Butterflies take flight at The Elizabethan Gardens

The Elizabethan Gardens Butterfly Festival continues throughout April.


Nestled across 10 1/2 acres within the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island lies the Elizabethan Gardens.

This plush horticulturist oasis is home to more than 500 different species of plants, trees and botanical collections with the gem being one ancient live oak, estimated to be living in 1585 when the first colonists landed.

Over the years, the gardens have transformed themselves into a “choice destination” for anyone visiting or vacationing on the Outer Banks and 2018 is poised to really take off... with butterflies.

“We are excited to introduce a new exhibit to the Elizabethan Gardens next year” says Carl Curnutte III, executive director of the facility. “The Elizabethan Gardens Butterfly Festival will offer a full month of special events, local crafts, food vendors, gardening information and foremost, an up-close experience with butterflies and much more.”

Presented by the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and Mollie Fearing and Associates, the month-long festival will feature some on-going activities, programs and events that are sure to grow memories.

Following is what’s on tap at the gardens:

  • Self-guided tours of the butterfly pavilion (guided group tours available by request and on select days
  • Butterfly releases
  • Butterfly discovery lab and kids’ activities
  • Butterfly experts, booths and workshops on select days
  • Plant sales and craft vendors
  • Butterfly-inspired art.

Throughout the month of April, the gardens will host a plethora of different educational and interactive activities that is sure to entice families butterfly enthusiasts of all ages.

A minimum of four participants are required to ensure the class will take place, unless otherwise stipulated.

The schedule of events are as follows:

Butterfly Release

This is your opportunity to be there, up-close and personal, as a new group of butterflies are released into The Elizabethan Gardens’ new butterfly house.


  • 11 a.m., Tuesday, April 10

Painting in the Gardens

Master local artist Robin York will lead a hands-on painting workshop.


  • 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 11


  • $45 registration fee to include all materials

Butterfly Day

This fun-filled, family-oriented event is an enlightening day, focusing on the importance of maintaining the delicate balance between humans and the world we share with nature. This year’s festival “Butterfly Day” includes a lot of new games and activities for the whole family to enjoy. Prepare for a challenge on the obstacle course, hit the target at dunk tank, stroll along the gardens on nature walks and participate in a Butterfly Parade. Be sure to come dressed as a butterfly; the best costumes will win some fabulous prizes. Take your time as you tour exhibits and tinker with hands-on crafts at the Butterfly House as well.


  • 10 a.m. -2 p.m., Saturday, April 14

Butterfly Tea Party

Savor each sip, melt on each morsel and bask in the Gardens as you enjoy meeting an upcoming author in this fun inspired tea. Butterfly crafts and games will be part of this fun and fancy afternoon and, for teatime, Odom hall will be adorned with plants from the greenhouse. Upholding tradition, tea will be served with the style and elegance expected of a decadent tea party. Sponsored by Downtown Books.


  • 2-4 p.m., Sunday, April 15


  • $40 members. $45 non-members (includes admission and a book)


  • Limited to 100 participants. Advanced registration required. To register, call (252) 473-3234

Butterfly Release

Attendees will get to experience the beauty and become part of the magic as a new group of butterflies are released into the butterfly house.


  • 11 a.m, Tuesday, April 17

Butterfly Ball

This elegant family gala is the heart of The Elizabethan Gardens and supports the innovative educational programs offered by the Gardens. Ticket prices for this event includes a craft project, appetizers, drinks, music, entertainment and much more.


  • 3 p.m. (reception), 5 p.m.(dinner), Saturday April 21


  • $35 adults , $25 youths

Spring & Sip for Floral Arranging

Carl Curnutte will lead a class on how to create a spring bouquet arrangement, all while sipping delicious wines and enjoying fine cheeses. This is the perfect opportunity to create a wonderful floral artwork showpiece for your table in this hands-on educational workshop.


  • Noon-2 p.m., Sunday, April 22


  • $45 member, $50 non-members and guests


  • Class is limited to 16; minimum of 5 participants required

A Moth of a Sale

Shoppers who visit the Gardens will enjoy 40 percent off in the Royal Exchange Gift Shop on all butterfly stock during this one day sale. Garden members will receive an additional 10 percent off purchases


  • 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday, April 25

Butterfly release

Wrap up this event-filled month at the Elizabethan Gardens by experiencing the wonder and amazement as a new group of butterflies are released within the butterfly enclosure.


  • 11 a.m, Tuesday, April 26

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