The Charlotte Rhoades Park and Butterfly Garden is located in Southwest Harbor, on Mount Desert Island. It is open daily from mid-May to mid-October, from sunrise to sunset. For visitors of all ages, it is exciting to experience a coastal butterfly habitat in Downeast Maine and see how careful organic gardening practices can sustain and protect butterflies.

In this our 20th year anniversary, we have wonderful plans to make major improvements to the park. Learn more below and see how you can assist in this project.

Mark your calendars for 2018 Events!


April 12
Hands-on Pruning Class
Thursday, April 13th,
10:00am-12:00am $10.00

pruning This class will include basic pruning, thinning, plant care, tool use and safety. For new and experienced gardeners. For more information or to reserve a place email us at information@rhoadesbutterflygarden.org



May - Thursdays
Gardening Classes
$10.00 a class

gardening classes$10.00 per class. Classes include mulching, dividing plants, and composting. New or experienced gardeners are always welcome! For more information or to reserve a place email us at information@rhoadesbutterflygarden.org




2018 Annual Butterfly Release
Thursday, July 26th, 3:30 PM
Reservations Required

2016  butterfly releaseThis annual event is a wonderful family affair that is fun for everyone! Money raised at the event helps support the park by providing funds for plants, supplies, and equipment for maintaining the garden, and producing educational materials. We hope to see you there!

Learn More. Purchase Butterfly Release Tickets Online


Exciting changes are being planned for
Charlotte Rhoades Park!

For the last 20 years Charlotte Rhoades Park and Butterfly Garden has been a place where thousands of children, adults and families have come to "smell the flowers," discover the magic of butterflies, attend a wedding, volunteer as a gardener or spend a quiet afternoon.

Today, with an eye to the future, we are undertaking renovation plans to improve facilities and ensure the Park's long term sustainability for the benefit and enjoyment of the community. The plans include:

  • Removing the old farmhouse for safety and financial reasons.
  • Building a new modest (500 sq. ft.) garden barn which will include a public bathroom, meeting space, and work and storage facilities.
  • Creating additional parking spaces.
  • Establishing a small endowment to replace the rental income lost from the old farmhouse.

View the proposed site plan here.

Why is this project so important now?

The Charlotte Rhoades home on the shore of Norwood Cove was given to the Town of Southwest Harbor in 1973, specifying its use for quiet picnics and play. The Park was used sparingly until 1998 when the SWH Conservation Commission and Pemetic School students asked permission at town meeting to create a Butterfly Garden to promote conservation education and sustainable gardening practices. Citizens approved the request and the Butterfly Garden was launched by a committed group of volunteers, landscape professionals, and local businesses.

The original homestead provided rental income for operations as well as program and work space. The Park has made remarkable progress over the past two decades, and it is critically important at this time to address the structural needs of the Park to preserve what has already been accomplished and to have a sustainable plan in place for its future.


Removal of the farmhouse, building replacement barn, improved parking $180,000
Endowment to replace lost rental $200,000
TOTAL COST $380,000

We will seek funding for this project from many sources, including the Town, individual donors, businesses, and local and regional nonprofits. We will also seek a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The town provides the same services to the property as it does to other town parks: mowing, plowing, and normal utilities. It does not provide funds for the garden. The garden was created and has always been maintained by volunteers.




Charlotte Rhoades Park is a project of the Conservation Commission of the Town of Southwest Harbor. Charitable contributions made to governmental agencies are tax-deductible under IRS section 170(c)(1).

Donations can be made to:
“SWH Conservation Commission” with a memo it is for the Rhoades Park project

Mail to:
Charlotte Rhoades Park & Butterfly Garden
Town of Southwest Harbor
P.O. Box 263
Southwest Harbor
Maine 04679.

Online Donations can be made by credit card through a secure link to *PayPal. You do not have to have a PayPal account. 

* Your transaction will display Town of Southwest Harbor DBA Southwest Harbor Conservation as receiving your donation.

Your donation will have lasting benefits for the community and all those who visit the Park.
All Donations are greatly appreciated. Thank You!