Smithsonian Garden
Smithsonian Garden
4.5
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Monday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Tuesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Wednesday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Thursday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Friday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Saturday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
Sunday
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Columbia Heights
How to get there
  • U St • 10 min walk
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles92 reviews
Excellent
48
Very good
28
Average
11
Poor
5
Terrible
1

LolaGo1
Washington DC, DC6,630 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2014 • Business
Notes for other TA Reviewers/Readers:

1. The Smithsonian Butterfly Habitat Garden is located OUTSIDE of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and is located on 9th Street, between Constitution and the National Mall. If you exit the museum towards the Mall, the Garden is located on the left side of the building. It looks like a beautiful passage way, with flowers and signs regarding butterflies along the way.

2. The Butterfly Pavilion is located INSIDE the Smithsonian National Museum of the Natural History, at the SECOND FLOOR or level.

3. Entrance fees - FREE for Butterfly Habitat Garden; $6.00 per adult person is charged at the Butterfly Pavilion.

Tips: Enjoy your visit of the Garden. From the various signs displayed in the garden, learn what other flowering plants you can add in your own garden to attract more butterflies. Sit down at one of the benches and admire the beautiful flowers and occasional butterflies flying by.
Written 9 July 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AnnArborMiBob
Ann Arbor, MI1,621 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2012 • Solo
As a quick check with your favorite web search engine will confirm, the "Smithsonian Butterfly Habitat Garden" is *not* the Butterfly Pavilion on the upper floor of the National Museum of Natural History, but rather an *outdoor* garden just off the southeast corner of the NMNH that is free to everyone. While the butterflies in the Habitat Garden aren't the hothouse beauties in the Pavilion that are bred to be numerous at all times of the year, it is still true during the right seasons, when the habitat vegetation is drawing them, they are a treat for the eyes of the lepidopterally inclined. (Yeah, I know that there's no such word, so sue me....)
Written 1 August 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sail29er
Toronto, Canada272 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2015 • Friends
So so so glad my friend and I (both adults) opted to spend the extra $6 each to do this. You select a time you go in and you don't get kicked out of the small garden. There are soo many beautiful butterflies that will fly around, sometimes landing on you! The staff inside are wonderful, with great knowledge and so kind. They make a big difference in the experience. In addition to the butterflies, you can learn about some of the caterpillars.
Written 19 January 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joseph C
Washington DC, DC54 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2011 • Solo
The Butterfly Pavilion is housed inside the Natural History Museum, which is one of the most popular components of the Smithsonian Institution. While most Smithsonian museums are free, there is a fee to enter the Butterfly Pavilion--except on Tuesdays, when it's free. Regardless of the day, you'll need a time-stamped ticket available only at the pavilion, typically for a visit two hours after you obtain the ticket. I therefore recommend getting a ticket immediately upon your arrival at the museum, spending a couple of hours enjoying other marvelous exhibits inside the Natural History Museum, then returning to the Butterfly Pavilion.

The pavilion is fairly small, so the number of visitors at any time is constrained, but the small space also means the butterflies are densely packed. It's fun to be surrounded by these beautiful insects, and most children would enjoy it, though parents will need to ensure the children don't inadvertently squash any of these delicate creatures, who often alight on the visitors. The best part is that the butterflies are so accustomed to visitors that you can get a very close-up view of them, either for photography or to examine their structure and behavior. I was delighted to watch one uncurl its proboscis to suck nectar from a flower, just inches away from my eyes.

There are guides who can answer questions about the butterflies, but the explanatory plaques inside and outside the pavilion are fairly simplistic. Unlike most portions of the Natural History Museum, there's not much emphasis here on scientific concepts. This is more of an immersive, experiential display of natural beauty. Because the pavilion is small, I probably would have felt shortchanged if I'd paid for the visit, but I planned my visit for a free Tuesday.

The nearest metro station is National Archives/Navy Memorial, which is at most a five-minute walk from the north entrance of the Natural History Museum; from that entrance, you'll go upstairs and to the right to reach the Butterfly Pavilion. There are clean, free public restrooms elsewhere in the museum.
Written 15 January 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jakesmomVirginia
Virginia4 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
This exhibit is not worth the entry fee nor the wait (even with timed-entry tickets purchased in advance we waited about half an hour). They only let in about 8 people at the time, undoubtedly because of the miniscule size of this exhibit. I don't think I would bother to return even if it were free. It is so extremely small (total square footage probably smaller than my kitchen) and there are not that many butterflies. The ceiling is very low, and despite the small number of butterflies, they literally fly directly into your face because they have nowhere else to go. Some of them are certainly beautiful, but there are numerous outdoor places you could see pretty butterflies from spring to fall in this area. The staff is fairly rude and acts like this is the most amazing thing in the world. They practically frisk you when you leave, lest you be pilfering a butterfly. Again, the butterflies are beautiful, but they have a life cycle of about two weeks and these people act like they are guarding the Hope diamond. I have been to Butterfly World in Florida, which was fascinating and very relaxing, HUGE, with tons of butterflies, classical music and the people there were exceedingly friendly. I was sorely disappointed in this Smithsonian exhibit; it was nothing at all like Butterfly World. I would discourage anyone going to the Smithsonian from going to see this. Oh, and you can more or less peek in from the "public" exhibit and see the butterflies through the window.
Written 14 July 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Doug
Atlanta, GA66 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2012 • Family
We were a little turned off by the price (OK, so we're spoiled that all the Smithsonian Museums are free), but were ultimately glad that we elected to visit the butterfly habitat. It is amazing to see the sheer volume of butterflies present and the kids were elated when some decided to land on their outstretched hands. A few even tried to escape with us on my daughters clothes. The habitat is relatively small and it doesn't take long to get your fill, but it is worth it.
Written 7 February 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MSIndia
Washington DC, DC181 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
July 2012 • Couples
The butterfly habitat garden is located on top floor of Smithsonian Natural History museum. This is a big museum so one may tend to miss this place or skip it however do make it a point to go inside the garden. The ticket for 6.5$ pp seems too much at first but its well worth it. The waiting time can be slow sometimes however once inside time flies by. There are any species of butterflies and kids and adults everyone seemed to be enjoying this place. For photographers this place is a delight too. My mom was dressed in green and I noticed that she had way too many butterflies sitting on her. Maybe that's a trick to get them to come closer to you.
Written 27 November 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Madaline
33 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
The Holidy Train Display was amazing! We arrived about 4:30p on a Saturday and there was no line at all (they said the previous weekend the line was hours long). The train and DC building displays in plant materials were absolutely wonderful! We took lots of phots and videos to share with our son who LOVES trains (parent guilt for leaving him home; next time he gets DC for Christmas!).
Written 10 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mich-n-irina
75 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019 • Couples
Beautifully maintained, gorgeous colors. Lots of butterflies! Nice shade on a warm day. Not as crowded as the other Smithsonian properties.
Written 20 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LolaGo1
Washington DC, DC6,630 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
I'm glad that the Smithsonian has several gardens located near its museums and galleries. Though most of them are small like this garden, they provide respite and change of sceneries for the visitors who might get bored visiting one museum after another in Washington, DC.

Plants noted in this garden are good habitats or homes for the butterflies and sources of their own foods. It was a nice experience watching some butterflies flying from one flower to another!

For 2020 planting season, I intend to have more plants that butterflies prefer for their sources of foods and habitat in my OWN Garden Beds.
Written 20 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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