24th Annual Biology Butterfly Show

Saturday, Sept. 30 to Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023

The Department of Biology invites you to share in the magic of butterflies this October. The department’s 2023 Biology Butterfly Show is back in-person and welcomes you to the Nesbitt Greenhouses. Please use our online booking system to reserve a timed ticket in advance of arriving to the show. Details can be found on the biology website .

In-Person Visits

We’re back in-person! Visitors can reserve a ticket for a 20-minute timeslot to see the butterflies in the Nesbitt Biology Greenhouses. Information on obtaining a ticket can be found on the biology website (link “biology website” to https://carleton.ca/biology/annual-butterfly-show/). Details will be released closer to the event start-date.

During your in-person experience, the butterflies will be flying freely in the greenhouse and may occasionally land on you. Butterflies are fragile, so please do not touch them or pick them up by the wings. To encourage landings, we encourage you to wear bright colours. You may also bring juicy orange or pineapple slices to help entice butterflies to you. If one lands on you, they are easily dislodged by blowing gently on their wings.

Please be sure to review the show schedule and reserve a ticket in advance of arrival, as some days of the show will be reserved for schools and private groups.

Virtual Tours

Join Let’s Talk Science Ottawa volunteers from anywhere in the world for a virtual tour, delivered from inside the Nesbitt Greenhouses at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. As butterflies flutter around the greenhouses, you’ll learn fascinating facts about these beautiful creatures. The virtual tours will be released in September.

Community Outreach and At-Home Learning

In 2022, Let’s Talk Science Ottawa hosted over 1,000 school groups both in-person and virtually. Many of the school groups had high indigenous or new Canadian populations, or came from low socio-economic areas of Ottawa. Virtual tours were given to schools in Northern Ontario, who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to participate in the event.

During this year’s show, Let’s Talk Science Ottawa will be connecting with more than 30 classrooms. There will also be educational at-home activities geared toward younger audiences, including ideas for crafts and video tutorials, available online.

Social Butterfly

Follow along with the 2023 Butterfly Show on Instagram at @cuButterflies, where you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a butterfly art challenge. And don’t forget to use #CarletonButterfly2023 to interact with us on social media during the show!

Free Exhibit, Donations Welcomed

The Butterfly Show is free and open to the public, although we rely on your generous donations to keep it running year after year. We suggest a cash donation of $5/person at the door if you’re in a position to contribute. Donations can also be made online, using Carleton University’s secure FutureFunder platform.


For more information please contact the Department of Biology or visit their website!



Visit the event website for more information →

The Butterflies are Free!

Don’t you love free activities for your family? The Ottawa Butterfly Show is a free, open to the public annual event that runs daily for one week in October. The show features 1,000 butterflies that arrive in three separate shipments, representing 41 different species worldwide. Butterflies love to land on colourful clothing and will climb on to an open hand. The event is appropriate for people of all ages.

Show Location

The show takes place in the Nesbitt Biology Building, located in the south-east corner of Carleton University campus. Carleton University is located between Colonel By Dr. and Bronson Ave., along the Rideau canal. Please be sure to review the show schedule and reserve a ticket before arrival.

Butterfly Show Engages Community

Carleton’s biology department has been successfully hosting its Butterfly Show for nearly two decades. An annual community event held in Carleton’s greenhouse, the Butterfly Show features exotic butterflies from 41 species worldwide. While the show is undeniably enchanting, the real beauty lies in the ways in which the show brings together community, enables family bonding and allows for a fun learning experience for children, students and adults alike.

Read the full story here.

Watch ‘Papa Papillon,’ a documentary by Fangliang Xu, here.