Natural History Museum All Aflutter With Sensational Butterflies

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 31 months ago
Natural History Museum All Aflutter With Sensational Butterflies ★★★★☆ 4
Owl butterflies in particular like to land on people, though other species are less bold.
Owl butterflies in particular like to land on people, though other species are less bold.
The exhibition is hoping to get some Atlas moths in. These will be the largest species in the show.
The exhibition is hoping to get some Atlas moths in. These will be the largest species in the show.
A busy fruit-filled feeding station. Photo Tabish Khan
A busy fruit-filled feeding station. Photo Tabish Khan
Clearly children's faces are particularly appealing to butterflies.
Clearly children's faces are particularly appealing to butterflies.
A pair of owl butterflies.
A pair of owl butterflies.

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

The Natural History Museum's Sensational Butterflies is back for its seventh summer, and will no doubt prove popular once again. A huge tent with a humid 28 degree climate has been pitched up in the grounds — ideal conditions for its inhabitants, namely butterflies from Africa, Asia and South America.

We've all seen butterflies in the UK but it took us a while to get used to some of the larger species fluttering around our heads and occasionally landing on us. Owl butterflies are some of the largest in this exhibition and have a particular fondness for using people as landing strips.

The entire life cycle is on display; caterpillars can be seen munching away, and there is a cabinet filled with chrysalises from where butterflies emerge, pump up their wings and wait for them to dry, before being released into the tent.

This is also the place to gen up on fascinating facts: caterpillars have 4,000 muscles, around six times the number we have. Some eat poisonous plants to become toxic to predators while others hide by mimicking bird droppings.

Sensational Butterflies is not only lots of fun, but contains enlightening information about butterfly conservation. Children will love it, and we have to admit, our inner child did too.

Sensational Butterflies is on at Natural History Museum until 13 September. Tickets are £5.90 each and advance booking is recommended. Also on at Natural History Museum is an exhibition on coral reefs and an excellent edition of Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Nearby is the revolutionary Alexander McQueen blockbuster at the V&A and photography meets science in Revelations at Science Museum.

Last Updated 02 April 2015