Sunday Trips

Sabal and Sams

Some of the richest wildlife habitat in North America may be found in the lush riparian preserves and marshes found along the banks of the Rio Grande River, as it winds to the Laguna Madre. This trip to the Sabal Palm sanctuary and Camp Lula Sams focuses on finding butterflies such as Boisduval’s Yellow, Walker's Metalmark and Gemmed Satyr; but also offers the chance to encounter endangered species and neotropical birds. One site allows you to pass through the Border Wall, while another let’s you go back in time to South Texas’ historic Girl Scout campgrounds. Slow easy walking with restrooms available.

  • Drive time approx. 1 hour 10 min.
  • Lunch Provided - Yes
  • SUNDAY ONLY

Far West

Trek to far western Starr County, for a guided tour of the gardens at Falcon State Park. New park leadership is paying special attention to the small, but productive, butterfly gardens and 3-mile nature trail in this brushland habitat. Falcon also offers an opportunity to see uncommon birds, such as the Scaled Quail, Varied Bunting and Green Kingfisher. Then visit the parsonage, where Berry Nall's legendary garden once yielded a dozen hairstreak species and we’ll try to make sure the garden at Roma Bluffs is open, too. Slow easy walking with restrooms and benches available at Falcon (and Roma).

  • Drive time approx. 1 hour 30 min.
  • Lunch Provided - Yes

Bryants Butterflies

Small parcels have great potential, when native plants are given room to shine! Paul & Shelley Bryant began gardening more than 10 years ago and established the 1.63 acre SAP Nature Preserve within a 20-acre pasture, to provide habitat for wild birds and butterflies. Both Texas Master Naturalists, they are the proud guardians of more than 185 native plants, and continue to expand their species sightings list. In addition to the SAP Nature Preserve, this trip will visit Oleander Acres' small patch of productive gardens and the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse. Easy walking with rest areas and restrooms.

  • Drive time approx. 10 min.
  • Lunch Provided - Yes
  • SUNDAY ONLY

Coastal

Coastal Specialties

What’s a little mud? Cruise out to the Smiley Face, among several sites, to search for Xami Hairstreak, Definite Patch, Blue Metalmark, Pale-rayed and Double-dotted Skippers. Not for the faint of heart, this trip offers multiple stops to rich or rare habitat that may be thorny, mucky and inhospitable—but the butterflies are worth it! Your guides will determine which hot spots and landmarks you visit to find rewarding specialties on the fringes of Cameron County. LONG PANTS, PROPER BOOTS AND PROTECTIVE CLOTHING/COVERING REQUIRED to contend with stinging pests, cactus and other hazards. Restrooms available along the way.

  • Drive time approx. 1 hour 30 min.
  • Lunch Provided - Yes

Cat Connection

This workshop, taught by our keynote speaker Sam Jaffe, of The Caterpillar Lab, will begin under the Monarch Palapa, where local expert, Cat Traylor, will assist in this “look and learn” session at the National Butterfly Center. Sign up, so Sam and Cat may show you how to search for and identify caterpillars, wherever you may roam. Close focus binoculars and magnifying glasses will be provided for use.

  • Drive time approx. N/A
  • Lunch Provided - Yes
  • SUNDAY ONLY

Into the Wild

Last year, the drought meant Yturria was too dry for butterflies, and all scheduled trips had to be re-routed; but that was truly unusual. We return to Yturria, year after year, because the property is always productive in the most pleasant ways.  In 2014, this trip produced the Blue-studded Skipper, a U.S. record and chase butterfly of the year. From there, you may head to the La Puerta prairie, in search of the Banded Patch. Here, a mile-long hike and easy ascent lead to look out point and some steep trails the adventuresome may descend. Sandy and rocky paths require shuffling or sure footing and LONG PANTS, PROPER BOOTS AND PROTECTIVE CLOTHING/COVERING REQUIRED are suggested to contend with sun exposure and other hazards in the brushlands of Starr County. Restrooms available en route; otherwise, not readily available.

  • Drive time approx. 45 min.
  • Lunch Provided - Yes

Weslaco

Tour Weslaco's best butterfly attractions—including the ever-popular state park, a popular Audubon tract, and private oases into which you are lucky to set foot! There’s a good chance you may see a Potrillo Skipper in this neck of the woods. The Weslaco excurion often gets “edited” by scouts and guides who stay up-to-date on sightings in high-count yards and at feeding stations. Slow easy walking with restrooms and benches available.

  • Drive time approx. 30 min.
  • Lunch Provided - Yes

Military Highway

One could spend the whole day at Santa Ana NWR, a 2000+ acre preserve containing Chihuahuan desert, subtropical wetlands and Great Plains habitat. This island in a sea of commercial farm crops is the only property in the South Texas to boast more butterfly species sightings (over its 73 year history) than the National Butterfly Center, so chances are outstanding you will seem some 'lifers' here. New this year, the Texas Butterfly Festival has been invited to visit a private oasis, surrounded by commercial farms. Here, the family lake house and adjacent lands have been off-limits to outsiders, since 1926. Restrooms available.

  • Drive time approx. 30 min.
  • Lunch Provided - Yes

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Texas Butterfly Festival
3333 Butterfly Park Drive
Mission, TX 78572

festival@texasbutterflyfestival.com
956-583-5400 
GPS Coordinates
26.180243 -98.364973

Record sightings and "chase butterflies" from recent TBFs:

 trip firsts

What will appear this year?!