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Frequently Asked Questions

General | Animal WelfareKids Birthday Parties | Groups

Please check our list of frequently asked questions and answers below. If you can’t find the answer to your question please contact us.

General Questions

What time do you open and what time do you close?

Butterfly Creek is open Wednesday – Sunday. Our hours are 9.30am – 4pm (last entry 3pm) during weekdays & 9.30am – 5pm (last entry 4pm) during weekends & holidays.

Can I bring food in?

Our courtyard area and cafe is reserved for cafe patrons only, however we do allow you to bring in a birthday cake to celebrate your day with if you purchase food from our cafe. Any externally bought food must be consumed outside of Butterfly Creek & the cafe & courtyard area. We have some picnic tables located just outside the main entrance that you are welcome to use for your own food.

How long does it take to see Butterfly Creek?

To see all attractions, take a train ride and eat lunch, you should allow for 3 – 4 hours. If you don’t take a train ride and don’t eat lunch you can see the attractions within 1 – 2 hours. Please note Butterfly Creek is not a zoo and is not a massive place. Our focus is for younger children.

Are you still open if it rains? Can we still see everything?

Yes, we are still open in rain, hail or shine. More than half of our attractions are undercover, so yes you see everything – just dodge the rain by going to the undercover exhibits when it is raining.

  • Covered areas include the cafe, shop, butterfly house, alligators, crocs, aquaria, the barn in Buttermilk farm, Mythic Creatures & Kiwi Forest.
  • Uncovered areas include the playground, the walk to the farm, the outside animals in the farm, the walk between Kiwi Forest & Dinosaur Kingdom, Dinosaur Kingdom and the train ride.
  • The train does have a roof so it does operate in the rain, but if the rain is coming in a sideways direction, people may get wet.

How much is it? Do you have a family pass?

Please click here to view the prices. Yes we do have a family pass, it consists of 2 adults and 2 children. You can add more children and they are discounted further.

Do you have special needs pricing?

Yes we do, please click here to view the prices.

Do you have seniors and student pricing?

Yes we do, please click here to view the prices. Seniors are aged 65+.

Can I come and go all day?

Yes you sure can, your wristband will be placed on you and you can use it for the entire day, you can come and go out of the complex.

Can I feed the animals?

You can feed some of the farm animals, little feed bags are a small donation of $2, these are in the farm. They only come out at 10.00, 12.30 and 2.30pm and once they are gone, then they are gone, this is for the safety of the animals. We cannot guarantee there will always be food available for you to feed them.

Are babies free?

Under 3’s are free for attractions and the train. To clarify, this does not mean 3 year olds are free, it is ages 0 – 2.

Do you have highchairs and a changing table?

Yes we have highchairs, these can be moved to the courtyard if desired. We have two changing tables situated in the parents room by the courtyard.

Is there somewhere we can we heat baby bottles up?

Yes, please ask any cafe staff member and they can do this for you.

Can we take buggies/prams around the place? What about on the train?

Yes they can go everywhere in Butterfly Creek. There is one carriage on the train for buggies/prams that fits 1 or 2. So if there is 5 buggies in one group, some will need to be left on the platform. The train comes back to the same point so you can leave them there.

What do I do if I have lost something at Butterfly Creek?

All lost items are kept at the shop, you can email [email protected] or phone 09 275 8880 ext. 228 to ask.

Do I have to pay for parking?

No, parking is free at Butterfly Creek.

Do you have luggage storage?

Yes, please ask our shop staff for luggage storage when you arrive & they will assist you.

Do you sell/pass on dead butterflies?

Unfortunately, we cannot allow dead butterflies to leave the premises as they are not native to New Zealand, and this is classified as a containment facility. This means no by-products of any species we have here can leave the premises as we need to protect our own biodiversity here in NZ .

Do you sell fruits and flowers on the premises?

We do not sell fruit or flowers here at Butterfly Creek as each of those plants have been purposely grown to feed different species on site. Eg, The banana palms flowers and fruit feed the butterflies, the Hibiscus tree feeds the Iguana.

Do you take on pets like fish, turtles, chicken, bunnies, etc?

We do not take on pets here at Butterfly Creek as we generally have full capacity with the animals here already in care. We carefully select our animals from regulated breeders to ensure they have the best health, temperament, and behaviour which allows them to be great ambassadors for their species.

Can I bring a Pet or Service Animal to Butterfly Creek?

Pets will not be admitted into Butterfly Creek.

A registered, fully vaccinated service dog is permitted into Butterfly Creek. They must be restrained on a leash with a visible vest on. Please provide registration to the shop on entry, the shop staff will ensure all keepers onsite are aware.

Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is of the utmost importance to us.

We would never exhibit any animal unless we were confident that we could provide the very best of conditions and care, and unless we were satisfied that particular species has a place here at Butterfly Creek.
We regularly get asked about our animal enclosures, or where our animals came from, what they eat etc. Here’s a list of some of the most commonly asked questions.

Why don’t the butterflies always fly around?

All year round there are always approx. 800 butterflies in the butterfly house – but they are not machines and so may be resting. They have periods of varying activity during the day, and this is one reason we allow all-day and repeat entries.

Why are the crocs not fed every day?

Crocodiles are ambush predators. This means they do not need to hunt for their food every day and are fed every two days. They are well fed, happy, warm and in an enclosure that is more than big enough for their well-being.

What temperature is the croc enclosures?

Scar and Goldie enjoy much larger enclosures from where they came from, their enclosures are kept between 27 and 30 degrees C and include concrete basking pads as well as generous grassed and soft landscaped ‘relaxing’ areas. The exhibit is themed as a snapshot of a typical Northern Territory landscape and is fully enclosed to protect them from Auckland’s colder winds. Radiant heating is provided to keep out the winter chills and the water is fresh water. Crocodiles are ambush predators which means that they wait for their food to come to them, they do not need a massive land area in order to be happy. These guys have the life – sunbathing, eating, sleeping and swimming!

What do saltwater crocodiles eat?

Chicken, beef and pork are their main food sources at Butterfly Creek. Keepers feed them small amounts in the encounters, ensuring that both Scar and Goldie ‘work’ for their meals. This can be anywhere between 1 and 4 kilograms per week. This way they not only gain extra exercise, but also display their natural behaviours and instincts. Crocodiles can survive on surprisingly little food. They burn little energy and can get by for up to 18 months without eating. Please note – feeding is not guaranteed in every encounter.

The crocs are quite big, are their enclosure big enough?

The croc exhibits meet the required zoo exhibit guidelines as stipulated by the Australian Government; they take into account all aspects of the animal’s welfare and well-being. The exhibits were signed off by a recognised saltwater crocodile expert before we were allowed to import the crocs.

Our exhibits are much the same as any croc facility in Australia. Both animals came from croc farms and were in holding areas much smaller than the exhibits they enjoy at Butterfly Creek. One was in a farm due to close and we were told was likely to end up as a wall hanging.

There is a misconception that animals such as crocodiles and lions spend all day wandering / swimming around for the fun of it or for stimulation and exercise. In fact, lions spend the vast majority of their days sleeping and mostly only move around looking for their next meal. And life can be extremely harsh – and very tenuous – for animals such as lions and crocs. Crocodiles look to claim a territory that provides them the opportunity to hunt and to use the water / land to cool off and warm up etc. They don’t require a huge area of land or water to meet all their needs and hence the zoo guidelines.

Kids Birthday Parties

How do I secure a party slot?

All bookings must be made online on our birthday party page. A non- refundable deposit of $150 will be required, this must be paid online via an authorised Credit Card. Once the payment is through, you will receive an automated email with the confirmation.

When I need to submit final details and pay the balance of the payment ?

Catering and all the other requirements must be confirmed at least 7 working days prior to the party. The final account will need to be paid the Wednesday of the week of your party.

Is food included with the kids package?

Yes, both packs include 10 magical lunchboxes for the children only. Any extra children 12 and under who you add will also include the lunch boxes. Adult food is purchased in addition and you can choose from our optional platter menu a week before your booking. Only cafe food can be purchased on the day.

Do we have to pay for the Birthday child?

Yes they will be included in the party package price.  However we will give the birthday child a free return voucher for one adult and one child to visit in the following 6 months.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of children to have a party?

  • Yes there is. We have 3 rooms with maximum numbers from 18 – 50 kids. Please see the Birthday Party page for maximum numbers.
  • For large birthday parties like 1st and 5th Birthdays with 25+ kids and lots of adults, we can hire out the Papillon Room which can host up to 150 people.
  • For any parties with children less than 10, you can book a table in the café and still bring in your own cake. Please note; the party package is not available for the café bookings, however we do have a kids menu that you can order from and purchase attraction tickets directly from the gift shop at our regular price.

Can I bring my own birthday cake and loot bags?

Yes, you are allowed to bring a birthday cake or cupcakes and loot bags. Please bring your own knife, candles and a lighter as these will not be supplied.

What if some or all of the kids are under 3, why can’t they be cheaper as their entrance is normally free?

The party package includes; private room for 2 hours, food & beverage for all the paying children, table settings and entry to all the attractions including a train ride. Our party packages are a packaged price for 10 kids aged 1-12 years. These party packages are different to general entry. If you would like a child aged 1-2 to be catered for and a place to sit around the table then they will be part of the full party package price.

Once you have paid the full pack price and have reached the minimum package numbers of 10 kids aged 1-12 you can add on an under 3 at $24 which is for food and room only. They can explore the park as a free under 3 at that stage. If they are a baby (e.g. 6 months old) and will not eat or sit at the table, then they are free.

Also, with birthday parties, discounted attraction tickets are offered to the adults at $24pp (regular price $32.50 including train ride) and children at $14 (regular price is $19.50 including train ticket).

What do I do if a child or adult doesn’t turn up on the day, can I get a refund?

No you can’t get any refunds for no shows. Due to the preparation and planning of the parties, no refunds available within 3 working days of your party ie the Wednesday. Our advice is to try and replace the children/adults as soon as you can, so if you know of anyone else that would like to join the party, give them the opportunity to join you.

Do adults have to pay to attend a party? Can they pay on the day?

  • For the Billi deck and Buds room party, adults can attend the party for FREE but if they want to see the attractions and animals then they need to pay for the attraction tickets, they will get the discounted price at $24pp.
  • For the Family Pack in the Boneyard room, 10 adults are included in the pack price. Any extra adults then can purchase the discount price at $24pp to access the party room. This ticket/pass will also allow them access to all the attractions & a train ride too.

Can I bring in my own food?

You can bring in a birthday cake/cupcakes and loot bags to celebrate your day with. Any externally bought food is not able to be eaten on the premises and must be consumed outside of Butterfly Creek. We have some picnic tables outside the main doors that you are welcome to use.

What are the table settings you provide with the birthday party package and can we bring our own decoration too?

Our setup is based on colours only. We do a basic set of table cloths, cutlery, plates, napkins and cups. You are more than welcome to bring in any decorations but everything you bring in must be taken away with you again. Balloons can go in the room but can’t be taken around the park as we are on airport land and they frighten the animals. 

Groups FAQs

What time should we arrive and what do we do when we arrive?

The best time to arrive is between 9.30am and 10.30am.

On arrival, your group should wait by the brown gate marked ‘Education/Group Entry’. This is located after the red barn but before the main entrance, next to a blue building.

Your group leader should report to the shop in the main entrance. Our shop staff will let our education coordinator know that you have arrived, and they will come down to meet you, then open the brown group entry gate for your group. Depending on the weather, group size and room arrangements, our education coordinator will either deliver your introductory talk in the courtyard or in one of our rooms.

Is there bus parking and how far do we have to walk to the entrance?

The bus can drop you beside the red barn in the bus drop off zone. The walk is less than 1 minute along a footpath. There is a large gravel area beyond the car park where the buses can park after everyone vacates the bus. They can collect you in the same place as the drop off.

Do we get a tour guide or someone to show us around?

Our education coordinator will give your group an introductory talk explaining the location of toilets and our major attractions. The talk will include basic health and safety information and rules that will help to keep our animals safe. After this, you can guide yourselves around the complex. If you are a very large group, you may like to split into smaller groups to start your tour in different areas to avoid too much congestion in one place. Maps are available in our shop; they also provide timings of our free animal encounters.

Our map is available to download from here:

What do we do if it is raining? Is there somewhere to eat and can we still visit everything?

Butterfly Creek is 75% undercover, so it is suitable to visit in wet weather. The train still operates when it rains. Bring rain jackets to be prepared for all weather. The courtyard is covered with a shade sail and rooms are available to use to eat lunch in, if previously arranged and it’s wet. If the weather is predicted to be extreme at short notice, please contact us to arrange to postpone your visit by calling 09 275 8880 or email [email protected]

Should we split into groups or can we all go together? What if we have a large group?

For groups with over 50 people, we recommend you split into smaller groups. If you have a very large group, we will do our best to make sure you can see everything by organizing a group rotation that will be sent to you 2 weeks prior to your visit with recommendations of how to organize your day.

How long should we visit Butterfly Creek for?

Generally, it is best to plan to be here for 2 – 4 hours.  Here are some general guidelines for timings:

  • Introduction talk: 10 mins
  • Keepers talk: 15 mins (available to school groups only)
  • Train: 5 mins (one loop)
  • Farm: 30 mins
  • Aquarium: 10 mins
  • Butterfly House: 15 mins
  • Crocodile Encounter: 15 mins
  • Kiwi House: 10 mins
  • Tamarins, Otters, Meerkats: 15 mins
  • Dinosaur Kingdom: 15 – 20 mins
  • Mythical Creatures: 10 mins
  • Lunch in courtyard: 30 mins

Can we bring in our own food? Is there somewhere to buy a coffee or lunch?

Education groups and school holiday programmes usually bring their own food with them. Accompanying adults are welcome to buy tea, coffee and snacks from our cafe. Meal packs for children are available to pre-order via our online booking system. Hot meals and other food and drink options are available to book for our senior groups. Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan options are available but must be discussed with our group coordinator first who will liaise with our chef at least a week in advance of your visit.

Are there rooms we can book for use on the day and/or is there a place we can store bags?

Our group coordinator will arrange a room for you to use if it is logistically possible. This will depend on how early you booked your visit, the group size and any particular special needs. Depending on the day and how many group bookings we have, it may be possible to allocate a room for you to use where bags may be stored during your visit. Priority for rooms goes to bigger groups and for those that have requested education talks. Rooms and bag storage are not available for use by groups during the school holidays.

Do you have any free education resources we can use?

We have an extensive range of free education resources that you can download to use before, during or after your visit. Due to the numbers of children we have visiting, we are unable to provide copies of our activity sheets on the day unless we have a special educational promotion taking place. Please visit our Education Hub to access all our resources: Feel free to email our education coordinator [email protected] if you have a need for a particular resource and we will do our best to help.

How do we make a booking for an education or group visit?

All bookings can be made easily online. Visit the page that best suits the description of your group below:

Please note that a 25% deposit must be paid to secure your booking.

How can we find out which dates are available?

Our booking system easily allows you to view which dates are available for you to book. Please note that during term time we are only open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and weekends.

What is the minimum number of supervising adults we need to meet health and safety requirements?

Your organisation will have its own recommended ratios for trips. As a general guide we recommend the following:

  • ECEs: 1 adult to 3 children
  • Years 0-6: 1 adult to 6 children
  • Years 7-10: 1 adult to 15 children
  • Years 11-13: 1 adult to 30 children

Can students walk around Butterfly Creek unsupervised?

All students in school years 0 – 10 must always be actively supervised throughout the visit by an adult. The supervising adult must be aged 18 years and over.

How many adults will we have to pay for on the day?

School groups and school holiday programme providers receive 1 free adult ticket per 8 paying children.

ECE groups receive 1 free adult ticket per 4 paying children over the age of 3.

Special Assistance Groups are able to bring 1 free carer per 1 paying client.

Can we pay in advance of our visit?

A 25% deposit is required to secure your booking. You are able to pay for your trip in advance if you are very confident about your group numbers; however, because final numbers often change on the day of your visit, we recommend that you pay your outstanding amount on the day of your visit. This can be done via cash or card, or you can receive an invoice (this will incur a $15 admin fee).

Can we get a discount?

All our education and group pricing has been designed with a built-in discount off our public admission prices. To receive our discounted group rates, a minimum of 15 paying children is required for schools, ECEs and holiday programmes; and a minimum of 10 adults for senior groups. We also offer competitive free adult to child ratios.

Can we use an Annual Pass membership when we book an education or group visit?

Annual Pass memberships and other discount vouchers cannot be used in conjunction with already discounted education and group visits.

Can we arrange a complementary pre-visit?

To arrange a pre-visit you must have already booked your trip to Butterfly Creek. Pre-visits are available Wednesday – Friday between 10am – 1pm for 2 staff members. Extra adults or children joining the pre-visit will need to pay normal admission prices.

Please contact our groups coordinator via email to arrange a pre-visit: [email protected]

Do you have RAMS information?

What if we need to cancel, postpone or change the date of our visit?

Please contact us as early as possible if you need to cancel, postpone or change the date of your visit by emailing [email protected]. If your booking is cancelled more than 2 weeks from the date of your planned visit, you will receive a 95% refund, less a 5% admin fee. If your booking is cancelled within 2 weeks from the date of your visit, we will be unable to refund your deposit. If you are simply needing postpone or change the date of your visit please email [email protected] to arrange an alternative date.

Can we book an education session?

School groups are able to book one of our education sessions via our online booking system. They are delivered by our keepers and last approximately 15 minutes. Although designed predominately for primary aged children, they can be tailored for older children and adult groups. Education talks are not suited for ECE groups. Each talk caters for 30 children, so for a larger group you will need to book more than one talk during your visit. Talks cost $15 and options include: NZ Zealand Conservation (kiwi or wētāpunga), Butterflies or Dinosaurs. We also have 9 free daily animal encounters including our popular crocodile feeding encounter at 1pm. Visit our website for details of our animal encounter times:

Do you have access for strollers and wheelchairs?

Butterfly Creek is stroller and wheelchair friendly, and we have two accessibility car parks available.

How do we book a train ride?

Group train rides can be easily booked as an optional extra via our online booking system. They cost $2.50pp.

The train is able to take 30 passengers and takes approx 5 mins. Please note that group train rides only go around the track once (not twice). Our group coordinator will advise you of your train time before your visit. For larger groups, we will organise a series of train rides to cater for your whole group. Please note that train rides can not be specifically booked for groups during the school holidays when our busy regular public train schedule is running, but tickets may be purchased for use at our regular train times.

Where can we eat morning tea and lunch?

We recommend that groups eat in our covered courtyard area near the playground and toilets. There are rubbish and recycling bins nearby, but we prefer groups to have a ‘pack in – pack out system’. Please do not use the cafe area to eat as this is reserved for members of the general public. If it’s raining or we have a number of large groups we may advise that you eat in the room your group may have been allocated for the day. Please do not take food into our animal exhibit areas.

Can we feed or touch any of the animals?

Buttermilk Farm offers an interactive experience where children can pat and feed some of our animals including rabbits, guinea pigs and goats. Feed bags are available to purchase for $2 (cash only) and are put out at 10am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm. A limited number (30) are made available during each time slot as they form part of the animals’ carefully monitored diet, and this helps avoid over-feeding them. Please do not take any other food into our animal exhibit areas. Our animals are only able to eat the food that we plan and provide for them.


“Butterfly Creek really did have something for everyone. My 9 year old daughter loved the farm, my 8 year old boy loved the dinosaurs, and my 4 year old loved everything! The butterfly house and crocodiles were a hit with everyone. Thanks for a great day out”


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