The Butterfly House is a not-for-profit organization which was established in 1995 to increase awareness of the natural habitat in which butterflies thrive. Officers of the corporation were: Evelyn E. Newman, Lucy Lopata, Linda Penniman, Caroline Loughlin and Charles A. Lowenhaupt. The new facility was built entirely with private funds provided through donations of foundations, corporations, individuals, as well as membership support.
Ground was broken in June of 1997 and construction began on the Butterfly House. The 8,000 square foot Conservatory Garden is sheathed in 646 pieces of glass, each measuring 4' X 6' and weighing approximately 200 pounds. The center vault, soaring 36' high at its apex, is one of five vaults designed to minimize visual (and flight) obstruction. Great care was taken in the design and engineering of the building to assure a natural and safe habitat for the butterflies. An additional 8,000 square feet adjacent to the Conservatory houses a classroom, theater, visitor amenities and gift shop. Christner, Inc., Bannes Consulting and BSI Constructors executed the design, project management and construction.
The Butterfly House opened its doors to the public on September 18, 1998 and provides educational opportunities to a diverse visitorship. In 2000 the outdoor area known as the Butterfly Garden was dedicated. The Butterfly House offers education programs, special events, lectures and, of course, the chance to witness butterflies in two habitats, one native and one tropical.
In July, 2001, the Butterfly House became a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden, a leader in horticultural displays, research and education. The following year, 2002, the second expansion of the facility opened and was designated the "Emerson Lakeside Terrace". This plaza area is the site for many special events, both public and private. That same year, the Butterfly House began participating with Butterfly Conservation Initiative, BFCI, of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). In 2003, the Butterfly House became the first dedicated insect facility to be accredited by the AZA. The extensive accreditation application process takes place every five years.
In 2007, the Butterfly House was recognized by El Bosque Nuevo for providing funding, through purchases of pupae from this sustainable butterfly farming operation in Costa Rica, to purchase more than 16 acres of land for the protected reserve.
Please contact us if you wish to learn more about becoming a volunteer, a member or a donor, about educational opportunities, and any other questions about visiting by calling (314)577-0888 or checking out this website.