A Butterfly House

The Dr. Bill Roston Butterfly House in Springfield, Missouri,
allows visitors to see, touch, and learn about more than 25 varieties of Missouri's beautiful native butterflies.
      This more-than-colorful attraction draws thousands of visitors annually, allowing them to see live and lively all four stages of butterfly life from egg, to larva, to chrysalis, to the free-flying adult butterfly.
      In addition, by providing many of the foliage plants that feed the caterpillars and the nectar plants that nourish the adult butterflies, the Butterfly House is in itself a garden. Here, for example, a Tithonia, or Mexican Sunflower, provides nectar to a lovely Monarch butterfly.
      Created and staffed entirely by Friends of the Garden volunteers, the Butterfly House is funded solely by donations. Located in the Springfield Botanical Gardens at 2400 South Scenic in Springfield, it's open to the public seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from May through September.
Admission is free to all. Donations are, however, most deeply appreciated.
      The following is our own personal view of this wonderful attraction from its beginnings up till today.

      Note: The Butterfly House is also the site of the summer's annual Butterfly Festival, a big-fun event you can take a peek at here.


It all began with this gentleman, Dr. Bill Roston, when he first envisioned having a real Butterfly House in the Springfield Botanical Gardens. Then, in 2009, Dr. Bill and fellow members of the Friends of the Garden, the group of volunteers that create, maintain and improve nearly all of the gardens, set to work.

Digging In

Dr. Stan Horsch, another major contributor to the from-the-ground-up building of the House, took on whatever tasks were needed.

Taking Shape

Stan checked the anchoring of the outer structure as the House began to take shape.

A Good Sign
A good, rustic sign is the capper.

Ready to Open

In late May of 2009, its first year, the Butterfly House was ready for its very first visitors.

The First Visitors

Build it and they will come. They built it, the people came. These are the very first people to experience the House.

The Plants

The crucial ingredients for any Butterfly House include the plants that will provide caterpillars leafy food and those that will provide the butterflies nectar. These are the first plantings.


Butterflies must also have water to survive, and this small water feature in the corner fills the bill. The bowl in front of the pool is a "puddling pot", or "puddler", which mixes sand and water to provide butterflies mineral nutrients not provided by nectar.

The Puddler

A closer look at the Butterfly House's first puddling pot, or puddler. As you can see, if you want to be hospitable to the butterflies in your own garden, you can easily make your own.

The Monarch

The Monarch is one of the House's most beloved denizens. Here a beautiful specimen feeds on a beautiful Tithonia (Tithonia rotundifolia, also known as Mexican Sunflower) blossom

Zebra Swallowtail

One of Missouri's most beautiful butterflies, the Zebra Swallowtail can have a wingspan of more than 4 inches. Its long, black tails qualify it as a "kite" butterfly. It's said that the Zebra rarely ventures far from the location of the only plant on which its caterpillar feeds, the PawPaw.

A Lesson

In a shady spot outside the House, Bill gives an inquisitive young butterfly-lover a good look at--Holy Swallowtail!--a whole box of caterpillars.

Who's Afraid?

Clearly not this little girl. She's making friends with a caterpillar.

The Children

Children love the Butterfly House: an experience.

A Floral Companion

Outside of the Butterfly House is a floral garden design poetically titled "Windrider."

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