Scottsdale is poised for a new, destination attraction as Butterfly Wonderland, the largest butterfly pavilion in America, readies for its May 2013 “emergence.” Spanning a 5-acre parcel of land, this state-of-the art new facility, located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, will entertain and enchant as it educates visitors of all ages on the wonders of one of Mother Nature’s most beloved creatures. It will feature a magnificent glass atrium that brings a tropical rainforest environment to the Arizona desert, as well as educational laboratories and interactive exhibits, a 3D movie theater, gift shop, and a café-style dining area. Butterfly Wonderland is the first phase of a planned “Odysea in the Desert,” 522,000 sq. ft. entertainment complex that will eventually include the largest aquarium in the southwest, an IMAX theatre and a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.
In an era in which children and adults alike increasingly turn to the virtual world for entertainment and education, Butterfly Wonderland will provide an opportunity to reconnect with the natural world and learn about its splendors in a tangible and engaging way. The self-guided tour will begin with a 3D theater experience, followed by a Chrysalis Lab. Visitors then will be welcomed into a magnificent, lush, rainforest atrium where thousands of butterflies from around the world will fly freely, alighting on fragrant flowering plants – from sweet almond verbena to plumeria, and, quite possibly, on a friendly visitor’s shoulder or finger. From the atrium, visitors will continue on to several interactive exhibits about other natural wonders, from honey bees to aquatic life. The interactive nature of the exhibits means that no two visits will be the same.
“Our facility is more than a museum; it is a living, sensory experience,” said Curator, Dana Cooper. “The Scottsdale setting is a dramatic choice, as it juxtaposes two distinct eco-systems, allowing visitors to step from the arid Arizona desert directly into a tropical rainforest environment.”
The Butterfly Wonderland facility includes:
This dramatic, glass-enclosed atrium is home to thousands of butterflies from the far reaches of the world in a carefully controlled rainforest environment that is meticulously maintained by Curator Dana Cooper. The Conservatory will create opportunities for visitors and butterflies to interact, including providing nectar sticks to children to encourage butterflies to alight on their fingers. More than a traditional viewing facility, the Conservatory is lush and tropical with waterfalls and colorful plants and trees. A large Koi pond will also house colorful species of fish.
With stadium seating for 196, this is the setting for the specially edited version of the 3-D feature film, the “Flight of the Butterflies,” that introduces visitors to the fascinating life of butterflies.
Butterfly Emergence Gallery
After leaving the theater, guests move into the chrysalis viewing area, where they will observe the most dynamic stage of a butterfly metamorphosis.
Rivers of the Amazon
Large freshwater aquariums will house will house creatures from the Amazon and other habitats. Through 10-foot picture windows, guests will view everything from stingrays and eels to piranha and exotic fish.
Live Ant Colony
An engaging live ant colony will encompass distinct habitats which allow guests to follow the ants to different environments. Acrylic cases allow 360-degree viewing.
Honey Bee Extravaganza
This intricate exhibit features a series of beehives, protected by glass, that allow each visitor an unimpeded view as the bees produce honey and go about their daily activities.
This appealing gift shop is stocked with memorable keepsakes ranging from books and videos, to an assortment of tee shirts, butterfly art and rainforest merchandise.
Available for birthday parties, private events, and small receptions, this space can accommodate 30 to 40 people.
The café offers indoor and outdoor patio seating. Visitors will continue to be engaged throughout their dining experience through viewing monitors presenting information about butterflies and a stunning art exhibit.
The Butterfly Wonderland is located on the NE corner of the 101 Freeway and Via de Ventura in Scottsdale, Arizona, within the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. There is a Native American saying: If you whisper a wish, the butterfly will carry it to heaven and your wish will come true. It is a particular point of pride, then, for the location of the Butterfly Wonderland within the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, where reverence for the natural world is so integral to the culture.
Hours of Operation
The facility will be open 9am-5pm daily with seasonal promotions throughout the year. The entrance fee is $18.95 per adult, $9.95 per child and $16.95 for students and seniors and Group Rates are also available. Annual Passes can be purchased for adults at the cost of $39 and $25 for children; which includes a 15% discount in Butterfly Treasures gift shop. Founder’s Lifetime Memberships are available for a limited time. Cameras are welcome.