Texas Discovery Gardens

In keeping with our “staying out of the Texas heat” theme, we decided to seek out something pretty.

Within Fair Park is the beautiful Texas Discovery Gardens.  If you enjoy watching butterflies fluttering from flower to flower, this will be up your alley.  Just follow the signs once you turn into Gate #6.

Texas Discovery Gardens.  And in the background, the Texas Star which is part of the State Fair, open in Sept/Oct.
Texas Discovery Gardens. And in the background, the Texas Star which is part of the State Fair, open in Sept/Oct.

The first thing I should point out is that the Butterfly House is warm and humid.  Expect to get a bit sweaty and wear comfortable clothes.  Also, I highly recommend you apply some bug spray before you go inside.  There are mosquitoes. Trust me!  20 bites later, I found out the hard way.

The entrance fee is $8 for adults and you can stay for as long as you want.  Butterflies are released into the House at noon, so its ideal to get there around then, especially if you want to hear the discussion.  We arrived around 2pm, so it wasn’t crowded, but staff members were happy to answer any questions we had.

You start at the top of the Butterfly House and follow the ramp down.  There are several fact boards to read and areas to stop and watch.

Common Cattleheart
Common Cattleheart
These two are just hanging out...umm, yeah. That's it!
These two are just hanging out…umm, yeah. That’s it!

TexasDiscoveryGardens_5238

The Butterfly House is very family-friendly, and kids can learn a lot.  Be careful where you step because sometimes butterflies will land on the walkways.  Also, they prefer not to be grabbed and chased around, so a word of caution if your kids are in an energetic mood.

This large beauty, about the size of two adult hands, is the Atlas Moth. A bit shy and prefers to perch rather than fly around.
This one's top wings flutter independently from the bottom ones.
This one’s top wings flutter independently from the bottom ones.

For the photography enthusiasts, bring your patience.  Auto-focus is your ally to quickly set up a shot.  I don’t have a macro lens, but wish I did, as I would have loved some in tight detail shots.  I used my 50 mm f/1.4 and at times the auto-focus had a hard time finding its target.  I either had to step back a bit or change my angle.  I should have brought my 24-70mm f/2.8 instead.  The light in the Butterfly House changes a lot depending upon where you are, so be prepared to constantly change your camera settings if you shoot on Manual.

Tiger Longwing butterfly.
Tiger Longwing butterfly.
Three's Company
Three’s Company
Pretty sure these are both types of Longwing butterflies.
Pretty sure these are both types of Longwing butterflies.

The gardens outside the Butterfly House are also really nice to walk in.  It was pretty hot on the day we went though, so we stayed for about 10 minutes and only saw a small portion of the grounds.

One final note is during State Fair season (Sept/Oct) the entire Fair Park area is VERY busy and you will have to pay for parking.  Worth keeping in mind if you want to avoid crowds.

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