Come and Visit the Butterflies!

If you plan to attend the Butterfly Show in-person, please carefully read the details below.

Timed Tickets

In 2022 we are trying something new!

We will be issuing tickets at the door for designated times. Upon arrival, follow the line inside the Nesbitt Lobby to see our volunteers. They will advise you of the next available timed ticket block and give you a card for this time block. Once you have a card for each member of your party, you are free to leave the line. Please return 5 minutes in advance of your timed ticket. Our volunteers will grant you access into the greenhouse when the previous group has vacated.

The timed tickets are scheduled every 20 minutes and allow each group 15 minutes to enjoy the butterflies. The first time block begins at 9 a.m. and the last entry to the greenhouse will take place at 3:40 p.m.

Timed tickets can only be collected same day and they cannot be obtained online. We will update the Butterfly Show Homepage when our timed tickets are filled for the day. Be aware, space is limited. We recommend arriving early in the day to secure a spot.

If you miss your timed ticket, you may miss your opportunity to see the butterflies. We cannot guarantee entry to the greenhouse outside of your timed ticket.

If you are unable to return for your timed ticket, please inform our volunteers.

Why are we changing our model?

The show is meant to be both an educational and fun visit. In the past we found our visitors were spending 3-4 hours in line, and rarely spent longer than 15 minutes inside the greenhouse.

We hope this new model will allow for a more enjoyable show experience overall. Additionally, as the greenhouse is a high-risk area (see below), this model allows us to limit the overall number of people each individual may come in contact with.

What should you do while you wait?

Since you won’t need to wait in line you will have plenty of time to look at the educational displays in the lobby, the craft table run by Let’s Talk Science, or explore Carleton.

  • Educational Displays in the Nesbitt Lobby
  • Let’s Talk Science Craft table in the Nesbitt Lobby
  • Join Rhiannon on Saturdays from 10-12 for an activity to match pollinators to flowers using stamps
  • Plant greenhouse in the Nesbitt Lobby
  • Map of Carleton
  • The riverfront beside Nesbitt has open park space, perfect for picnic, nature walk, or games.
  • Carleton University Art Gallery
  • Walking map to Brewer Park

Please be sure to come back at your scheduled time!



Contributions are welcomed and encouraged.

For the past 23 years, visiting the butterflies has only been possible thanks to donations from people like you and we are grateful for the community’s commitment to continuing the show year after year.

Gifts can be made:

  • In-person at the show with cash, cheque, or credit card. There will be a donation box just outside the butterfly greenhouse during the show, as well as students on-hand to process donations.
  • Online, using Carleton University’s secure FutureFunder platform.
  • A tax receipt will be issued.

Adopt a Butterfly!


Location, Directions, and Parking

The Butterfly Greenhouse is located in the Nesbitt Biology Building lobby. The entrance is located on the south side of the building.

Nesbitt Biology Building
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6

Public transit: Carleton is accessible through public transit via OC Transpo.

Parking: Visitor parking is available through Parking Services. There will be a QR code available to scan in the entrance of Nesbitt Building that will allow you to pay for parking in Lot 3.

Lot 3 is located behind the CTTC Building, nearby Nesbitt Building. See the parking map here.

We recommend that you only pay for parking once you arrive at Nesbitt Building, using the QR code, to ensure you receive a timed ticket to the show before paying.

Parking costs for Lot 3 on the weekend will be $4.50 / hour.

If parking in other lots on campus, you will need to follow payment instructions in the specific lot.



The Greenhouses at Carleton have very low air ventilation and high humidity. This means that when you breathe, your droplets hang in the air rather than being dispersed. This makes the greenhouses a high-risk area for COVID-19. We’ve taken precautions this year to limit the amount of people in the greenhouse at one time (max 30), and to limit the amount of time any one individual stays in the greenhouse for.

However, the best prevention to the spread of COVID-19, aside from vaccinations, is wearing a mask. Even though Carleton’s COVID-19 Mask Policy has been paused, Carleton University continues to strongly recommend masking when indoors and when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Be aware that the lack of air flow simulates a lack of physical distancing in the greenhouse.

As a courtesy to other visitors and our volunteers, stay home if you are sick or are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Ottawa. We may need to close our doors to the public or reinstate certain policies in October if pandemic circumstances were to change.

Check the Butterfly Show Homepage for updates before arriving at the Butterfly Show.



If you have accessibility requirements, please reach out to us upon arrival. We have many volunteers on-site who may be able to assist you.

If you have accessibility needs that would make prolonged waiting difficult, please reach out to us in advance of your visit at We review this address during office hours which are Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

The greenhouses are accessible for standard sized wheelchairs, but many of the corners in the greenhouses are too tight for mechanized wheelchairs. We do not have wheelchairs available on site.

  • The maximum width for entry into the greenhouse display is 81 cm.
  • Within the greenhouse, the width between the benches that hold our tropical plants is 86 cm.

Information about accessible parking can be found through Parking Services.


What to Bring (and what not to)

  • A mask
  • Orange or pineapple slices in sealed containers. Do not leave fruit slices behind in the greenhouse.
  • Dress in layers. Daytime greenhouse temperatures are 30ºC with significant humidity. Note there is no coat check.
  • A camera (tag your photos on social media with #CarletonButterfly2022)
  • Not permitted: Tripods.
  • Not permitted: Large bags and strollers. These items must be left in the lobby at your own risk.


What to Expect

The Butterfly Show is enjoyed by many members of the public each year. We have many families and children visiting the show. This means the lobby and the greenhouse can be quite busy and loud at times.

Butterflies fly freely in the greenhouses and will occasionally land on you.  Butterflies are fragile, so please don’t touch them or pick them up by their wings.

To encourage landings, there are a few tricks you can try:

  • Wear brightly coloured clothing (yellows, oranges, and pinks)
  • Bring some juicy orange or pineapple slices
  • Find a spot in a greenhouse near some bright flowers, hold your fruit up, and stay still.

Some butterflies are easily startled and will take off if disturbed, while others will happily stay still for photographing.

If one lands on you, they are easily dislodged by blowing gently on their wings.


Guest Services

Lost and Found

At the end of every day, any items left behind will be sent to the campus lost and found.


There is no coat check or secure storage area for coats, bags or strollers. We encourage you to avoid bringing large backpacks or strollers. Bags and strollers are not permitted in the greenhouses and must be left in the lobby, at your own risk.

Washrooms and Amenities

There is a washroom in Nesbitt building. Signage will be posted during the event.

A water fountain and water bottle fill-up station is located in the Nesbitt building lobby.

Dining Services

There are many places to eat on campus, including Tim Hortons, Starbucks, and Bridgehead. Visit Dining Services to see the options, locations, and hours of service.


We encourage you to take photos while you are here. Please be sure to obtain permission from anyone in the picture when taking photos. Do not block the isles of the greenhouse.

Note that the greenhouse temperatures are often around 30ºC with significant humidity. Some camera equipment takes time to adjust from being outside in October weather.

Flash photography is allowed, but tripods and lighting stands are prohibited.



Group tours are offered during the week Monday, October 3, 2022 – Friday, October 7, 2022 only.

Please contact Let’s Talk Science directly for information about organizing a tour: