The Butterfly House

15193 Olive Boulevard

About Us:

Sophia M. Sachs was the widow of Sam Sachs, who founded Sachs Electric Co. and was influential in the development of Chesterfield, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Mrs. Sachs retained her wonder of discovery until her death in May 1999. She shared that beauty with children of all ages through life. This facility is named in honor of her generous spirit.


The Butterfly House is a not-for-profit organization which was established in 1995 to increase awareness of the natural habitat in which butterflies thrive. Officers of the corporation were: Evelyn E. Newman, Lucy Lopata, Linda Penniman, Caroline Loughlin and Charles A. Lowenhaupt. The new facility was built entirely with private funds provided through donations of foundations, corporations, individuals, as well as membership support.

Ground was broken in June of 1997 and construction began on the Butterfly House. The 8,000 square foot Conservatory Garden is sheathed in 646 pieces of glass, each measuring 4' X 6' and weighing approximately 200 pounds. The center vault, soaring 36' high at its apex, is one of five vaults designed to minimize visual (and flight) obstruction. Great care was taken in the design and engineering of the building to assure a natural and safe habitat for the butterflies. An additional 8,000 square feet adjacent to the Conservatory houses a classroom, theater, visitor amenities and gift shop. Christner, Inc., Bannes Consulting and BSI Constructors executed the design, project management and construction.

The Butterfly House opened its doors to the public on September 18, 1998 and provides educational opportunities to a diverse visitorship. In 2000 the outdoor area known as the Butterfly Garden was dedicated. The Butterfly House offers education programs, special events, lectures and, of course, the chance to witness butterflies in two habitats, one native and one tropical.

In July, 2001, the Butterfly House became a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden, a leader in horticultural displays, research and education. The following year, 2002, the second expansion of the facility opened and was designated the "Emerson Lakeside Terrace". This plaza area is the site for many special events, both public and private. The same year, the Butterfly House began participating with Butterfly Conservation Initiative, BFCI, of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the next year it was accredited by the AZA becoming the only dedicated insect facility in this organization.

The historic Faust Family greenhouse structure was renovated in 2007 and began supplying a significant portion of animal food needs, especially nectar for the butterflies. In 2007, the Butterfly House was also recognized by El Bosque Nuevo as providing funding, through purchases of pupae from this sustainable butterfly farming operation in Costa Rica, to purchase more than 16 acres of land for the protected reserve.


Dian B

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017

The Butterfly House was the first location we looked at for our wedding. It was at the top of our price range, but we fell in love with the venue. The gazebo area was gorgeous and the reception area decorated beautifully. The staff was just amazing for the whole day. I forgot to bring a basket for the flower girl, but they found one, made a handle, and let us use it. They helped keep everything on track, calmed my nerves as they fluffed my dress before walking down the aisle, and added extra touches here and there. I was unable able to get center pieces together in time, so they took care of it and had these beautiful butterfly themed pieces on each table, with fresh cut flowers from the garden. They helped move decorations from the ceremony to the reception as the wedding party was getting photos taken. They even found our left over flower petals from the flower girl and sprinkled them on the head table. The little touches just added extra sparkle to our big day. I never expected them to go above and beyond for my wedding. I really can't express how thankful I am for all of there help. They also signed my guestbook, which was a lovely surprise. Also, we did a butterfly release, which was simply amazing. One landed on my dress and I have the most beautiful photo of my husband and I with this butterfly. If you are looking at this venue for your wedding, I highly recommend.

Tamra Reall

Monday, Jan. 1, 2018

What a beautiful and warm way to spend a frigid winter day in St. Louis! We thoroughly enjoyed the 50-70+ species of butterflies, as well as the beautifully arranged and designed garden, educational displays, and additional arthropod exhibits. One of the staff entomologists, Tad Y., was fantastic and answered so many questions for us. He knows his stuff! The butterfly house is in good hands. I highly recommended visiting this place and we will be going back!

Lee Pemberton

Monday, Jan. 8, 2018

We love this butterfly house so many great things to see indoors. There is also a great park and kids play area. There is a nice pond and walking path. Take your kids here for many different activities. They will have fun for hours. Good place to take in nature inside and out. We will be back.

Robert Hoafat

Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018

If you love butterflies and appreciate the marvels of creation, then do not miss the Butterfly House. Just be careful not to step on any. Check out the live insects and gift shop. Enjoy a 15 minuet video that will educate you about butterfly’s. Oh, and don’t forget to ride the carousel.

lois denny

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017

Can we say fun! There is a fee for entrance. The Butterly house has real butterflies flying around and living their lives. Beautiful tropical, climate controlled area that is breathtaking. Enjoy watching the butterflies live their daily lives. Walk around outside in the back garden. Wonderful for children to learn more about nature.