Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House

at the Springfield Botanical Gardens

at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park

An "Up Close and Personal" Look

The Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House lets you get an up-close look at native butterflies as they transform from egg to caterpillar, from caterpillar to chrysalis, and finally from chrysalis to butterfly! Learn about host plants and how to attract butterflies to your home landscape. Interpretive guides will help you find critters and answer your butterfly questions. The Butterfly House is a favorite field trip destination for group tours. The Butterfly House had 15,332 official visitors in 2010 followed by 17,001 in 2011. In 2013, the visitors totalled over 23,000. 2014 ended with over 26,000, a record number of visitors.

Dr. Bill Roston
Only Native Butterfly House

This is the only native butterfly house in Missouri that operates from mid-May through September. We are here dedicated to the conservation of our dwindling number of native butterflies—these are the butterflies you might see in your own gardens. The Butterfly House looks like a greenhouse, but instead of glass it is covered in fine netting that keeps the butterflies inside for your enjoyment. What you will discover in the house is the life cycle of our most common Ozark butterflies. Inside, are thirty types of host plants, on which the female butterfly can lay eggs. You can see the butterflies laying their eggs; you can see the caterpillars emerge and develop into pupa. You may even see the magic moment when the adult butterfly emerges from the pupa. There is literature available to assist you in your education if a volunteer is not there to guide you through.


Summer Hours start Monday, June 1 for the Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House at the Springfield Botanical Gardens, Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave, Springfield, MO. The whole family is welcome from 10 a.m. to dusk weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends! Individual and family admission is free but donations are encouraged to help with the continued operations of the Butterfly House. Plus, guided group tours are available for a reasonable fee, call 417.891.1515 for a reservation. Note- weather conditions can reduce the hours the Butterfly House is open. Any questions please call first. Come visit us, you will be glad you did!

Tram Service

The free tram service will be provided from 1–4:30 pm on weekends, April through October. The tram service will pick up from the main parking lot at the Botanical Center near the east entrance. It will make a basic loop around Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park past many of the gardens and attractions.  The tram is sponsored by the Springfield-Greene County Parks Department.

See also: The Butterfly Garden

Explore a garden of host plants for caterpillars and butterflies! This garden showcases plants to attract an amazing variety of butterflies to the home landscape. Chase a butterfly or two and pick up some ideas to try at home! Butterflies use two different types of plants - those that provide nectar for the adults to eat (nectar plant), and those that provide food for their offspring (host plant).

Dial & Discover

What else can you find in the Butterfly House and Garden? All the gardens and special features in the park are part of a self-guided audio tour. Call 417.213.3016, then enter 46# for the Butterfly House and 47# for the small garden just west of the Butterfly House, and 45# for the Butterfly Garden. There’s no cost except your minutes, try it out!


Photo by Roy Thompson

Butterfly Festival during July of each year.

This free event is a favorite of children and adults and celebrates all things butterfly-related. Children’s activities include crafts and a caterpillar petting zoo. Vendors set up shop selling a variety of plants and garden-related merchandise. A series of classes including butterfly photography and butterfly identification are offered.

Monarch Tagging in September

Volunteer tagging reveals the general movements of the Monarch throughout the western states and allows us to learn about how climate trends and human encroachment affect their migration patterns and populations.

Get Involved

Want to make children smile? You can become a trained volunteer docent! Help visitors gain a better understanding of butterflies, butterfly gardening and the natural habitat in which butterflies thrive. Learn the difference between butterflies & moths and butterfly identification. Volunteer a few hours, one day a week, or one day a month. Schedules are flexible. Contact us for details, call 417.891.1515.

Video by Dr. Chris Barnhart, Butterfly House Curator, October 7, 2014

Dr. Chris Barnhart has been working on a YouTube video collage covering the last month of 2014 operations at the Butterfly House that closed for the 2014 season last Sunday…. Here it is!

Create your own butterfly garden or register your garden as a Monarch Waystation with the Friends of the Garden informative brochures available in the Butterfly House and at the Botanical Center.

pdf  How to Make a Butterfly Garden (1.3 MB)

pdf  Create a Monarch Waystation (314.36 kB)

icon Construction Details for a Native Butterfly House (43 kB)


Species Thriving

Native Butterfly Species Thrive In Local Butterfly House
Missouri State University News, July 1, 2013
Video featuring Dr. Chris Barnhart Part 1
With Grant Bolton & Steven Beach Part 2

An egg brings forth a caterpillar, the caterpillar changes into a chrysalis, and from a chrysalis comes a butterfly. These changes in a butterfly reveal so much about the life cycle and are fascinating for the young and old. Dr. Chris Barnhart, professor of biology at Missouri State University, discusses native butterflies and the Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House.


New Longer Summer Hours:

Saturday & Sunday: 10 am- 6 pm
Weekdays: 10 am - Dusk
Free Tram Saturday & Sunday: 1 pm - 4:30 pm
Open May - September


Want to spend some time enjoying the butterflies in our Butterfly House, while teaching others about these important animals? It’s easy to become a Butterfly House Volunteer Docent, Butterfly Collector or to get involved with Friends of the Garden. For group tours call 417.891-1515. To become a Butterfly House docent contact Lisa Bakerink at butterflies@friendsofthegarden.org.

The Dr. Bill Roston Butterfly House is maintained completely by volunteers. We’re funded only by your private donations. Your investment will help us expand our service to the community.

Mail donations payable to:
Friends of the Garden
PO Box 8566 | Springfield, MO 65801

We’re individuals & families who support the Botanical Center & Gardens in its mission to provide outstanding botanical, horticultural and environmental education opportunities for people of all ages. Anyone with an interest or appreciation in nature who wish to support the progress of the gardens is encouraged to join this non-profit organization Friends of the Garden. As a member, you’re a partner in the future of the these gardens.

Become a Friend of the Garden

icon How to Make a Butterfly Garden (1.3 MB)

Donate to Friends of the Garden

Tax deductible contributions can be made payable to:
  • Friends of the Garden
  • PO Box 8566
  • Springfield, MO 65801

Or make a donation with a major credit card using the secure PayPal payment service.

Become a Friend of the Garden

For Membership Information: CLICK HERE