Out of the Blue: A Spring Butterfly Exhibit Opens March 12 at Powell Gardens, Kansas City's Botanical Garden

(Powell Gardens, Kingsville, MO)—Escape to a lush rainforest without leaving the Midwest by visiting Powell Gardens’ Out of the Blue Spring Butterfly Exhibit, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily March 12 through April 3. Fluttering about the Gardens’ glass-topped conservatory will be two types of butterflies: blue morpho butterflies and paper kite butterflies.

Plant lovers will enjoy the Gardens’ collection of orchids and other epiphytes, including bromeliads, air plants and more. (Epiphytes are plants that grow on another plant without causing harm.) A variety of ferns, hibiscus, medinilla and lobelia will fill out the tropical display.

About the Butterflies

Blue morphos are found in regions from southern Mexico through South America. The butterflies on exhibit come from El Bosque Nuevo, a sustainable butterfly farm in Costa Rica. The brilliant blue color of the tops of their wings is not actually pigment. Rather it’s caused by light reflecting off the structure of tiny scales on their wings.

Paper kite butterflies are in the same tribe as monarchs but come from tropical Southeast Asia. They are known for their size, graceful flight, and translucent white and black coloration. This is the first time Powell Gardens has exhibited paper kite butterflies. There will also be a separate display of monarch butterflies, courtesy of Monarch Watch in Lawrence, Kan. 

Planning Your Visit

The exhibit includes hands-on learning about butterfly conservation both near and afar and the chance to meet some rainforest creatures during weekend programs:

11 a.m.-2 p.m. March 12-13: Secrets of the Rainforest

Sample foods (both familiar and surprising) with origins in the rainforest, and meet a tarantula and tropical cockroaches.

11 a.m.-2 p.m. March 19-20: Lessons from Nature

Meet a pair of geckos and learn how their feet inspired a fastener that is quicker than a zipper.

Noon-4 p.m. March 19: Kansas City Kite Club

To celebrate the addition of paper kite butterflies at this year’s exhibit, Kansas City Kite Club members will be flying some of their magnificent kites and giving fun educational demonstrations.

11 a.m.-2 p.m. March 26-27: Butterfly Gems of the Midwest

Area Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners will share ways you can lure “flying flowers” to your own garden along with other tips for supporting local butterflies. Note: There is an additional charge for Easter activities taking place 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 26.

2-4 p.m. April 2-3: Rainforest Survival

From camouflage to pheromones, plant and animal survival traits found in the Amazon rainforest are amazing! Learn how the strong survive and see a trio of yellow-banded dart frogs.


The exhibit is included with Garden admission of $10 for adults, $9 for seniors ages 60 and older and $4 for children ages 5-12. Members of Powell Gardens and children ages 4 and younger are free. For more information, visit powellgardens.org/morphos or call (816) 697-2600. (Extra admission applies for Easter activities on Saturday, March 26. See powellgardens.org/Easter for details.)