae or pupae, the penultimate stage in a butterfly’s metamorphosis.

There is also a variety of other interesting insects including stick bugs, beetles and bees which are housed behind glass in the charming garden.

Spend a minute there with us.

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