The Purdy Butterfly House, the nation’s largest open-air butterfly house, opens on May 1 and through September is home to 1,500 butterflies, as well as turtles, button quail, frogs, and other critters. A series of butterfly releases are scheduled during the season (see dates below) during which visitors can take part in an environmentally safe restoration of the indoor butterfly population.
Although our winged friends leave in the fall, Garden guests can enjoy the waterfalls, ponds, streams, and lush vegetation of the Butterfly House all year!
2019 Butterfly Releases:
Saturday, May 4 at 10:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 12 (Mother’s Day Brunch & Butterfly Release) from 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 8 at 10:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 13 at 10:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
Huntsville is one of 67 communities in Alabama to host Making Alabama and the Huntsville Botanical Garden is proud to offer a venue to share our state’s rich history with you!
Celebrating 200 Years
This exhibit is a celebration of 200 years of statehood presented by the Alabama Humanities Foundation in partnership with the Alabama Department of Archives and History and the Alabama Bicentennial Commission. The exhibit showcases the decisions and turning points that shaped Alabama history, culture, and geography through artistic interactive displays and teaching resources.
The Making Alabama exhibit is located in the Propst Guest Center and is free and open to the public during regular Garden hours.
More bicentennial events at the Garden:
(Garden Admission or Membership required for outdoor exhibits and events)
Sweet Homegrown Alabama
- Test your knowledge with our state flora and fauna scavenger hunt (Click here to download the scavenger hunt)
- View a replica of George Washington Carver’s Jesup Wagon
- Learn about heirloom plants and traditional crops in the Children’s Garden, Herb Garden, and Demonstration Vegetable Garden
- June 11: Valerie Pope Burnes, co-author of Visions of the Black Belt: A Cultural Survey of the Heart of Alabama
- June 18: Dr. James Pate, editor of The Annotated Pickett’s History of Alabama, and Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period
- July 18: Frances Robb, author of Shot in Alabama: A History of Photography, 1839–1941, and a List of Photographers
State Symbol Scavenger Hunt
Do you know why Alabama is called the “Yellowhammer State?” Do you know what our state mineral is? What about our state wildflower? As you explore the Garden this summer and fall, be sure to check out our State Symbol Scavenger Hunt! We’ve posted informative signs throughout the Garden that offer fun facts about many of our state symbols.
View a replica of George Washington Carver’s Jesup Wagon
The Jesup Agricultural Wagon was the first vehicle used in Tuskegee Institute’s Movable School, an outreach effort of the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) aimed at bringing modern agricultural tools and methods to rural areas and people in Alabama. Named for Morris K. Jesup, who funded the initial construction and acquisition of mules, rigging, and instructional materials, the wagon was designed by George Washington Carver.
Fully equipped, the Jesup Wagon carried a revolving churn, butter mold, diverse cultivator, planters, a cotton chopper, plows, different kinds of fertilizers, seeds, foodstuffs, a milk tester, and a cream separator, as well as a number of charts and demonstration materials. Recommended breeds of cows and chickens, well-developed ears of corn, stalks of cotton, bundles of oats and seeds, and garden products were included, all based on the locality visited and the season of the year.
Learn more at encyclopediaofalabama.org.
Learn about heirloom plants and traditional crops
The Herb Garden has collections of culinary, medicinal, and dye herbs which all played an important role in the development of our state. We’ll also highlight native plants that were traditionally used for medicinal purposes along the Mathews Nature Trail. The Demonstration Vegetable Garden and Children’s Garden will also feature heirloom plants and traditional crops.
THE THREE SISTERS: CORN, BEANS, AND SQUASH
Corn, beans, and squash are called the “three sisters.” Native Americans inter-planted this trio because they thrive together:
- The cornstalk provides support for the bean plant
- The bean plant pulls nitrogen from the air and brings it to the soil
- The large leaves of the squash plant create a living mulch that shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds
- Approximately half of the peanuts grown in the United States are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan, Alabama
- The peanut is unusual because it flowers above the ground, but fruits below the ground
- 20% of the world’s peanut production is used in candy
- Peanuts may be a favorite food, but we’ve found many uses for their shells too! You might find peanut shells in kitty litter, wallboard, fireplace logs, paper, animal feed and sometimes as fuel for power plants!
Learn more fun facts at the Alabama Peanut Producers Association website.
Frances Robb’s presentation will let us explore together some of the finest images from our state’s historical record. From Alabama’s first photographs to the Civil War and World War II, from studio portraits to backyard snapshots, from football shots to courting couples, her slide show will highlight some of Alabama’s intriguing images.
Puzzled about your family photographs? Bring one or two mystery pictures for help with dates and identifications after Robb’s presentation.
Robb is a Huntsville native and has spent twenty-five years researching Alabama photographers and photographs while serving as a consultant on the state’s cultural history and historic photography for museums, archives, and libraries. She has curated or advised on many exhibitions, including Made in Alabama: A State Legacy and the award-winning exhibition In View of Home: Alabama Landscape Photographs. In her search for information and images, she has visited every county in Alabama and roamed as far as Maine and California to study photographs in institutional repositories and family collections.
Shot in Alabama is a visual and textual narrative of Alabama’s photographic history from 1839 to 1941. It describes the phenomenon of photography as practiced in Alabama as a major cultural force, paying close attention to the particular contexts from which each image emerges and the fragments of microhistory that each image documents.
Click links below to register:
We will meet in the Guest Center.
Bring your flashlight and a sense of adventure and let us guide you through an evening of exploration as you witness the changes in the Garden when night falls. We’ll see fireflies in the meadows, orb weavers spinning their webs, and maybe, if we’re lucky, some nocturnal animals out foraging for dinner. We’ll also stop along the way to roast s’mores!
Optional: Bring a clean, dry plastic jar with lid; mayonnaise jars work well, for a special firefly catch and release!
It’s time to get wacky!
Join us in the Children’s Garden each Wednesday (June 5 – July 24) from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. for sprinklers, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and crafts! This year we’re celebrating Alabama’s bicentennial and each week’s craft will feature one of our state symbols (and, of course, we wouldn’t forget the anniversary of the Apollo mission). We’ll also wind up with the annual Wacky Wednesday Tie-dye on July 24!
State Bird: Yellowhammer
State Nut: Pecan
State Insect: Monarch Butterfly
State Butterfly: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Space Rocket Craft
State Mammal: Black Bear
*Please bring your own t-shirt(s) for the tie-dye craft. We will not be providing them.