Experiencing the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House
The Butterfly House - Chesterfield Missouri - Before you get insideClick thumbnail to view full-size
Going to the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House
I will never forget the first time I went to the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly house in Chesterfield, Missouri. I was so excited, as I am a butterfly lover at heart. I had my younger son with me at the time, and we didn't know what to expect. I was totally hooked. Since then I have been back a few times as I am able to go there. I would highly recommend going there if you can ever go.
Something to keep in mind when going to this butterfly house, is that there are many other things to do here as well. Right in the immediate vicinity is a St. Louis Carousel, and Faust Park which houses many historical little buildings, etc. There is a park for children as well. You can almost always see ducks and often their little ducklings around the pond. There are even walking trails not too far, if you like to walk along paths and enjoy nature and wildflowers.
Upon going into the entrance of the butterfly house, you will see a large "caterpillar" that children can climb on and even climb into! It is so much fun. In and around the butterfly house are several garden areas with local plants and flowers that attract the butterflies from the area. So inside, you can see butterflies from around the world, and outside you can see butterflies that frequent the Midwest United States.
The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly house, while a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden is a little distance from there. I have done both in one day however, and it just depends on how much time you want to spend at each. If you have the time, I highly recommend setting plenty of time aside for each place. Each one is absolutely amazing to visit, and totally different in so many ways. Missouri Botanical Garden is located deeper into St. Louis proper, while Chesterfield is out a little bit from there.
See Various ButterfliesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Beautiful butterflies and plants
Once Inside the Building
Once you get your tickets and go inside, there are a few choices of what to do. There is a movie that plays twice an hour, I believe. There is a little theater and places to go and sit and learn more about these butterflies. It is a really neat little film and it can help your appreciation for these lovely little creatures, all the more.
Watching the movie helps you to understand all the parts of the butterfly as well as learn some of their behavior which you will likely soon observe up close and personal. It does speak about butterflies in general and around the world.
You will also see many exhibits of different kinds of bugs as well. If you are remotely interested in stick bugs, praying mantises, and beetles of all kinds and more, you will love this area! It is absolutely amazing and so interesting.
There is a large map of the world, with real butterflies on a display behind glass, so you can see where the different butterflies come from. It is very interesting to note, that many of the ones with the brightest colors, come from places that have tropical rain forests, and not so much the places like North America. It does give an appreciation all the more for any butterflies you might encounter.
There are all kinds of things to learn from, especially for children, but for adults as well. There was some literature there that inspired me to grow my own butterfly garden long ago. I did that, and it was and is still a success and I couldn't be more happy with the results. Now if I just had more time to dedicate to panting more annuals every year!
There of course is a gift shop, and it is truly lovely. Madame Butterfly gift shop has something for just about everyone.
If you walk straight through, past the class room and activity area even, there are two sets of double doors that take you back outside to a different garden area. Since this place is closely associated with Missouri Botanical Garden, you can bet their master gardeners know how to create a very amazing butterfly garden for the local butterflies. There is a winding walkway that I could spend a lot of time in! You will see some local butterflies, but also a lot of dragon flies and bees, moths, etc. It is one of my favorite parts of the butterfly house. There you can see an area sometimes used for weddings and receptions, etc. It would be so amazing for such an occasion.
Some of the Tropical Flowers Inside the Conservatory
Inside the Actual Butterfly House
There is a flier you can get for free, that shows many of the butterflies you can encounter once inside. There is someone to help explain things right before you go in, that some people may not know. Things like, don't touch the butterflies, but it is ok if they land on you. If you were to touch their wings, it can remove some of their scales which is their coloring and way to identify each other, etc. To watch where you walk, as they can be on the path right beneath your feet, etc.
I have to say, that just recalling this part of the butterfly house makes me feel so happy. I smile so big just remembering it. Almost immediately you will see butterflies flying around, from big blue morphos to owl butterflies, to common sailors to the scarlet mormon, etc. Imagine a place that transports you back to a tropical rainforest setting. The climate is such that it mimics that, so they do have a coat closet to hang your coat, because it is warm and humid.
In this environment, the plant life is just as amazing almost as the butterflies themselves. The flowers and foliage is amazing, and I will share some photos of those things as well. There are a couple different meandering paths inside, and you can find benches throughout as well if you care to rest some.
I can't tell you enough, just how much I love to go to places like this and to experience the beauty all around is something to remember for a very long time.
Owl Butterfly Picture
Before You Exit the Conservatory
There is so much to see inside, even though it doesn't seem all that huge from the outside. One thing you don't want to miss before you exit, is the place where the butterflies are coming out of their cocoons. They emerge and you can see them pumping blood through their wings. They are released after their wings are fully "dried", into a place that mimics their home, minus the predators. So they can live sometimes a bit longer than they normally could, and mate, and eat and drink to their hearts content.
The life span is relatively short no matter where they are, and this is one thing that is hard to learn. It is just about two weeks or so. Sometimes, I have seen a very beautiful butterfly there, that was near what seemed the end.
You can see some finding nectar or fruit that is set out for them. The temperature is perfect for them to fly in.
If I can encourage you at all to go, I highly recommend it. Even if heat is an issue for you, you can come out and then go back and cool off in between. The flowers alone are gorgeous and also very interesting. It is a trip you will never forget.
If you are a fair distance from this particular butterfly house, I would consider looking up one in your own area, or where you may be traveling to. There are many conservatories in the United States I know, that have butterflies included, or have them sometimes at certain times of the year.
If you want to make sure you saw all the photos, you can opt for the slideshow version of seeing them. Double click on a photo, and it should take you there.
Tropical Butterflies and Flowers
Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House Map - In Faust Park
Blue Morpho Butterfly by a Waterfall
Butterfly House or Conservatory - Poll
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© 2014 Paula
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