Cockrell Butterfly Center

The Cockrell Butterfly Center and Brown Hall of Entomology has a huge variety of species and serves as a teachable moment for kids and anyone interested in bugs, providing entertainment and education for the entire family. Houston, Texas, has a mild climate where one can see butterflies year-round. This is especially true if one has planted vegetation that attracts them. But where does one go to see exotic butterflies galore from all around the world in one place? The Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Museum of Natural History in Hermann Park is the answer. The address is 5555 Hermann Park Dr., Houston, Texas 77030.

They have taken many family members and friends to that attraction if they were visiting us here in Houston. No matter what the weather is doing outside, inside the Cockrell Butterfly Center, it is always the same. Think tropical rainforest, and you have the idea. The Museum is located on the northern edge of Hermann Park. Hermann Park has so much to offer, including the Houston Zoo, the Japanese Garden, Miller Outdoor Theater, a Rose and Herb Garden, and more. The Cockrell Butterfly Center was an excellent addition to the existing Houston Museum of Natural Science. It opened its doors for the first time in 1994. It consists of a three-story glass enclosure seventy feet in height. The butterfly center provides a walk-through exhibit space where people can commune with free-flying butterflies from all around the world. The humid environment is kept around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If wearing colorful clothing, do not be surprised if a butterfly suddenly decides to alight upon one. Sometimes other people are the first to notice. After all, a butterfly’s slight weight would hardly alert one as to its presence if not in one’s immediate line of sight.

Children and adults alike always seem thrilled to see these colorful winged insects sit for a spell upon one’s shoulders, arms, hands, hair, and other body parts. Seldom does it last long, but many a smile has occurred. If lucky and fast with taking photos, these butterfly landings can sometimes be captured for a long time, visual remembrances of a visit here. Once hatched from their chrysalis state, the butterflies fly freely throughout the ample space. Feeding stations are placed just off the pathways. Tourists can easily see the winged insects taking in sustenance. Bits of fruit or sponges soaked with nutrients are anchored to the ground or even tied and suspended from plant life within the dome. Indigenous, as well as exotic plants that attract butterflies, are incorporated into this unique environment. Getting to see beautiful blooming varieties of plants also adds to the enjoyment of visiting the Cockrell Butterfly Center. If one is inspired to attract butterflies to one’s personal garden, this is one place where one can easily see what works concerning that goal. Be sure to dress appropriately for this warm and humid environment. Plan some time to admire the plantings as well as the fluttering of butterflies. Some of the butterflies have almost transparent wings. Benches are worked into the landscape. This is an exhibit where it pays to slow down and take one’s time for the full enjoyment of what is on display. One could easily spend anywhere from 45 minutes to 1½ hours if desired.

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