More than 25 varieties of Missouri native butterflies will again provide a spectacular, memorable and educational experience for visitors of all ages at the Friends of the Garden-operated Dr. Bill Roston Butterfly House at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park.
One of Springfield’s most popular summer attractions, the Butterfly House will open to the public on Saturday, May 14. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, and from 5 p.m. until dusk every Tuesday and Wednesday through September 30. There is no admission fee, but donations for operational expenses are appreciated.
The Butterfly House was built with donated funds and constructed with volunteer labor three years ago and last year attracted more than 15,000 people. In this fourth season, coordinator Scott Cunningham expects that number to increase to 20,000.
Volunteer docents, recruited and trained by Cunningham, narrate the fascinating story of the winged insects that are sometimes called “flying flowers.” The tour includes a demonstration of the life cycle of eggs, larvae, chrysalises and adults and a display of host and nectar plants. “It’s a rewarding and fun warm-weather volunteer activity,” says Cunningham. He urges you to contact him at 417.860.8272 if you would like to be trained to be a docent at the Butterfly House.
The nearby Butterfly Gardens, colorful flowering beds, a whimsical bronze Butterfly Girl created by sculptor James Hall and the innovative butterfly-shaped floral mascot garden, nicknamed “Windrider,” are part of the Butterfly House experience. The Butterfly Festival, the annual celebration of everything butterfly-related, will be held July 16-17.
Friends of the Garden members design, create and maintain many of the more than two dozen botanical gardens that dot the countryside of the 114-acre public park and arboretum, located at 2400 Scenic Ave. in southwest Springfield.
Tax-deductible $25 annual memberships and contributions to the Friends of the Garden Growth and Maintenance Fund can be sent to P.O. Box 8566, Springfield, MO 65801. The web site is FriendsoftheGarden.org.