Festival of Butterflies: Midwest to Mexico
July 24 – August 9, 2020 | 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day
Festival Admission Applies | Members Receive Free Admission
Experience the world of our favorite pollinator at the annual Festival of Butterflies at Powell Gardens. The vibrant colors of over a thousand free-flying butterflies and moths will populate our glass-walled conservatory, where a mesmerizing fountain pool will be surrounded with tropical plants that are native to the natural habitats of these exotic pollinators. Witness metamorphosis from chrysalis to butterfly and cocoon to moth as each newly-winged wonder takes flight for the very first time.
Next you are invited to embark on the outdoor trail that traces the northward migratory path of the monarch butterfly. Your journey begins in our Seed to Plate greenhouse, which will be transformed into a facsimile of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán, Mexico, a World Heritage Site where monarch butterflies spend the winter months. Approximately 200 million butterflies cover the trees, creating a captivating landscape of fluttering wings. You will continue following the trail through stops that feature nectar and host plants from Texas, then Oklahoma, until you have reached the outdoor habitat where we raise native Missouri butterflies every year.
On this magical migratory trip from the southern hemisphere and through Mexico to the Midwest, you will have opportunities to get up close and personal with many different species. Explore each butterfly’s origins, preferred habitats, and life-cycles while enjoying a variety of festival events in celebration of the summer season.
Peak times are Saturday and Sunday mornings. For a quieter visit, reserve tickets Tuesday-Friday in the afternoon.
Weekends at Festival of Butterflies
Join us Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for extra special events.
Experience a live butterfly release at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sign-up early to stand inside the conservatory, or take it in while standing on the Visitor Center terrace. You may also catch a glimpse of staff horticulturist Brent Tucker processing chrysalises.
Caterpillar Show & Tell entertains at 11:30 a.m. in the Children’s Garden. Powell Gardens staff members will bring friends to share with visitors.
Join horticulturist Eric Perrette for a guided Migratory Tour at 1 p.m. This educational walk leaves from the Seed to Greenhouse (transformed to represent the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacan, Mexico), wanders through the meadow, and ends at the Native Butterfly Tent.
Additional Events During Festival of Butterflies
Friday, July 24 | 6 p.m.–Sunset
We invite you to enjoy longer hours during our Festival of Butterflies, listen to music from our, treat yourself to snacks and a seasonal festival cocktail in the Perennial Lounge, and take in the sunset views in the gardens to celebrate the peak of the summer season.
Saturday, July 25 | 1–4 p.m.
Drop in to view and gently handle caterpillars and butterflies in the native butterfly house. Bring the camera for this great photo opportunity!
Saturday, July 25 & Sunday, July 26 | Noon–4 p.m.
Enjoy the rhythm of live music inspired by the migratory path of the Monarch butterfly. Snacks and libations are available at Refresh or Perennial Lounge to enjoy as you sit, stroll, or dance to the music outside.
Saturday, August 1 & Sunday, August 2
Reserve a farm-to-blanket picnic meal created by Chef Michael Foust. Spread out and find your perfect picnic spot across Powell Gardens’ 175 acres.
Friday, August 7 | 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Join a Powell Gardens docent on a hunt for Powell Gardens’ perfect pollinators. This family-friendly event features a short stroll through our gardens and Native Butterfly Habitat in search of winged wonders. Families will play a pollinator game and get up close with hungry caterpillars. This experience is suited for families with children aged five to twelve. Come prepared with sunscreen. Space is limited, so please register online in advance.
Health & Safety Information During Festival of Butterflies
Powell Gardens will keep safety precautions in place to ensure that guests can have a safe and enjoyable experience by limiting the number of individuals in the Gardens at any given time, encouraging advanced registration, and offering outdoor viewing into the butterfly conservatory for the first time ever. In June, the Gardens implemented a distributed dining model featuring ingredients sourced from the Heartland Harvest Garden, one of the nation’s premiere edible gardens. A full list of safety precautions is available here.
The Festival of Butterflies is made possible with generous support from Renewal by Andersen. Thank you!