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Saturday, January 20, 2018

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Texas Discovery Gardens presents the grand opening of the Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium
Melissa Anne Martin

August, 2009

Soon-to-Open Butterfly House & Insectarium Brings the Rainforest Home to Dallas, Texas
 Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park is proud to announce the opening of a year-round tropical butterfly house that will showcase butterflies, bugs and botany.   Opening Sept. 12, 2009, the newly remodeled Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium will house the only year-round tropical butterfly house in North Central Texas. The two-story conservatory will showcase up to 500 species of free-flying butterflies, as well as aquatic and other interesting insects.  The butterfly house will open its doors with a diversity of butterflies native to Texas, including the striking zebra longwing that is featured on the logo. By January 2010, tropical butterflies will be phased in, including the popular blue morpho and malachites.  

Tropical plants going into the butterfly house include palms, gingers, bromeliads, and many species of nectar plants. Highlights for trees include the Autograph Tree and Jamaican Rain Tree. The plants will be organically maintained, in keeping with the Texas Discovery Gardens mission.

 As part of the renovations, we will also open our new EarthKeepers® Children’s Classroom to expand young minds through hands-on scientific observation.  Texas Discovery Gardens is one of the oldest botanical institutions in Texas and is the first public garden in Texas to be certified organic. Our mission continues to grow with the addition of our organically-maintained butterfly house. Vision and Generosity… The Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium is funded in part by the Rosine Foundation Fund of Communities Foundation of Texas. Through the vision and generosity of Mrs. Sammons' daughter, Mary Anne Cree, a three million dollar lead gift was made in honor of her mother's love of butterflies and nature. The City of Dallas has supported the mission of Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park by awarding $4.7 million in bond funds to this project. We’d also like to give a big thanks to our wonderful sponsors for Grand Opening events, including Calloway’s Nursery, Half Price Books, Preservation Tree Services, Starbucks and WRR 101.1 FM. Quick Facts about the Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium The Logo
  • The butterfly house logo was designed by Lynna Bartosh, a student at the Art Institute of Dallas. Texas Discovery Gardens worked in conjunction with the student-run Design Development Team in the spring of 2009. Each student made a design for the logo, and Lynna’s was picked as the winner.
 The Zebra Longwing
  • The logo features zebra longwing butterflies because of their connection with native and tropical butterflies. These black and white butterflies are native to Mexico and south Texas, although a few occasionally make their way as far north as Dallas.
  • Zebra longwings live longer than most butterflies. They survive up to several months by eating protein-rich pollen. Special enzymes in their proboscis, or tongue, allow them to digest it.
  • The host plant for zebra longwings is passion vine, which we feature in our native butterfly garden. To get a close-up view of the entire lifecycle of the zebra longwing, visit our butterfly house and enjoy the two-story mural depicting each stage.
 The butterflies
  • We are waiting on the completion of the permit process to hold tropical butterflies like the blue morpho. We will kick of our exhibit in September with colorful native butterflies like the monarch, queen, swallowtails, and zebra longwings.
  • Tropical butterflies will be shipped to us each week as pupae. Because they are livestock from outside of the United States, they must be regulated by the USDA.
  • We get shipments of butterflies from family-owned farms in North, Central and South America, as well as Asia.
  • For more than twenty years, butterfly farmers and ranchers around the world have been breeding butterflies and exporting them to butterfly houses.  Butterfly farming has become an industry, and in doing so, it has created an incentive to tropical breeders to preserve the rainforest.  While promoting conservation, butterfly farming may also be boosting wild populations of tropical butterflies in their native lands.
  • Visitors will see butterflies emerge from their chrysalides with our emergence chambers.
  • New butterfly species are shipped weekly. There will always be a rotating array of butterflies. 
 Opening Weekend
  • The weekend begins at 9:45 am Saturday, Sept. 12, when WFAA’s Gloria Campos will lead a ribbon cutting.
  • Timed tickets to the Butterfly House will be sold Saturday and Sunday until 4:30 pm.
  • Children’s crafts by the Junior League of Dallas will keep kids entertained all weekend.
  • James French photography will be on hand to help families commemorate the occasion. Prints are $20, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Texas Discovery Gardens’ EarthKeepers® Children’s Education Program.
  • Local musicians, dancers and singers will perform all weekend. Highlights include the Lake Highlands Wildcat Wranglers, butterfly balloons made by John Rainone, and more.


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