Firefly Viewing Nights

Fireflies in Spring Peeper Meadow

Experience the magic of summer nights at the Arb with hundreds of fireflies flashing through the sky! Bring your family and friends along to marvel at the wonder of these glowing winged beetles (also known as lightning bugs). Begin your firefly viewing experience by gathering in the Sensory Garden Parking Lot to learn about these special creatures from local experts and Master Naturalists.

Every week we will feature other nighttime creatures that can also be spotted (or heard) during our Firefly Viewing Nights! You’ll be able to pick from four options for firefly viewing hikes throughout the Arboretum grounds. We’ll note which route offers the best viewing each night. 

Hiking Routes

  • Wildflower Garden (1/2 mile)
  • Bog Walk (1 mile)
  • Three-Mile Walk (2.25 miles)
  • Farm Trail (2 miles)

Date and Time

Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings from 8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.;
June 22-24
June 29, 30 & July 1
July 6-8 


Start in the Sensory Garden


$5 for members and children 15 and younger
$20 for non-members

Firefly Tickets (select your date)


We’ll kick off every evening with an outdoor program in the Sensory Garden featuring a different nocturnal creature. Experts will present from 8:30-9 pm and then conclude with a 30-minute Q&A. See the schedule below for presenter details.  

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June 22-24: Bats

June 22 & June 24 - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Jill Utrup with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will lead an educational program about native bats followed by a conversational, observational walk. Expect to dial up your bat knowledge as Jill touches on bats’ unique traits, charm, ecological importance, and why they need our help now more than ever.  Jill's program will also feature acoustic detectors, which allow participants to see and "hear" the echolocation calls bats are making in real time. The software the detectors rely on is able to differentiate between different calls bats are making as they are flying over and determine what species is calling. 

June 23 - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 

Join us for a bat program presented by Melissa Boman with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Melissa will present on all things bats followed by a bat walk that will feature acoustic detectors, which allow participants to hear the echolocation calls bats are making in real time.   

Bat Houses for Sale! 

After learning about how amazing and beneficial bats are, you may want to encourage a few to move into your yard. Greg VanZee is a talented artist that has created sturdy, functional bat houses. His houses are built with successful bat residence in mind. 

  • Size is 21” x 36” 
  • Contains four chambers
  • 100% wood interior (no plastic or metal mesh that can trap bats inside)
  • Launching and landing pad is scarred for ease of use for the occupants
  • Sturdy, secure construction with all seam caulked. 
  • Price is $110
  • To pre-purchase, please email Greg VanZee at [email protected]

June 29-July 1: Owls

June 29 & June 30 - Wildlife Science Center 

When daylight ends, some of nature’s most fascinating predators become active. Often heard, seldom seen, owls rule the night sky. Join us for an evening program with the Wildlife Science Center featuring three live owls! Expect to learn all about the amazing adaptations these nocturnal birds of prey rely on to find prey, hide, defend territory, and take care of their young. You’ll also be invited to touch and interact with a collection of raptor artifacts to find out firsthand why birds can fly and we cannot. 

July 1 - The Raptor Center

The Raptor Center’s presentation-style program will feature a live, great horned owl. The presenter will handle and present the bird to the audience, during which you'll learn what makes these birds unique while getting a close-up view. 

July 6-8: Frogs

July 6 - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 

Have you ever wondered about the sounds coming from your local wetland, lake or river on a warm spring night? Chances are you have heard some of our native frogs or toads engaging in their spring breeding activities, whether you knew it or not! We invite you to come spend the evening with MN DNR Nongame Wildlife Biologist, Erica Hoaglund, who has worked to protect and study our native amphibian friends for over 15 years. Erica will talk about our native diversity of frogs and toads, how you can learn to identify them by sound, and their important roles in our local ecosystems. There will be plenty of time for questions so come ready for discussion and discovery! If time and crowd size allow Erica will lead a short walk to nearby wet areas to see what we can hear live!

July 7 - Belwin Conservancy 

Join Lynette Anderson for an evening program! Lynette is a naturalist at Belwin Conservancy in Afton MN. She has been presenting programs and supporting the restoration field work since 2000. She has lived in the St. Croix River valley since 1987 and is a passionate educator about the natural world. She particularly loves to help folks learn about frogs, birds, prairies and what we can all do to make a difference in our own behaviors to support nature. 

July 8 - Minnesota Herpetological Society 

Anna Cameron with the Minnesota Herpetological Society will offer a frog and toad program designed for you to see these amazing amphibians up close! Attendees will be introduced to the adaptations, sounds, and ecology of frogs and toads that can be found across Minnesota.