Helen Jones Foundation
March 11th through June 25th, 2023
Butterflies Alive is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the whole family that you won’t want to miss! Butterflies Alive brings the magical experience of a wild butterfly encounter up close and personal, providing you and your family with the thrilling experience of being surrounded by not a single butterfly, but hundreds of butterflies and moths flying freely and closely. Contained within a nearly 3,000 square foot garden enclosure, flowering plants, trees, and ornate decorative features create an inspiring and mesmerizing atmosphere.
Upon entering the “Flight House”, or the greenhouse structure that contains the butterflies, moths and flowering plants, one may spot a Zebra Longwing butterfly busily flying in search of a flower’s nectar meal, or perhaps an Atlas Moth (one of the largest moth species in the world) roosting in anticipation of the evening’s approach. The well know Monarch butterfly will be easily found most days, and is a central theme of the garden. Butterflies Alive brings these beautiful winged insects to life before your eyes as never before.
A “Pupae Emergence House” is a welcome feature of the exhibit, and is where new butterflies and moths emerge safely before being released into the Flight House (new butterflies are added every week). Viewing windows into the inner chamber ensure that every visitor will get a chance to see a butterfly or moth emerge from its chrysalis. If you’re patient, you may just catch a Red Admiral drying her wings after her emergence. Daily releases, performed by Science Spectrum staff, into the Flight House are an added bonus not to be missed.
Also, children and families won’t want to miss the Butterfly Maze where they can experience the life cycle and transformation of a butterfly from caterpillar to adult. Then play games to find food and avoid predators like a butterfly, as well as learn to crawl like a caterpillar.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where do the butterflies come from?
The butterflies are raised by butterfly farmers that have met certain criteria put forth by USDA APHIS in order to successfully breed and sell butterflies commercially. All farmers are carefully screened and chosen for their care and commitment to the wellbeing of butterflies, now and into the future.
What kind of butterflies will I see when I visit?
There are dozens of different butterfly species, and a handful of moth species, that are likely to be flying in any combination at any time during the course of the exhibition. A lot depends upon the conditions in which the butterfly farmers are raising their brood. Some of the most common include:
- Gulf Fritillary – Agraulis vanillae
- Monarch – Danaus plexippus
- Zebra Longwing – Heliconius charitonius
- Giant Swallowtail – Papilio cresphonte
- Black Swallowtail – Papilio polyxenes
- Red Admiral – Vanessa atalanta
- Painted Lady – Vanessa cardui
- Blue Morpho – Morpho peleides
- Owl Butterfly – Caligo memnon
- Atlas Moth – Attacus atlas
This exhibition is expected to be popular it’s opening week during Spring Break and on weekends, so here are a few things you can do to make your visit a little easier.
- Butterfly Flight House tickets are single entry admission only.
- Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. The Flight House can accommodate a limited number of people at a time, to avoid possible lines for entry, consider arriving earlier in the day.
- During regional and local Spring Break, March 11th to 19th, and peak times on weekends, ticket holders will be admitted into the Flight House in groups. The time allotted in the Flight House will depend on daily attendance levels.
- The exhibit and museum will have special extended hours until 6:00pm each day during regional and local Spring Break, March 11th to 19th.
- Strollers are not allowed inside the Flight House. Stroller parking is available in the exhibit space.
- The Flight House is wheelchair accessible.
- Groups of 20 or more may want to consider making reservations. Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more. Call 806-745-2525 x234 for group rates and reservations.
Also Featured: Flight of the Butterflies in the OMNI Theater
Flight of the Butterflies
While you’re here, you’ll also be able to take in the full butterfly experience by seeing the OMNI film, Flight of the Butterflies.
Flight of the Butterflies is an interconnected scientific adventure story that spans not only thousands of miles, but generations. It’s about the remarkable Monarch butterfly migration, the most incredible migration on Earth, and the determined scientists who spent 40 years trying to discover exactly where the butterflies mysteriously disappeared when they flew south for winter.
Danaus plexippus or Dana for short, is the Monarch we follow on her perilous journey from Mexico to Canada, along with her daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter. The outstanding fourth, or “Super Generation” of butterflies travels more than 2,000 km south, all the way from the northern United States and southern Canada to Mexico, overwinters and makes one final short trip to the southern United States to lay eggs. Then, the cycle begins again. It’s one incredible trip you won’t want to miss!
For more information on Flight of the Butterflies, visit the film’s website at www.flightofthebutterflies.com. The OMNI Theater will be showing the 2D version of this film.