Festival of Butterflies: Midwest to Mexico
July 24 – August 9, 2020 | Daily, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
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 Monday-Friday in the afternoon.
Safety Precautions at Festival of Butterflies: Midwest to Mexico
We are looking forward to hosting Festival of Butterflies: Midwest to Mexico at Powell Gardens. We realize this is a difficult time for many and are thankful to be uniquely positioned to provide outdoor entertainment throughout each season.
- Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. This provides a contactless check-in experience and allows us to regulate the number of visitors in the Gardens at any given time.
- Per the Johnson County, MO face covering mandate, masks will be required to enter the Gardens. Masks must be worn indoors and on the Visitor Center Terrace. Additional mask zones are marked with signs to ensure staff and visitor safety. In the rest of the Gardens, masks are not required as long as social distance is maintained.
- All paths and areas of the Gardens will be open to allow visitors to roam across 175-acres. Buildings will open in a limited capacity.
- The glass-walled Martha Jane Phillips Star Butterfly Conservatory will be with a strict capacity limit in order to facilitate social distancing. Masks will be required for all visitors who enter the conservatory, except for young children under five years old accompanied by a responsible adult. The conservatory display will also be viewable from the Visitor Center Terrace for those who do not wish to enter or who cannot wear masks.
- Hours will be limited to 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. to ensure our custodial staff can maintain increased sanitation procedures.
- Hand sanitation stations will be positioned throughout the Gardens.
- Visitors are encouraged to follow CDC recommendations and practice social distancing. Building capacity will be limited to ensure that social distancing is possible.
BUTTERFLY RELEASE UPDATE: A favorite tradition within the Festival of Butterflies is the release of newly-emerged winged pollinators in the Martha Jane Phillips Starr Butterfly Conservatory. In order to safely provide the best experience for the largest number of visitors, this year, visitors will not be able to reserve a spot in the conservatory for the release. COVID-19 has caused supply chain delays for butterflies, so releases are unpredictable this year. The release will broadcast in the Grand Hall, viewable from the Visitor Center Terrace, and live-streamed on Facebook Live as butterflies mature.
For updates, follow us on social media @powellgardens.
Special Weekend Events
Join us Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for extra special events.
Join horticulturist Eric Perrette for a guided Migratory Tour at 10:45 a.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.
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.
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, treat yourself to snacks and beverages 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 | 10 a.m. – 5 – p.m.
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.
Reserve your picnic basket here. Pickup your basket onsite in the Perennial Lounge.
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.
The Festival of Butterflies is made possible with generous support from Renewal by Andersen. Thank you!