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“Come for the Texas Butterfly Festival!!!”

National Butterfly Center
Ranked #2 of 11 things to do in Mission
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The National Butterfly Center is the pilot project of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA), a nonprofit organization committed to environmental conservation and education. It is located in Mission, Texas, because the Rio Grande Valley is home to the greatest volume and variety of butterflies species in the United States. Just 10 years ago, this 100-acre parcel of land along the banks of the Rio Grande River was a commercial onion field. Today, it is the largest botanical garden in the United States focused on propagating native plants for pollinators in formal gardens and wildscapes. This nature preserve contains a Hackberry Forest and several species of endangered plants and animals. Expect season variations and changes subject to rainfall, temperatures, etc. THE NATIONAL BUTTERFLY CENTER IS NOT A BUTTERFLY HOUSE. All wildlife found in the NABA Section of the Lower Rio Grande Wildlife Conservation Area, which includes a National Wildlife Refuge tract and Bentsen-RGV State Park, is free-roaming. The National Butterfly Center features walking trails and two birding areas, as well as a photography blind. Our butterfly and bird lists may be found on our website. PLEASE NOTE: Butterflies prefer sunny days, with temperatures above 70 degrees, so days like this are the best for enjoying the wild, free-flying butterflies. The peak of butterfly season normally occurs in late October/early November, and may continue until the first prolonged cold snap. To see what's happening now, check our Facebook page for photos, programs, and other announcements, or look under the tab 'IN THE NEWS' on our website. Handicapped parking available, with many accessible areas.
Reviewed November 10, 2013

While the building for the National Butterfly Center is only three years young, the commitment to showing off God's Creation and the leadership provided for the annual Texas Butterfly Festival are in a word, outstanding!

Having just returned from the Festival last week, www.texasbutterflyfestival.com, I was impressed by Marianna's organizational skills as the Center's staff provided a great selection of field trips that traversed the Rio Grande Valley. Each trip was led by one or more of the country's most widely recognized naturalists who not only were there to identify and explain the different species of butterflies but to also help us spot the elusive ones.

This year the Butterfly Festival was followed by the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival. While I did not stay for the Birding Festival, I would like to do so in the future. This part of our country is overflowing with beautiful butterflies and birds. Lodging is very affordable and the experience is not to be missed. I highly recommend a visit to the National Butterfly Center...and come in November for the experience of a lifetime: the Texas Butterfly Festival.

4  Thank journeyready
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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56 - 60 of 67 reviews

Reviewed April 15, 2013

The butterfly center is not a butterfly farm. This is a piece of land with native plants to which butterflies are attracted. When you go there you never know how many butterflies you are going to see. The center is also still in a development process with large portions being just waste land. They have a new, bright visitor center though with an interpretive exhibition and a nice gift shop. A part of the area is woodland and in one section several bird feeders were surrounded by green jays, kiskadees, grackles and red shouldered blackbirds. There were also a woodpecker and a squirrel. They have also feeders for the butterflies but on this particular day we saw only a few varieties. Even though the center is far from finished it has a peaceful atmosphere. It is very relaxing to sit and watch the birds or stroll around the plants looking out for butterflies. It is certainly worth a visit. This place supports itself mainly by donations and it is important to back their effort to keep some natural habitat for native animals. The entrance fee is $ 5.

Thank dasreiseteam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marianna W, General Manager at National Butterfly Center, responded to this reviewResponded September 16, 2016

We hope you will continue to visit! It's 2016 now, and we've come a long way...still lots of our 100 acres to work on, but wild and "weedy" is what butterflies like best! Trails, seating, signage and so much more are in place now to enhance visitor experience of this ever-changing landscape.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2013

I don't know anything about butterflies so decided to visit the National Butterfly Center. My first problem was no accessible parking where you must go to pay your fee. Once a spot opened up, even with assistance I was barely able to make it into the Visitor Center with a wheelchair. The staff happily took my money and assured me the trails were accessible for a wheelchair. I had to get back down the unpaved, rocky entrance to the buiding again with assistance and reload my wheelchair before driving to a second location where the butterflies were. Had I known the condition of the "road" I never would have taken my new car down such a rocky unpaved bit of real estate they called a road. Once at the second parking lot there was accessible parking but the trails were totally unpaved, rocky, had tree roots and soft sand and no way I could get along by myself. They had a staff member go with me and we saw a total of five butterflies. The staff member was excellent and knew what they were, but on my own I would not have been able to identify the butterflies. There was an area where birds were feed that had nine varieties of birds while I was there, but nothing out ouf the ordinary and nothing I had not seen elsewhere in the area. I consider this attraction in the development stage (it has potential) and as such felt the fee which was as much as I paid at any attraction in the area was overpriced. I felt I was risking rock chips to my car and possible undercarriage damage with the amount of rocks on the road-a bicycle would have been more appropriate. Birders can see more birds at the nine World Birding sites in the area. My lack of butterfly knowledge no doubt was an impediment as an experienced person would have known what varieties of butterflies they saw. I felt I expended a lot of energy for nothing. If you cannnot walk a long distance without assistance this is not the place for you.

1  Thank Joan W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

I took my group to this spot for the first time last week, and the birding was superb. We searched at all the other typical Rio Grande Valley hotspots for Clay-colored Thrush and got our best looks at two birds here. Also great looks at Green Jay, Altamira Oriole, White-tipped Dove, etc. Nice facility with excellent trails.

1  Thank SteveShunk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2013

Well kept grounds, knowledgeable staff, clean all around: gift shop, restrooms, exhibit hall, pathways, etc. Rare butterflies and many varieties to spot. A bird watcher's MUST stop, especially when the birds migrate south and make a stop at this spot.

1  Thank joeguerra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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