Let’s Explore: National Butterfly Center

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Hey RGV Moms, quarantine may have us all going a little crazy, but we know that outdoor spaces are good for our kids and good for our souls! We’re adding more and adventures to our “Let’s Explore” series and highlighting some great spots in the RGV to visit with your kiddos. Today’s stop: the National Butterfly Center in Mission.

National Butterfly Center

RGVMB Directory Listing

Location: 3333 Butterfly Park Drive, Mission, TX

Phone: (956) 583-5400

Hours: Open Every Day except Easter Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cost: $5/adult and $2.50/child ages 5-12; kids 3 and under are free. (These prices are for local residents of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy counties). Group rates are available for parties with over 10 people.

Time Needed: 1-2 hours

Website: www.nationalbutterflycenter.org

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/natbutterflies

Let’s Explore!

The National Butterfly Center is an ideal place to show your kids something unique about the RGV: we’re on the monarch butterfly migration route!  Monarch butterflies make a two-way migration each year, which means they fly from their summer homes across the U.S. and Canada to their winter homes in Michoacan, Mexico and then back, passing through the RGV twice each year (usually in March and October).

Before you even get into the Visitor’s Center, there’s a beautiful little reflecting pool and butterfly garden. The butterflies are attracted to certain flowering plants, and the National Butterfly Center has them in abundance! It is home to over 200 species of butterflies.

The Visitor’s Center has a small gift shop and an area with display cases and information about wildlife that is native to South Texas. Exit out the back door of the Visitor’s Center and you can explore the gardens. It’s amazing to see the butterflies en masse when you visit during the migration season.

There are two ways to get to the Pavilion area. You can take the Hackberry trail, which is a straight shot, or there is a side trail that meanders a little more and has a few fun little stops along the way. My kids love the caterpillar made out of tires!

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You should also be on the lookout for wildlife. The last time we went, we saw a marine toad, chachalacas, green jays, and butterflies in every stage from caterpillar to cocoon!

Once you make it to the Pavilion, you can take a break or explore the trails a little more. The Texas Butterfly Festival is a great time to visit, as there are lots of fun activities for the kids! Hopefully, the festival will return in 2021!

For more information about the National Butterfly Center, make sure to check out their website.

Insider Tips:

  • Make sure to wear good tennis shoes!
  • Bring water, sunscreen, and bug spray (bug spray is a MUST!)
  • The paths are friendly for a sturdy stroller.
  • There’s plenty of shade, so plan your visit around your schedule!

RGV Moms, get out there and explore all that the Valley has to offer! Check out the “Outdoor Play” section of our Directory for more information and ideas!

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Christy Swaringen
Raised in North Carolina, Christy loves sweet tea (think watery syrup), lightning bugs, and fall leaves. After ten years in South Texas, she now considers herself “from the Valley,” and can’t seem to get enough of mango raspas, afternoons by the pool and, of course, botanas. Her family has ridden the roller coaster that is foster and adoptive parenting for the last seven years and they are much the better for it. Christy loves doing life with her husband, Caleb, and their three kids. Nate (10) is a master storyteller, Kamila (7) is a curious fireball, and Eli (4) is always close on everyone's heels.

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