Step inside a lush, four-story rainforest that's teeming with life—from free-flying birds to exotic reptiles, amphibians, golden silk orb-weaver spiders, and enormous Amazonian fish that glide overhead.

Please note: Osher Rainforest is closed through November 17 for infrastructure maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience. For more information, please see the FAQ below.

Inside the dome, a magnificent neotropical rainforest stretches 90 feet above. Delight in the exploits of 1,600+ live plants and animals, including taxicab-like sun beetles, leafcutter ants hard at work, and a slithering Amazonian tree boa.

From the canopy, plunge (via elevator) four stories down for a beneath-the-surface view of an Amazonian flooded forest. At each stage of the journey, you'll come face-to-face with some of the incredible animals that call these forests home.


Photo: Kat Whitney

Butterflies aflutter

Watch the life cycle of tropical butterflies and moths unfold before your eyes. In our butterfly emergence chamber on the top floor of the rainforest, you'll see shiny chrysalises and structurally impressive cocoons alongside butterflies stretching their newly formed wings. 

An image of the exterior of the dome, reflecting the many round windows in the living roof above.

About the dome

Housed within a spectacular 90-foot-diameter glass dome, our rainforest exhibit is the largest of its kind in the world. With temperatures of 82–85 degrees and humidity at 75 percent or above, it will instantly transport you to some of the most biodiverse places on Earth.

A lizard rests atop a large leaf in the Osher Rainforest.

Tropical flora

The rainforest's living plants include trees like the Brazilian beauty leaf and West Indies mahogany, dozens of shrubs—including Theobroma cacao, the plant from which chocolate is made—and hundreds of flowering plants, from begonias and philodendrons to orchids and bromeliads.

Butterfly in the rainforest

Animals of the rainforest

More than 1,600 live animals reside in our rainforest dome, including 250 free-flying birds and butterflies and close to 100 exotic reptiles and amphibians. From the bright flashes of blue morpho butterflies to the jewel-like colors of poison-dart frogs, you'll see fauna at its most dazzling.

A view from the flooded forest tunnel of arapaima and other large fish swimming overhead.

The flooded forest

Surround yourself with hundreds of tropical, freshwater fish by taking the flooded forest tunnel, a transparent passage that plunges right through our 100,000-gallon Amazonian tank. See cichlids dart through the roots of a mangrove cluster while giant arapaima soar overhead.

Hours & location

Osher Rainforest opens 30 minutes after the museum opens Monday–Saturday.
Monday–Saturday, 10 am–4:45 pm
Sunday, 11 am–4:45 pm 

Enter the rainforest on the Main Floor, across from the Giants of Land and Sea exhibit.

About the upcoming rainforest closure

From August 21 through November 17, 2023, Osher Rainforest will be closed to the public for infrastructure maintenance. Please pardon the interruption, and explore the FAQ below for more details. Questions? Drop us a line!

Why is the rainforest closing—and why for so long?

Thanks to our dedicated staff, Osher Rainforest has been up and running without any extended maintenance closures since our opening in 2008. Because warm temperatures and high humidity take a toll on built structures, it’s time to give the rainforest some TLC to ensure this iconic exhibit stays in tip-top shape.

During the closure period (August 21-November 17, 2023), crews will conduct a variety of critical infrastructure maintenance, including waterproofing, repainting, fixture replacement, and HVAC improvements. This work will enhance the appearance of the exhibit, improve operational efficiency and safety, and support the long-term functioning of the dome.

Why can’t this happen after-hours so the rainforest can stay open?

While we normally perform regular maintenance and small refurbishments to the rainforest during early mornings and evenings, the larger maintenance and repair projects scheduled for this fall require the space to be closed for a longer period of time. By closing the rainforest for three months, we’ll be able to complete big projects that will keep the space in top condition for years to come.

What will happen to the rainforest animals during the closure?

The majority of the rainforest’s 1,600+ birds, insects, reptiles, and amphibians will be temporarily housed in Steinhart Aquarium’s back-of-house spaces where they’ll continue to receive the best care, nutrition, and enrichment while we work on their permanent home. Since the maintenance work will not impact the Amazon Flooded Forest section of the rainforest, its resident fish and turtles will remain in place during the closure—and on view from the Flooded Forest Tunnel!

Is there anything new to explore while the rainforest is closed?

We're glad you asked! During the closure, we're bringing some rainforest flavor out onto the museum floor:

As always, check the daily calendar for schedule information.