Places to see fireflies and butterflies in Louisville, KY


This downtown pollinator habitat is between the skate park + Waterfront Park. | Photo by @theloutoday

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Nothing says summer quite like tiny points of light glittering through the night skies.

We’re not talking about the stars, we’re talking about fireflies. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, it’s go-time for this beetle species — and they’ll be illuminating backyards, gardens + outdoor spaces until about the third week of June.

While exact dates for the best firefly sightings are never the same each year, for the next two Friday nights this month, Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest will host Firefly Fridays where participants can watch these little bugs do their thing as they hike through the woods.

There will be a hike tonight, June 10 at 8:30 p.m. + next Friday, June 17. Pro tip: Reserve your spot early.

While firefly season is short, there’s another star of the sky you can see during the day this summer — butterflies — and we’ve got five places to see them.

Idlewild Butterfly Farm, 1100 Logan St.

This urban farm and insectarium is the foremost authority on butterflies in the city. It raises its own regional, native butterflies + offers hatch kits for you to raise and release your own butterflies.

Pollinator Habitat Zone, along River Rd. + E. Witherspoon St.

Thanks to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, this pollinator habitat between the skate park + Waterfront Park is in full bloom — and the cabinet looks to increase total pollinator habitat acreage by 50% each year.

Louisville Zoo, 1100 Trevilian Way

Back by popular demand, the zoo’s Butterflies n’ Blooms exhibit is open daily through Wed., Sept. 14 + features hundreds of native butterflies in its outdoor lighthouse.

Dustin Strong Memorial Children’s Garden, 3940 Grandview Ave.

Thanks to a Re-Wilding Louisville grant, the St. Matthews-Eline library branch is turning its memorial garden into a pollinator habitat.

Waterfront Botanical Gardens, 1435 Frankfort Ave.

This urban botanical garden not only includes a pollinator garden but also a native plant garden + edible garden planters.

More of a hands-on type? Learn how to make your own pollinator garden through the Louisville Zoo’s Monarchs & Milkweed Pollinator Habitat Project.