Schmetterlinghaus, (the Butterfly House) is located in the heart of Vienna, in the Burggarten’s Palmenhaus of Hofburg. The Palmenhaus is an Art Nouveau glass building divided into three parts, on the left is the Butterfly House, the middle part is a café, bar, and lounge, and the third part, on the right, is an actual palm house where plants and flowers for important events in Vienna are being arranged.

The Butterfly House is hosting hundreds of tropical butterflies in a beautiful environment with exotic flowers and plants, bridges, ponds with fishes, a waterfall, passages, and a gallery for visitors to climb and observe this wonderful habitat and take some spectacular photos and videos.

Quick facts:

Name: Schmetterlinghaus – Butterfly house

Type of attraction: a conservatory (lepidopterarium)

Built/opened: 1990 in the original location (Schonbrunn) and from 1998 in Palmenhaus of Hofburg

Location: Hofburg, 1010 Wien, 1st district, Innere Stadt

How to get there (public transport): U1, Stefansplatz, then walking distance (5 minutes) or Trams 1, 2, 71, D and U2Z (temporary U2 line) stop – Burgring, then walk 2 minutes

Price/ticket: from $6, depending on the type of ticket, the yearly ticket $30.

Opening hours: 7 days a week, 10:00-16:00

Official website: Butterfly House

History

In 1989, Stephen Fried approached Peter Fischer Colbrie, then serving as a director of the Austrian Federal Gardens with the idea of establishing a Butterfly House in the Sonnenuhrenhaus, one of the greenhouses in the Schönbrun Palace gardens. Stephen Fried had experience in this area since he has already established several butterfly houses in Europe. The largest of these is located in Haga Park, Stockholm, Sweden.

The Butterfly House was first opened in the Sonnenuhrenhaus, on the 1st of May 1990. It became an instant success and very popular with visitors to Schönbrun Palace gardens

The Butterfly House stayed in this location until 1997, when the building had to be closed for restoration, so it was moved to the current location at the end of 1998. The current location is also very popular since many visitors stop at the Schmetterlinghaus between their visits to Hofburg, Burggarten, and several other popular landmarks in the area.

What to see in Butterfly House?

Butterflies

There are about 500 living butterflies flying freely around the place. There are about 40 different species of butterflies available. These species are mostly from tropical areas, hence temperature (25-35 C) and humidity (80%) are maintained year-round to keep the original environmental conditions.

Schmetterlinghaus - butterflies and exotic flowers
Schmetterlinghaus – butterflies and exotic flowers

Informative boards provide interesting info about butterflies, plants, and flowers. Information about the life cycle of butterflies is displayed, together with the so-called “doll box” you can even watch the butterflies hatch as a part of the cycle of egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and adult. You will be able also to observe large, colorful atlas butterflies with their fantastic patterns and wingspan of up to 30 cm.

Butterfly House - hatching of butterflies
Butterfly House – hatching of butterflies

All the butterflies in the Schmetterlinghaus are bred exclusively in tropical butterfly farms in northern Thailand, Belize, Costa Rica, and the Philippines and are not endangered species. Some species are bred in the house.

Exotic plants and flowers

The secondary attraction, but equally exciting are many exotic plants and flowers in the butterfly house. The plants are selected according to the needs of the butterflies and can also be found in their natural habitat as flowering, nectar, and forage plants which butterflies regularly feed on.

Schmetterlinghaus - butterfly feeding station
Schmetterlinghaus – butterfly feeding station

The flowering plants produce nectar and serve as the food source for the butterflies. There are also arrangements of artificial flowers regularly sprayed with honey which also serve as a feeding station for the butterflies. Some types of butterflies also like to suck the juices from fruit, which is seen in designated feeding stations.

Each species of butterfly has its very own food plant. The eggs are laid exclusively on this type of plant and the caterpillar only feeds on the leaves of this one host plant. In the butterfly house, you will find banana trees, passion flowers, milkweed, and other typical forage plants from the tropical areas where butterflies originate from.

Services provided in Butterfly House

Guided tours

The price for the guided tour of up to 15 people is EUR 40 per hour plus the ticket price per visitor. For larger groups, the Schmetterlichhaus is offering tours for 30 minutes at a time per group.

Guided tours are provided for all age groups – from kindergarten and elementary school groups, and all the way to students and adults.

After the tour, you can see Kurt Mündl’s Universum film “The Messengers of the Gods – Butterflies, a Life Like Day and Night” (“Die Boten der Götter – Schmetterlinge, ein Leben wie Tag und Nacht”) in the film room. This movie offers an educational and interesting insight into the life of butterflies.

Schmetterlinghaus - lush tropical vegetation
Schmetterlinghaus – lush tropical vegetation

Events

The Butterfly House offers exclusive event hosting for up to 60 people and it is perfect for product presentations, exhibitions, seminars, workshops, readings, concerts, fashion shows, and photoshoots.

Events are organized after working hours, so you can book for the time after 4:30 PM.

Wedding ceremonies and the receptions

The Butterfly House offers space for around 60 wedding guests and, in addition to the wedding ceremony, it organizes wedding receptions. In front of the butterfly house with a view of the beautiful Burggarten and in the foyer, your wedding guests can be served sparkling wine and canapés. In addition, the historic ambiance in the butterfly house and Burggarten offers the perfect backdrop for your wedding photos.

The Schmetterlinghaus provides flower arrangements and catering for your wedding reception.

Gift shop

A small gift shop at the entrance/exit offers some butterfly-themed souvenirs and interesting artifacts to purchase. It is very popular with children.

Butterfly House - butterflies in their natural habitat
Butterfly House – butterflies in their natural habitat

Conclusion

The Schmetterlinghaus provides a refreshing experience in Vienna and especially during the winter when you are looking for some warmth and vivid colors to escape gloomy weather. It is certainly a great place to enjoy tropical butterflies, and exotic flowers and learn a thing or two about these amazing flying creatures and their short lives.

Here is a short video from our Instagram account:

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