Our Metamorphosis

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 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.

Dreams do come true! On December 5, 2023 we proudly opened the doors to the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium.

While reaching the milestone of opening Montana’s first tropical butterfly house might sound like we crossed the finish line, in reality, this is just the beginning. Opening this new facility began a new era for our organization and the impact our education efforts will have for our schools, our community, and visitors to Missoula.

Are you as excited as we are? Contact us for more information and consider supporting this unique Montana experience.

MarLee: A Dedication

In order to succeed, every capital campaign needs at least one …a lead gift to help make the project a reality. The lead gift is the donation that anchors your campaign, lends credibility to the project in the eyes of other donors, and basically sets the stage for success. For our campaign, that gift came from Kate Supplee.

Lead gifts typically come with a prominent naming opportunity. We worked with Kate to create a naming opportunity that spoke to those she wished to honor and remember. Unselfishly, she chose to dedicate our facility as the MarLee Butterfly House and Insectarium. As you enter the facility, you’ll see this dedication right next to our admissions desk. You’ll note a slight hint of a rainbow that’s a meaningful nod to Kate’s parents, Ted and Corrine.

Thank you, Kate, for believing in our dream and for giving us wings!

Butterfly House & Insectarium
a dedication

This unique facility would not have been possible without the generous support and commitment of the greater Missoula community. Most notably, the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium is dedicated in honor and in memory of:

Jen and Glenn Marangelo – As founders of the Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium, Jen and Glenn’s vision, passion, and determination were the driving forces behind the realization of this dream and the creation of an amazing gift to our community.

Ted and Corrine Supplee – Their love and zest for life provided inspiration for me, my family, and their many friends. Their memory and legacy lives on through a shared love of adventure and wonder for our world, especially for all things that take flight.

-Kate Supplee

Our Vision

We envision generations ignited by lifelong curiosity and awe for the natural world.

Our Mission

Our Mission is to inspire an appreciation and understanding of insects and their relatives.

Our Values


Engaging individuals to better understand and appreciate arthropods.

Photo of young girls sitting on the floor drawing pictures of insects.


Providing a fun, respectful, and inviting learning atmosphere for all.

Photo of a stag beetle being held in a person's hand.


Dedication to excellence and intellectual honesty through ethical and transparent conduct.

Photo of MBHI educator Carolyn showing tarantula molts to students sitting on floor.


Sharing a love for the natural world and some of its smallest creatures through teaching and exploration.


Embedded in science, we are lifelong learners continuing to expand on our expertise to share accurate and current information.

Photo of small girl with butterfly wings on looking into a butterfly enclosure.


Creating a sense of awe and a desire to learn more.

Photo of a man using scientific research tools during a US Ants DNA sequencing workshop.


Working in partnership with other individuals, organizations, and institutions to provide the best possible learning experience to strengthen the larger learning community.

Meet Our Team

We are a dedicated team of individuals who are passionate about the mission of the organization.


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The Missoula Butterfly House and Insectarium has been featured in many articles and on many news programs over the years.