Herding Caterpillars Festival for schools

Enter the extraordinary world of the Chequered Copper Butterfly with your classes! Through theatre, storytelling, virtual reality and hands-on activities, your students will discover the amazing story of the Chequered Copper Butterfly.

Hiding beneath our noses in the Adelaide Park Lands is a story that you will find hard to believe.

It is a story that has taken place for thousands of years, every year, in the grasslands of Adelaide and rediscovered in Victoria Park (Pakapakanthi) in 2011.

The eggs of a tiny caterpillar are checked by common black ants and when they hatch the baby caterpillars are herded to their favourite host plant to feed.

The ants shepherd the caterpillars down into their nest for rest and protection at the end of each day.

In return, the ants feed from the nectary gland at the end of the caterpillar.

Eventually the tubby caterpillar pupates in the ant nest and emerges as the beautiful Chequered Copper Butterfly.

Sounds incredible doesn't it! This remarkable symbiotic relationship will be brought to life during The Herding Caterpillars Festival.

Don't miss the chance to bring your class to this engaging and interactive experience held within the lush indoor temperate rainforest of the Bicentennial Conservatory at the Adelaide Botanic Garden!

Curriculum links:

  • Year 4 to Year 7 Science: AC9S4U01, AC9S5U01, AC9S6U01, AC9S7U01, AC9S7U02
  • Year 4 to Year 5 Art: AC9HH7K03, AC9HH7K04
  • Year 5 to Year 7 Drama: AC9ADR6E01, AC9ADR8E01


Please note: This program is for school classes only.

Excursion Information

Year Level

Year 4 to Year 7


Wednesday 7, Thursday 8 and Friday 9 August 2024


Session 1: 9:30am to 11.30am

Session 2: 12:00pm to 2:00pm

Planning Your Excursion

Please read this information before your visit to ensure the best possible experience and learning outcomes:
Information can be found here.



No cost, bookings essential

30 students maximum per class.


Bicentennial Conservatory, Adelaide Botanic Garden

Locations will be confirmed with booking information.
Bus drop off zones are located on Plane Tree Drive and Hackney Road.


The Adelaide Botanic Garden contains a mixture of bitumen, paths and has natural surfaces.

The Bicentennial Conservatory is on a paved pathway at ground level and includes a low gradient sloped board walk to the upper level.

As the Bicentennial Conservatory is a Rainforest environment, please be aware that there may be moisture in the air and on the paths depending on the weather.

For more information, please contact DEWBGSchools@sa.gov.au or call 8222 9343.

Photo credit: Rosina Possingham