Are tours of the Butterfly Show available?

Yes!  The Department of Biology has partnered with Let’s Talk Science to offer tours to school or community groups who are interested in turning their visit to the Butterfly Show into an even more educational experience.  Tours are available in both English and French.

These tours are generally designed for class visits.  Our presentations can be made suitable for all ages and grades from JK through high school.  We do also offer adult oriented tours for educational institutions (e.g. adult ESL) or seniors’ residences and community programs.

When are the tours available?

Tours can be booked between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. for the dates Monday October 2 to Thursday October 5 inclusive.  Tours start every 30 minutes (i.e. 9:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m., etc).

Due to the expected volume of visitors over the weekends and holiday Monday, we cannot offer group tours on these days.  Please do feel free to visit the show on these days, along with the live butterflies there are posters and displays of information, and the staff are more than happy to answer any questions that you may have during your visit.

Tour bookings open the first week of September for the October show.  To book a tour, please visit our booking site.

Tours are booked on a first come, first served basis.  We will make every effort to accommodate your group(s).  By presenting either a range of possible times, or a ranked preference list, it is more likely that we will be able to book your tour immediately, thereby giving you the largest option for available tour

Evening tours are not available.  The building closes at 4:00 p.m. Bookings can be made here.

What does a tour consist of?

Tours are approximately an hour long.  Groups are greeted at the door and led to a classroom for a 25 minute talk on butterfly biology.  These talks are geared specifically towards the age of the participants.  The talks are performed by Let’s Talk Science volunteers, who are graduate and undergraduate students from Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.  Tours are available in both English and French upon request.  Following the talk, the groups are free to explore the greenhouses and interact with our butterflies.  The volunteers will stay available to the group for 30 minutes to answer any questions.

What’s the benefit of booking a tour vs a self guided tour?

We book tours to help control the number of people in the greenhouses at a given time.  While we cannot limit the public access during show hours, we encourage groups to register so that each group has access to the greenhouses mostly free of other large groups.  If you are a small group (less than 10 people) there is no need to book a tour, unless you would like the additional educational talk at the beginning. Visit our booking site now.

How much do the tours cost?

Both admission to the show and the tours are offered free of charge.  We believe that this show should be accessible to everyone.  The tours are presented by Let’s Talk Science volunteers, and no charge is made to either the tour group or the university for this service.

The show receives a large part of its funding from public donations at the door.  Please consider asking your group for donations to the show. Book now.

I have a large group or my school would like to send multiple classes.  What’s the maximum tour group size?

Due to the size of our teaching room and the capacity of our greenhouses, we must limit group sizes to 40 people.  Should your group be larger, or you would like to bring multiple classes, we will make every effort to book back-to-back tours.

This does mean that one group will start their tour while the other will be required to wait 30 minutes before beginning theirs.  We request that the second group not enter the greenhouses before their tour since other groups will be there for their tours.  Instead, the Nesbitt building is located on the riverfront with open park space – great for a class picnic, nature walk, or games. Book now.

Where are the tours and what about bus access and parking?

The butterfly show is held in the greenhouses of the Nesbitt Biology building on Carleton University campus.  Carleton is located between Bronson Ave. and Colonel By Dr, along the Rideau canal.  The Nesbitt biology building is located at the south-east corner of campus, along the river.  The lecture section of the tours are held in a conference room adjoining the greenhouses – your volunteer lecturers will meet you at the door and show your students the way.

There is a dedicated bus loading zone in front of the building for groups to embark.  Free bus parking is available for the time while the group is in for the tour.  Details will be included in your tour registration.

What should visitors bring?

We encourage groups to bring orange or pineapple slices to entice the butterflies into landing.  Please bring your fruit slices in sealed containers, and dispose of it before leaving.

Students should dress in layers – October weather can be chilly, and the greenhouses are kept at sub-tropic to tropic temperatures (25 – 30ºC plus humidity).

What should visitors NOT bring?

We suggest that students avoid bringing backpacks or large bags, as there is no secure place for their storage.  Students should leave all valuables at home

What is Let’s Talk Science?

Let’s Talk Science is a national volunteer organization of graduate and upper year undergraduate students in fields related to science and engineering.  The mandate of this organization is to increase literacy and interest in science, engineering, and technology.  In Ottawa, Let’s Talk Science draws its volunteers from both Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.

All butterfly show tours are presented by Let’s Talk Science volunteers.  If you have any questions about Let’s Talk Science, or are interested in forming a partnership for free, curriculum based, hands-on science demonstrations in your classroom, please ask your butterfly show tour guides, or visit our Ottawa area or National Let’s Talk Science websites at: