Frequently Asked Questions

Visitors

  • Are you open to the public?

    Yes! We welcome a range of visitors to Idlewild, from shoppers and gardeners to insect and butterfly lovers. Check out our Plan A Visit page for more on what we have to offer, as well as our seasonal hours of operation.

  • What can I do at Idlewild Butterfly Farm?

    Lots! Please check our Plan A Visit page for full details of what Idlewild has to offer visitors.

  • What are your hours of operation?

    Please check our Plan A Visit page for our current hours, as our hours of operation change seasonally.

    Outdoor operations, including the butterfly house and plant sales, are available from May through September. Indoor operations, such as the insectarium and gift shop, are open during all hours of operation.

  • Should I call ahead to schedule a tour?

    If you have a party of 8 or less and are visiting during our regular business hours, scheduling a tour is not necessary. We welcome visitors and conduct tours on a walk-in basis.

    For classroom field trips, summer camps, scout troops, garden clubs, and other group visits, please schedule your visit by calling us to make arrangements. Please see our Education page for more information on group scheduling and pricing.

  • Do you host field trips/group visits/birthday parties?

    Yes! Idlewild offers a range of on-site and off-site educational programs. Check our Education page for details on booking field trips, birthday parties, and other educational opportunities.

  • Is your facility kid-friendly?

    Absolutely! We love children of all ages and encourage you to expose them to the wonderful world of bugs at an early age. Please note that all children must be supervised by an adult at all times when in all areas of the facility, including: the gift shop, the insectarium, the garden, and the butterfly flight house.

  • Is your facility handicap accessible?

    Due to the nature of our historic building, the front entrance step may not be accessible to all visitors. Visitors with difficulty navigating the front step may be admitted through the garden entrance. Please let an associate at the front desk know if the garden entrance is needed.

    The butterfly garden and butterfly flight house are located in the outdoor garden area. Be advised that all outdoor areas consist of grass and loose gravel paths.

    We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure every guest has a fulfilling experience at Idlewild Butterfly Farm. Please let us know your needs so we can take steps to offer accommodations.

  • Are there dining areas at Idlewild Butterfly Farm?

    Bottled water is allowed (and encouraged during the hot summer months) but the facility has no dining areas and food/beverages are not permitted in any area of the facility.

Butterflies & Bugs

  • I want to visit the butterflies! What do I need to know?

    • Access to the butterfly house is free of charge!
    • All butterflies are raised right here at Idlewild Butterfly Farm and all are Kentucky native species, such as monarchs, swallowtails, and more.
    • The species available to view will change based on breeding cycles.
    • The butterfly house is outdoor and open-air. The best time to view the butterflies is on a warm, clear day. Butterflies will not be flying if conditions are rainy or cold.
    • The butterfly house is seasonal and open May through September.
    • The butterfly house is an eyes-only area. We ask that you do not touch, hold, chase, or catch the butterflies and caterpillars.
    • Children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult.
    • The butterfly house cannot accommodate strollers.
    • No food, drink, or toys are permitted inside the butterfly house.
  • I want to visit the insectarium! What do I need to know?

    • Access to the insectarium is included as part of our guided tour; an admission fee is required.
    • The insectarium is indoors and available on our usual business days.
    • Tours of the insectarium are conducted by one of our entomologists on staff. We hope you will enjoy learning about the incredible diversity of insects!
    • The insectarium is an up-close and hands-on experience! Most of our specimens are available to touch and hold.
    • The insectarium is available to children, but all children must be accompanied by an adult.
    • Please take pictures! Our insects are very photogenic. Tag us on social media using #idlewildbutterflyfarm
    • No food, drink, or toys are permitted inside the insectarium.
  • Are butterflies available for consumer purchase?

    Yes! We sell butterflies for releasebutterfly floral baskets, and butterfly centerpiece displays for special events, as well as fun & educational butterfly life cycle kits for home & classroom, all available for retail purchase at our facility in Louisville. Please note that butterflies (including caterpillars and chrysalides) are subject to seasonal availability.

  • When can I purchase butterflies?

    We generally begin selling live chrysalides and butterflies for release in early May and continue through late September. Butterflies cannot be reared or released during late autumn, winter, or early spring.

  • Do you sell other live insects?

    We sell live native butterflies at all stages of life and beneficial insects for horticultural/agricultural biological pest control.

    We are not a pet store nor do we sell any of the insects in our insectarium. While we can legally import and display certain tropical species, it is illegal to sell these insects to the general public.

  • I found a _____, can you take it? / I found an injured _____, can you take it?

    Idlewild Butterfly Farm is a controlled butterfly farming operation. This allows us to raise healthy parasite- and disease-free butterflies! To maintain this strict quality of health, we cannot take in wild caterpillars or butterflies unless a staff member has specifically invited you.

    It is important to remember that nature knows more than you do! If you find a caterpillar or butterfly in an unusual place, odds are it has a reason for being there and should be left alone. Caterpillars in particular should never be removed from their host plants, as they have very specific diets.

  • Can you identify this bug?

    Yes! We are agricultural & horticultural insect specialists and can identify a host of commonly encountered insects, butterflies, and other invertebrates. We need as many of the following as possible to accurately ID an insect for you:

    • A close-up, in-focus, high-resolution photograph
    • County/state where the insect was seen
    • Time of year the insect was photographed
    • Locality info, including the plant it was found on (if applicable)
    • Photograph of damage to plants (if applicable)

    We can also ID live or expired specimens. Please place these in a secure clear container when delivering them to us.

    We do not ID or offer control for any form of human parasite*. For the safety of our customers, samples of bedbugs, lice, crabs, and other body vermin are not allowed in the facility. If you suspect you have any of these pests in your home, please contact a home pest control specialist. Body vermin bites or infestations should be brought to a medical professional.

    * Outdoor flea problems are an exception! While we cannot treat fleas indoors or on your pet's body, we offer biological control options for long-term control of fleas in outdoor spaces, such as yards and pet areas.

Other

  • What do you sell in your gift shop?

    Our gift shop is a curated selection of gifts & accessories inspired by the natural world. The majority of our products are specifically sourced from independent artisans and businesses based in the USA. Authentic insect and butterfly specimens used in our framed insects and jewelry are all ethically sourced from sustainable and non-exploitative butterfly & insect farming endeavors worldwide. We strive to provide products that are ecologically conscious and with minimal non-biodegradable waste.

    We have everything from hand-crafted home & garden goods to bug toys and educational kits for children. We carry many one-of-kind items made by local artisans and small businesses. We sell our own professionally mounted and framed butterflies and exotic insect specimens, all crafted in-house by our bug experts using ethically sourced specimens. Our selection of literature is also curated by our bug specialists and includes guides to butterfly gardening, regional butterfly and insect field guides, and educational books for children. You can also take home Idlewild Butterfly Farm apparel and souvenirs to remember your visit.

  • Do you sell plants?

    Yes! We typically begin selling plants in April/May. We specialize in butterfly host and nectar plants, many of which are difficult to find in franchised stores and garden centers. Among our plant selection are native flowers, caterpillar host plants, several varieties of milkweed, old-fashioned cutting flowers, and spectacular annual blooms. Plant selection and availability are subject to season and supply.

    All our plants are locally grown using beneficial insects and are guaranteed not to be sprayed with chemical insecticides. This is extremely important as insecticide residue can kill butterflies, caterpillars, and other beneficial insects!

  • Is Idlewild Butterfly Farm a not-for-profit?

    Idlewild Butterfly Farm is a self-supported locally-owned small business. We operate as a working farm and insectary -- we just have very small livestock!

  • Do you accept donations?

    Idlewild Butterfly Farm is a business and working farm. The best way to support us is to continue being our wonderful customers and by spreading the word to your friends and family!

    We accept gifts of frequently-used lab supplies but be advised that we cannot accept monetary donations or offer tax write-offs for gifts to the facility.

    Supply gift suggestions:

    • Bulk paper towels (we go through a lot!)
    • Bleach (no fragrances and no 'splashless', please)
    • New-in-package mops/brooms and other cleaning supplies
    • Used 5 - 10 gallon glass aquariums