Papiliorama is a natural discovery center in Kerzers, Fribourg, Switzerland that features a butterfly house, nocturnal habitat, tropical rainforest, and a petting zoo. A popular tourist destination, it provides visitors a chance to explore all these biological enclaves and ecosystems while learning about the animals. Furthermore, it houses a wide variety of flora and fauna not easily found elsewhere in the country.
Papiliorama is a captivating natural sanctuary and park that combines the elements of a zoo and a botanical garden, creating a unique and enthralling experience. The name Papiliorama originates from the Latin word papilio meaning butterfly and panorama. Together, the word Papiliorama can therefore be translated as a butterfly view. Its logo, that of a butterfly, also indicates that this is where you will get to see tons of butterflies.
And while you will have the chance to see lots of butterflies, Papiliorama is more than just that. Papiliorama is divided into three main sections and supplemented by other animal enclosures offering a diverse experience for visitors:
- the Butterfly House
- the Nocturama
- the Jungle Trek
Aside from these three main houses, they also have tortoises, bugs, wild bees, a playground, and a petting zoo.
Papiliorama: What to Expect
Butterfly House (Papiliorama)
My only expectation prior to visiting Papiliorama was that I would get to see a lot of butterflies flying around. You can do this as soon as you enter Papiliorama since the butterfly house is located right next to the entrance.
Visitors to Papiliorama can expect to be greeted by many colorful butterflies fluttering around them as they enter the Butterfly House. This is a large, enclosed space filled with tons of trees, plants, a tiny pond, and more in order to replicate the natural habitat of butterflies. In this enclosed space, the temperature is kept steady, which feels humid and quite warm.
Visitors can walk through the house on paths and observe the butterflies up close. The butterflies soar through the air, fluttering from one flower to another. It is forbidden to touch the butterflies, though you may take photographs.
Papiliorama is a favorite among both children and adults, as it teaches visitors a lot about these fascinating creatures.
You don’t typically see this portion of Papiliorama elsewhere, so I found it quite unique. It is called Nocturama and is dedicated to showcasing the fascinating world of nocturnal animals. Similar to the Butterfly House, it is a large, enclosed space. However, in contrast to that, it is quite dark.
Nocturama is a dark, enclosed space with dim, blue lights designed to replicate the animals’ natural habitats. Visitors can expect to see a variety of animals, including sloths, snakes, bats, aardvarks, and other creatures that are active at night.
You can observe animals up close and learn about their unique adaptations. These animals thrive in the dark, and that’s why you can see them walking about instead of sleeping while you stay inside. In spite of the dim light, you don’t need to bring a flashlight.
Similar to Papiliorama and Nocturama, Jungle Trek is also a large, enclosed space. This time, it is a recreated rainforest environment, similar to what you will find in parts of Asia and South America. You can see a variety of plants and animals that you would normally see in a rainforest, including birds and reptiles.
You can walk around in paths to observe the flora and fauna similar to rainforests. You may also climb up and walk above the treetops to get a bird’s-eye view of the entire rainforest. You can also expect it to be warm and humid like the Butterfly House.
As soon as you’ve seen the three main sections of Papiliorama, you may head outside to discover the other sections. What might be quite interesting for children is their playground.
The Playground is a fun and interactive section of Papiliorama where children can find a variety of activities, including climbing frames, slides, and other play equipment. There are ample trees and shade here, as well as benches, so parents can relax while the children burn off energy during play.
Near the restaurant is a small petting zoo called Zoé Zoo with a couple of animals. Young visitors can enjoy petting the friendly goats.
Conservation Efforts of the Foundation Papiliorama
Foundation Papiliorama has invested millions of Swiss francs not only in the development of the institution but also in projects beyond its own doors. Similar to other zoos in Switzerland, Papiliorama is also actively involved in the preservation and conservation of various species and forests.
Among the initiatives that Papiliorama is involved with include the following:
- Belize Project: With ITCF or the International Tropical Conservation Foundation, Papiliorama in Kerzers helps preserve almost 400 km2 of tropical nature in Belize, Central America.
- Habitat Restoration: Papiliorama has restored natural habitats of its outdoor area, reviving a stream and recreating a natural pond. With the grassland, woodland, and pond, this wild area in Kerzers helps shrubs and rare bird species to thrive.
- European Pond Turtle: Papiliorama aims to reintroduce and strengthen the European pond turtle population with the help of the Swiss Association of Scientifically Managed Zoos.
Papiliorama: Visitor Information
Hours and Admission
Papiliorama is open year-round, with the exception of December 25 and January 1. During the summer months, Papiliorama is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. In winter, Papiliorama is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Admission prices vary depending on age and the number of people in the group. Children up to age 3 are free, while children aged 4 to 15 pay a reduced fee of CHF 9.50. Adults pay the full price of CHF 19.
There are discounts available for apprentices, students, seniors, and disabled visitors. Group rates are also available for groups of 10 or more people.
Guided Tours and Educational Offers
For school groups, Papiliorama offers a range of guided tours that can take you to Papiliorama, Nocturama, Jungle Trek, and Wild Seeland. These tours can be conducted in German, French, and English and booked for a fixed fee.
Fact sheets and documents may also be ordered or downloaded from the website should you want to.
Amenities and Services
Papiliorama offers a variety of amenities and services to make the visitor experience as enjoyable as possible.
- The park features a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. There are also picnic areas for visitors who bring their own food.
- There are lockers and jacket racks available.
- There are accessible paths throughout the park for those with wheelchairs.
- There is a souvenir shop before you exit Papiliorama that sells zoo-themed merchandise.
How to Get to Papiliorama
Papiliorama is located in Kerzers, Switzerland around half an hour away from Bern. The easiest way to get to Papiliorama is by taking the train to Kerzers Papiliorama. The train station is located just a short walk from the entrance.
There is a parking lot near Papiliorama should you decide to take your car with you.
Final Thoughts: Papiliorama
Papiliorama is a fun destination for nature lovers and families who want to experience butterflies and nocturnal animals up close. It is an engaging way to learn about the natural world by walking in an environment that mimics closely how these animals live. Although you cannot touch the butterflies around you, they will be fluttering quite close to you. And you will be able to see tons of them flying around.
Unlike standard zoos like Zoo Zurich, Zoo Basel, or Tierpark Goldau, it’s an experience unlike any other.
As a whole, Papiliorama makes a fun, educational day out for nature lovers and families. Featuring a diverse range of flora and fauna and a commitment to conservation and sustainability, visitors of all ages will find Papiliorama fascinating.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.