In the but­ter­fly dome Papil­io­ra­ma, over 1 000 exot­ic but­ter­flies fly freely around the vis­i­tors in a lush trop­i­cal gar­den. With their daz­zling colours and var­i­ous shapes and sizes, they offer an enchant­i­ng bal­let. The oth­er stages in the but­ter­fly­’s fas­ci­nat­ing life cycle can also be dis­cov­ered: the hatch­ing of a but­ter­fly from its pupa in the emerg­ing cham­ber or the eggs and cater­pil­lars in the terrariums.

The trop­i­cal cli­mate in the 1 200 m² dome trans­ports vis­i­tors into the fas­ci­nat­ing world of the trop­ics. The plant world is rep­re­sent­ed here with around 120 species: a colour­ful sea of flow­ers with nec­tar plants for but­ter­flies, but also large palm trees and oth­er impres­sive orna­men­tal plants. Our exhi­bi­tion is inhab­it­ed not only by but­ter­flies, but also by var­i­ous spec­tac­u­lar bird species such as nec­tar birds, Nico­bar pigeons and tura­cos. The waters are pop­u­lat­ed by fresh­wa­ter stingrays and oth­er excit­ing fish species from the trop­ics of Amer­i­ca and Asia.


The Noc­tura­ma is a world­wide unique exhi­bi­tion: the translu­cent roof of the dome fil­ters the nat­ur­al day­light and cre­ates a full moon night atmos­phere inside. The reversed day and night rhythm makes it pos­si­ble to take a noc­tur­nal walk in the mid­dle of the day and observe the mys­te­ri­ous, noc­tur­nal ani­mals of the trop­i­cal forests. Along the paths you will dis­cov­er sloths, tree por­cu­pines, night mon­keys, armadil­los and many oth­er animals.

The adven­ture begins after a short adap­ta­tion peri­od, dur­ing which the eyes of the vis­i­tors adjust to the dark­ness of the full moon night. Many of the ani­mal enclo­sures in Noc­tura­ma are semi-open so that the ani­mals can be observed excep­tion­al­ly well and at close range. The wind­ing paths lead past sloths and rac­coons, but also past the large fish pond. On their walk, vis­i­tors are accom­pa­nied by the end­less bal­let of the free-fly­ing bats. The tour also leads through the breed­ing sta­tion, where many of the Noc­tura­ma species are specif­i­cal­ly bred as part of the breed­ing pro­grammes of the Euro­pean Soci­ety of Zoos and Aquar­i­ums. Thus, the Papil­io­ra­ma Foun­da­tion makes a valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to the pro­tec­tion of numer­ous ani­mal species in captivity.

Jungle Trek

Since 1989 the Papil­io­ra­ma has been run­ning a nature reserve in Belize, Cen­tral Amer­i­ca. Jun­gle Trek is an authen­tic copy of these rich trop­i­cal habi­tats and offers vis­i­tors an excit­ing hike through the trop­i­cal forest. 

On an area of 1 200 m² about 150 plant and 30 ani­mal species can be dis­cov­ered. The vis­i­tors are accom­pa­nied on their tour by the colour­ful Rain­boy tou­cans, the curi­ous Green jays or the primeval look­ing Black igua­nas. Coat­is, Pekaris, Tayras and oth­er excit­ing trop­i­cal for­est species inhab­it in the enclo­sures at the edge of the dome. The two ponds are also copies of exist­ing waters in the reserve and are home to a rich vari­ety of fish. The 7 m high panora­ma bridge offers a view from above and into the canopy. The trop­i­cal for­est exhi­bi­tion inte­grat­ed into the dome encour­ages reflec­tion on the fate of these unique habi­tats and offers an insight into our over­seas nature con­ser­va­tion project.

Wild Seeland

The Papil­io­ra­ma Foun­da­tion is com­mit­ted to famil­iar­iz­ing vis­i­tors with local nature and show­ing them the impor­tance of intact habi­tats and bio­di­ver­si­ty. There­fore, only native plants grow on the out­door premis­es and new and valu­able dry and wet habi­tats are con­stant­ly being cre­at­ed. Numer­ous native ani­mal and plant species have already set­tled in the new­ly cre­at­ed biotope.

The obser­va­tion hut, called “Obser­va­to­ri­um diver­si­tatis”, gives an insight into the new­ly cre­at­ed allu­vial zone. The water lev­el can be reg­u­lat­ed to sim­u­late the nat­ur­al con­di­tions in such flood zones as accu­rate­ly as pos­si­ble. Dry habi­tats, such as dry grass­lands or dry herba­ceous mar­gins, pro­vide biotopes for oth­er species. In 2017, a sur­vey of all the species found on the revi­talised out­side area of the Papil­io­ra­ma was car­ried out. Almost 300 plant and 300 ani­mal species were iden­ti­fied. These can be admired in the “Let it Grow” exhib­it. In the com­ing years many more species will cer­tain­ly be added. 

Bug Biotop

Dur­ing the warm sea­son the 500 m² large Bug Big­top is home to up to 10 dif­fer­ent species of indige­nous but­ter­flies. The species shown are all still rel­a­tive­ly fre­quent in the Swiss mid­lands ex. the Small Tor­toise­shell, the Paint­ed Lady, the Euro­pean Pea­cock, the C‑Falter, the Small cab­bage white and the Swal­low­tail. Eggs, cater­pil­lars and pupae can be seen on the net­tles, fen­nel and oth­er host plants. And with a bit of luck you can watch a but­ter­fly emerg­ing from its pupa in the emerg­ing cham­ber. Besides indige­nous but­ter­flies, the Bug Big­top har­bours a range of oth­er small ani­mals such as woodlice, ants, spi­ders, lady­birds, earth­worms and aquat­ic insects. The show bum­ble­bee colony offers a fas­ci­nat­ing insight into the life of these dili­gent pollinators.

The wild bee cal­en­dar was cre­at­ed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with and presents the diver­si­ty of indige­nous wild bees in the course of the sea­sons. The busy lit­tle ani­mals can be observed close-up in prox­im­i­ty of the installed nest­ing ele­ments and the vis­i­tors can learn much about these impor­tant pollinators.

European Pond Turtles

The Euro­pean Pond Tur­tle (Emys orbic­u­laris) is the only indige­nous tur­tle species. This species used to inhab­it all slow-flow­ing water sur­faces rich in veg­e­ta­tion in the whole of Switzer­land. Today only two pop­u­la­tions are left, prob­a­bly the result of released ani­mals. Their dis­ap­pear­ing is due to intense hunt­ing over cen­turies on one hand, but also due to habi­tat destruc­tion. Since a few years, the Papil­io­ra­ma Foun­da­tion has been involved in a rein­tro­duc­tion project for the Euro­pean Pond Tur­tle. From Spring to Autumn the tur­tles can be observed sun-bathing.

Zoë Zoo – our petting zoo

What is not pos­si­ble in the oth­er exhi­bi­tions is explic­it­ly allowed here: the ani­mals in the Zoë Zoo can be touched and pam­pered to your heart’s content.

The dwarf don­keys Wes­ley and Pinko, the dwarf goats, the rab­bits, ducks and chick­ens move around freely between the vis­i­tors. They love being cud­dled, even by the youngest vis­i­tors, and are always patient­ly avail­able for fam­i­ly por­traits. Should they need a break, the ani­mals can retreat to the rest zone at any time. But usu­al­ly some­one is always avail­able for a caress.

Nature playground

An extra­or­di­nary playground!

Built from untreat­ed false aca­cia (Robinia, an inva­sive species in Switzer­land!), the nature play­ground stands in a light for­est, crossed by small waters. On the climb­ing course the chil­dren can test their coor­di­na­tion and dex­ter­i­ty. The water play­ground is espe­cial­ly pop­u­lar on sun­ny days. Here you can dam up, pump and divert the water to your heart’s con­tent. The pic­nic area per­fect­ly com­ple­ments the fam­i­ly-friend­ly offer.


We protect 400 km2 of tropical forest in Belize.

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