Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sertoma Butterfly House, Sioux Falls

One of South Dakota's most photogenic and photographer-friendly attractions is the Sertoma Butterfly House in Sioux Falls. Located in Sertoma Park in the southern part of the city, it also just across the parking lot from another great spot - The Outdoor Campus. Information on each can be found at and

I will tackle the Outdoor Campus in a separate post later. For now, let's talk butterflies.

The flight room at the Butterfly House is literally a jungle of exotic plants, water and beautiful flowers. With hundreds of colorful butterflies fluttering around, it's almost overwhelming at first.

Because the staff at the Butterfly House understands that photographers are going to love this place, they welcome cameras at any time. However, when you really want to get serious about things with a tripod, macro lenses, etc. you will want to visit on the first Monday or Saturday of each month. From 8:30 to 10:30 am on those days, the flight room is open to photographers only.

The other great thing about the Butterfly House is that the selection of butterflies is constantly changing. New shipments come in all the time, so each week there may be a completely different batch of photo subjects flitting about. Even the staff is quite often surprised by what types of butterflies they have at any one time.

Patience is key, because just as you have the perfect composition set up, your subject may fly away. It takes time, but the good stuff is all there just waiting to fall into place in front of your lens.

A flash on a cord can help when the prettiest butterfly decides to land in the deep shadow of a huge leaf.

Also, it's good to know that the best environment for the butterflies is very warm and humid. Therefore, your camera lenses, glasses, etc. are going to fog up when you first enter. Give things a few minutes for the temperature of your equipment to equalize with the room temp and you'll be good to go.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful and informative Thanks Chad...we do not get passed Pierre much, but now I really want to go see this Butterfly House.

Chad Coppess said...

Thanks Laurie, I hope you realize the Butterfly House is in Sioux Falls, not Pierre.

Anonymous said...

Yes Chad...I realize that...:) I have a reason to Go PAST Pierre.

Thanks for the blog