Monarch Butterfly 6235522618

Springtime in Illinois brings longer days and warmer temperatures, but most importantly, nature begins to bloom and the state transforms, bringing with it mesmerizing sights.

In honor of the first day of spring, here are a few butterfly and botanical gardens to welcome the new season:

Kim St. John Butterfly Habitat
Constructed in 2013 through a partnership between Wildlife Prairie Park and the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners, the butterfly enclosure is the largest native habitat in downstate Illinois. It contains pollinator and host plants for native Illinois butterflies to make the habitat their home. Some notable butterflies include Monarch, Viceroy, Pipevine, Swallowtail and more.

Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens
In Rockford, the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens is the third largest conservatory in Illinois, bringing the tropics to the Midwest year-round. Starting March 23, visit the conservatory to experience the Secret Life of Butterflies and get an up-close look at the butterfly lifecycle.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Operated by the Chicago Academy of Sciences, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a natural history museum featuring various exhibits and play spaces for young children. Their Butterfly Haven is a 2,700 square-foot greenhouse where visitors can bask amongst flowers and tropical trees while witnessing 1,000 free-flying butterflies from over 40 different species.

Happy spring!