The Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium was founded in 2009 by passionate bug enthusiasts eager to bring a butterfly house to Missoula. After completing a very positive business feasibility analysis with Kallima Consultants, founders of the Butterfly Pavilion near Denver, CO and recognized leaders in the industry, we officially incorporated as a 501(c)3 in early 2011. During our first few years, we brought live “bug ambassadors” to community events and festivals to introduce our vision and to educate the Missoula community about arthropods; we conducted insect education programs in schools and for other organized groups (scouts, 4-H, etc.); and we began building the support that would be necessary to move our vision forward. After going through a strategic planning process in 2013, we decided to take our first big step forward.
On June 25, 2015 we proudly opened the Missoula Insectarium in downtown Missoula. With an exhibit area showcasing live arthropod species found throughout the world (as well as right here in Montana), curriculum focusing on pre-school to 8th grade, and public programs geared to all ages (from toddlers to adults and every age in between), the Insectarium furthered our mission by fostering a curiosity for and awareness of “The Little Things That Run The World.”
For more than four years our field trips, exhibits and education programs at the Missoula Insectarium stimulated learning and curiosity through hands-on, interactive experiences with some of our amazing animals – introducing visitors to the incredible world of insects and leaving them with a deep and lasting impression and a desire to learn more. In total, we welcomed over 60,000 visitors and hosted more than 550 classes for field trips.
However, with our lease expiring in August 2019 and no opportunity for renewal or extension, we were faced with a choice: 1) replicate the experience and programs we provided at the Insectarium in a new space; or 2) dare to think bigger.
We’ve obviously chosen option two.
In partnership with the Missoula County Weed District and Extension, we’ve turned our focus toward opening a new, larger facility featuring a tropical butterfly house and more than twice the exhibit space we had at the Insectarium. In short, our new facility will achieve the vision that started our organization more than a decade ago.
Are you as excited as we are? Contact us for more information and consider becoming a partner in this exciting effort.