Butterfly House and Insectarium


Our grounds feature the two-story Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium

The tropical landscape transports you to the native habitats of our exotic butterflies. Stroll through and take in the sights as our butterflies dance around you. Want to learn about the Lepidoptera in the Butterfly House? Scroll down to see pictures of species you might see on your visit!

The Butterfly House in Dallas, TX is open daily 10am-5pm. This is a climate-controlled environment and is warm year-round! Peaceful and fascinating, hundreds of butterflies live here. Make sure to check out our emergence chamber to see chrysalis and what has come out of them that day!

Emergence Chamber

Yes, it's as cool as it sounds! The Emergence chamber is located on the lower level of the Butterfly House. This glass enclosure lets you closely examine butterfly chrysalises and moth cocoons.

You may even get to see some emerge!

Tropical Plants

Massive plants line the walk ways of the butterfly house. This is a wonderful space to experience the diversity of plant life in tropical ecosystems!


Learn About The Types of Butterflies In The Butterfly House!

The Texas Discovery Gardens indoor butterfly house is home to many different types of butterflies. We encourage you to visit and learn about our many different exotic butterflies. Learn how to build a butterfly garden or visit our gardens, and green house.

Why garden for butterflies?

Is there a reason not to? We haven't heard any (good ones). Here are a few reasons you might want to give a Butterfly Habitat a chance.

  • People like butterflies. Butterflies invoke pleasure in most people. Their bright colors and seemingly carefree lives instill a sense of wonder and serenity.

  • Butterflies are important to the environment. They pollinate plants and are the prey of other species.

  • Conservation! The migrating Monarch population is decreasing. Part of the reason is the loss of breeding grounds.

  • You can make a Butterfly Habitat ANYWHERE! Backyard? Yes. Balcony? Yup. Acres and acres of land? Oh yeah!

Where to start

If you need inspiration, drop by Texas Discovery Gardens' Native Butterfly Habitat!

  • For starters you need a garden space. Choose a sunny spot. Butterflies are cold blooded and need warmth from the sun to fly.

  • Research what species are in your area. Texas is home to about 450 species of butterflies. Due to the range of environments, not all species live throughout the state.

  • What's puddling? Male butterflies visit the edges of puddles, streams and ponds for the water and nutrients vital for sexual maturity. Include a water feature such as a muddy-edged pond or bird bath.

  • Now for the ORGANIC plants! Your Butterfly Habitat will need two kinds of plants, nectar plants and host plants. What's the difference?

Click the Boxes below for more information about Host and nectar plants

Nectar Plants

Nectar Plants

These plants have flowers that provide nectar to adult butterflies and other pollinators. The flowers are usually bright and showy. You'll want nectar plants that bloom from February to November. 

Host Plants

Host Plants

These plants are caterpillar food. Female butterflies deposit their eggs on the leaves of a host plant and caterpillars will eat from it until they are ready to form a chrysalis. 

Click the Boxes below for examples of Host and nectar plants

Plant 3-5 of each plant in order to accommodate hungry caterpillars! Some of these host plants also make great nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators.  

  1. Hop Ash (Ptelea trifoliata) for Giant Swallowtail  

  2. Passionvine (Passiflora incarnata, P. lutea) for Gulf Fritillary

  3. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) for Eastern Black Swallowtai

  4. Rue (Ruta graveolens) for Eastern Black Swallowtail and Giant Swallowtail

  5. Milkweed (Asclepias sp.) for Monarch and Queen

  6. Hackberry (Celtis sp.) for Hackberry, Snout, and Tawny Emperor

  7. Pipevine (Aristolochia sp.) for Pipevine Swallowtail

  8. Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) for Buckeye, Phaon Crescentspot

  9. Sennas (Senna sp.) for Giant Cloudless Sulphur, Orange Sulphur, Sleepy Orange

  10. False nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) for Red Admiral, Question Mark, Eastern Comma

  11. False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa) for Dogface butterfly, Silver‐spotted Skipper, Gray Hairstreak

  12. Clammyweed (Polanasia dodecandra) for Great Southern White, Checkered White

1.   LantanaLantana sp.  
2.   Verbena, Verbena sp.
3.   Gregg’s Mist Flower, Eupatorium greggii   
4.   Frostweed, Verbesina virginica
5.   PentasPentas lanceolata  
6.   Autumn SageSalvia greggii  
7.   Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis  
8.   Hummingbird Bush, Anisacanthus quadrifidus
9.   Coral Honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens  
10. Blackfoot Daisy, Melampodium leucanthum  
11. Zinnia, Zinnia sp. (Don't buy double petal varieties. Pollinators can’t access the nectar)
12. Mexican Sunflower, Tithonia rotundifolia

Once your garden is all set up, apply for a butterfly habitat certification.