Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House & Insectarium
Daily Butterfly Release + General Information
Join us Daily at Noon for a talk and butterfly release as we let newly-emerged butterflies out into the conservatory. The amount of butterflies to release varies daily, based on how quickly they emerge after we receive the pupae. Pupae (chrysalises) are shipped in weekly from local farms in the U.S., El Salvador, Colombia, Suriname, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
Texas Discovery Gardens invites you to enjoy all of the beauty there is to see in our butterfly house. Admission to the butterfly house is sold from 10 am to 4:45 pm. Our insect display is in the lobby; the butterfly house contains tropical butterflies, beneficial insects, and aquatic life.
For driving directions, admission and hours, please visit this page.
Print out a flyer with common butterflies in the conservatory!
Things to know before you go:
Rules and Regulations.
You can take as many pictures as you want. We encourage it! Taking portraits (graduation, family, bridal, etc.)? See our photo shoot policy here.
Wheelchairs and small to medium sized electric carts are welcome on the walkway in the butterfly house.
Due to narrow pathways inside the butterfly house, we encourage stroller parking outside the exhibit on busy days.
Food and drink is not allowed inside the Butterfly House. We want our butterflies to feed only on nectar! (And some over-ripe fruit that we provide).
Please leave flowers on the plants. Picked flowers lose their nectar, and butterflies will ignore them.
It is illegal to remove butterflies from the butterfly house. We are not allowed to give away deceased butterflies, as per the United States Department of Agriculture.
Outside in the gardens, strollers, electric carts, and food/drink are welcome. Please feel free to bring snacks or a picnic for outside in our Gardens.
When you’re inside the two-level butterfly house.
The butterfly house entrance is upstairs. There is elevator access to the entrance.
Be aware that it is warm and humid inside. Plan on staying for at least 15 minutes. Thursday and Sunday mornings are watering times, so the butterfly house will be more humid.
Please watch where you step! Butterflies often land and stay on the walkways.
If you sit or stand still, you may attract a butterfly visitor. Sometimes they are drawn to perfumes or sweat; bright tropical shirts sometimes attract butterflies, too. Please do not touch the butterflies or run after one.
There are many beneficial insects inside the butterfly house. It’s maintained organically, so these guys help keep our pest population in check!
When you exit the butterfly house on the first floor, make sure there are no stowaways. If you have a butterfly on yourself or your clothing, simply step back into the butterfly house and gently brush or shake your clothing.
The stars of the show: a little more about our butterflies
We have hundreds of free-flying butterflies inside our butterfly house each day. Species change with each shipment; we have general lists with photos inside the butterfly house to help you ID them.
Butterflies are live animals and will react differently depending on the weather and the time of day. They roost close to sunset and on cool, cloudy days. Higher heat and humidity encourages butterflies to be more active. Individual species also act differently; owl butterflies are crepuscular (meaning they are active around sunrise and sunset). They are great butterflies to photograph during the day ebcause they sit still on tree trunks.
We receive butterflies in their pupal (chrysalis) form. They’re easier to ship that way, and we are then able to display them inside the butterfly house. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch one emerging.
We have public talks as we release butterflies from the emergence chamber. Join us daily at noon (time subject to change).
Our favorite butterfly is the zebra longwing. This amazing insect can metabolize pollen, giving it a protein boost. It lives for several months, much longer than an average butterfly.
Where are all the caterpillars? Due to USDA regulations, we cannot breed our tropical butterflies. Therefore, we are careful not to place any host plants that would feed caterpillars in the house. Go outside to our native butterfly garden to see a caterpillar nursery in work! Depending on the season, you might find several species of native butterflies.
Come early (we open at 10 am) or on a cloudy day. Butterflies will not be as active, and you can get some good shots of them on leaves or flowers.
Try to visit on a less crowded day, like a weekday or as we open our doors. You’ll be able to bring a tripod without worrying about crowds.
Take photos facing the front of the butterfly, rather than shooting from the back to the front. A side view can change things up, too. Try to focus on the proboscis or eyes. It makes the butterfly jump out at you in the photo!
Be patient. Look for a nice background, and try to wait for a butterfly to land in the right spot. You just might luck out and get that perfect picture!