Sitting atop a hill located directly off of 76 Country Blvd in Branson, Missouri, is a unique, rainforest-themed attraction that presents itself as an ideal place of discovery, adventure, and butterflies! Lots and lots of butterflies!
This attraction is none other than The Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure, home to over 1,500 live butterflies, dozens of unique reptiles, and several memorable adventures available within the Mirror Maze, Science Center, and Banyan Tree Adventure.
We recently sat down with the Assistant Manager of The Butterfly Palace, Glory Amburn, for an interview where she told us all about the wonders of this beloved attraction. Keep reading to learn more!
Glory Amburn Interview:
Tell us a little bit about what you do at The Butterfly Palace!
“I do a little bit of everything. I supervise staff, service guests, and sometimes help tend to butterflies and reptiles. Wherever my help is needed. I’ve been here about six years.”
How long has The Butterfly Palace been in Branson, Missouri?
“We built this facility in 2006. Prior to that, The Butterfly Palace was still in town. It was over by the Welk Resort in another building and under a different owner.”
Do you do any special events?
“Regular Spring Break business keeps us pretty busy usually on its own, so we spend this time just trying to ensure each guest has a memorable experience. In other times, through the year, we do have special events such as Homeschool Days, Girl Scout Days, and fun things like that.”
What does 2021 look like for The Butterfly Palace?
“We are continuing our normal experiences that add to your visit, like all of our friendly staff, including the “storyteller” – who will go around and share some of the backgrounds behind our exhibits, how they help the rainforest, and why we have the exhibits that we do because they each have a story behind them. We, of course, have had to adjust our traditions in 2020 and 2021, such as making our butterfly releases and critter encounters more of a one-on-one experience rather than done in a crowd. But we are doing our best to adapt, not subtract.”
How many butterflies?
“We keep approximately 1,800 butterflies or more. And usually between 40-60 species.”
How would you describe The Butterfly Palace to someone who had never been before?
“Some visitors call us a museum; some would say more of a zoo. I say it’s a little bit of both as we are an educational attraction that houses live animals. We have five different exhibits. Our Banyan Tree Adventure has just gotten a new look. So, we’ve got the Banyan Maze, which is like weaving through the tangled Banyan forest, and it’s born from the idea of our owner who went to the rainforest to Butterfly Farms and got lost! We have a Mirror Maze, which is like going through an endless rainforest. We keep it dark so it looks like it’s under a rainforest canopy which can be so thick it blocks out the sun. People get lost in there, and it’s just a really fun family experience! The Exotic Butterfly Aviary, of course, with all of our live butterflies where they can come and land on you, and you can feed them, so it’s really interactive. Then our reptiles and amphibians in the Living Rainforest Science Center, where we have lizards, turtles, frogs, things that would share a home with butterflies in the wild. And, finally, the Rainforest Theater, where we show a bit of the monarch’s migration in a 15-minute film. It’s a full, immersive rainforest experience!”
Precautions in regard to Covid-19?
“We require masks covering the nose and mouth for anyone 6 years of age or older. We’re pretty adamant about following CDC recommendations. We do our best to ensure social distancing and ensure extra sanitation to our regular cleaning. The butterfly room is set up so people can follow a natural path, which they can go around as many times as they want, but we have them going one way so that they’re able to social distance and people can feel safe to come and explore. We set a lower capacity just to allow people the ability to social distance. We mostly reach capacity on the days that we are super busy, usually on weekends during the middle of the day. When that happens, we end up taking a waiting list. No one usually waits more than 15 minutes to get in. As families leave, we just send more families in; that way, we can keep enough space for everyone to explore.”
What’s the best way to get tickets?
“At our front desk when they arrive is a great option. They can also get their tickets online, though it won’t reserve them a spot. It’s still first-come, first-serve as far as building capacity.”
Tell us about the groups you welcome to the attraction.
“A lot of them are field trips, church groups, and bus tours. Because of Covid-19, we are limiting it to a 50 person max in those groups. Usually, we can accommodate even larger groups, but right now, we’ve lowered it a bit. This way, we can allow space to social distance the group from regular guests. For these scheduled groups, we do guided tours where a guide leads them through each exhibit or level and does a private butterfly release for them. Scheduled groups also get a critter encounter where a guide will get out a reptile for the group to see up close, as well as giving guests time to explore and receive added education by asking our staff questions.”
Tell us about your attraction passes.
“All of our wristbands are good for 3 days, so it’s just our one-day admission price, and then we just tacked on two bonus days. They don’t have to utilize them, but many do to see things they may have missed the first time. Some just want to do it all over again. As long as guests leave their wristband on (they’re the durable plastic kind), then they can leave and come back as much as they like the day they buy them and the two following days.”
What’s the most popular section of the attraction?
“It does depend on the person. A lot of kids love the mazes. There’s a little virtual videogame when you get out of the mirror maze that they love. I’d have to say the resounding answer is the butterflies. People just love that experience. It’s funny because they’ll get totally different experiences on the same day. No matter how busy it is, you’ll have some people describe it as exciting and fun, and then you have other people who say it’s so serene and calm. Depending on what someone is looking for, they usually find it in there.
A lot of people come to commemorate birthdays and memorials. A lot of people have special significance to butterflies, so we try to do a special release for those that come to memorialize someone.”
What has been the overall reception from guests who come to visit The Butterfly Palace?
“Generally, people just tend to love The Butterfly Palace as it’s great for all ages! I have a lot of people that I love to see who come back year after year. Several say they came their first year in town and now they come back every year, it’s their tradition. I love hearing little kids say this is what they picked for their birthday when there are so many choices in Branson. It almost feels like it becomes a staple of the family vacation, so it’s fun for us to get so much good feedback. Many people say it’s the best butterfly house they’ve been to either because of the size or that they get to feed butterflies (because we are one of the only ones I know of that do the nectar flowers where you can hand-feed the butterflies.) A lot of people love the three days where they can keep on coming back between shows or come indoors when it starts to rain.”
Tell us more about ways you can donate, volunteer, or get involved through The Butterfly Palace.
“ We are technically considered a ‘For Profit’ business, though every ticket is contributing to the rainforest and its populations through the purchase of pupae from the butterfly farms. But we are partnered with a 501 3(c) Non-profit called Friends of Butterflies and the Rainforest Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to contribute to rainforests all over the world by growing butterfly populations in the rainforest, which, in turn, provides a sustainable economy for the indigenous people who call it home there, as well as support the sustainability of the forest itself. People, of course, can donate through the non-profit or inquire about volunteer opportunities. Any questions about the non-profit can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
For more information on Branson, Missouri Shows, Attractions & more, give us a call at (866) 876-4339 and ask how to secure the best tickets at the lowest prices! Find out more about Branson Travel Packages on our site here.