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Behind the Scenes of Olbrich's Blooming Butterflies

Preparing for Olbrich's Blooming Butterflies takes lots of planning from many staff members, and the contributions of many volunteers. Butterflies arrive by US mail as chrysalises, and are put in hatcheries where they emerge as butterflies and fly freely in the Bolz Conservatory.


Butterflies arrive

Shipment of chrysalises arrives by US mail

A shipment of butterfly chrysalises arrives by US Mail. Shipments arrive twice each week.

Sorting Chrysalises

Volunteers sort butterfly chrysalises

Volunteers sort and inventory chrysalises by type of butterfly.

Close up of chrysalis sorting


pinning chrysalises

Chrysalises are glued on string

Volunteers glue chrysalises onto string. The string is attached to wooden dowels, which are put in the hatcheries.

Chrysalises ready for hatcheries

Chrysalises on wooden rods

Chrysalises have been attached to strings on wooden dowels and are ready to be placed in the hatcheries.


Monarch chrysalises

Chrysalises hang in the hatchery. A butterfly has already emerged from the chrysalis on the left. The butterfly is almost ready to emerge from the chrysalis in the middle. The chrysalis on the right will probably hatch in a few days. Monarch chrysalises turn from light green to translucent as the butterflies get closer to emerging.

Butterfly emerging

A monarch butterfly emerges from a chrysalis

A monarch butterfly emerges from its chrysalis.

Butterfly fully emerged


Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719