Tuesday Trips

Butterfly Beltway

Explore the public and private properties around the National Butterfly Center, where butterfly gardens large and small yield exciting and often unexpected species! Start your day at the Bentsen-RGV State Park with an easy walk around the Visitor’s Center, then embark on a 1.5 mile walk around Bentsen Palm RV Resort and the renowned wall surrounding Retama Village, as well as private gardens within the wall. In 2013, the 2nd & 3rd US Record Sightings for the Zebra Cross-streak occurred in this special corridor. See for yourself why this area of increasingly rich habitat is called 'The Butterfly Beltway.' Additional gardens may be announced, based upon sightings. Easy walking with restrooms available.

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

macro class

Let award-winning professional photographer, Luciano Guerra, and budding enthusiast, Cat Traylor, teach you all their tricks for capturing up-close images that captivate! You may have seen their photos on Facebook and in print... Here's your chance to learn practical tips and best practices for perfecting your camera work in the field and post-production. Bring your camera to class!

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


It's always a good day at the National Butterfly Center, where you may expect to see 65-70+ species! This trip takes you down the road to a refuge property around La Lomita Mission, a historical site, and then to the Riverside Club, where Captain Johnny will show you the sights up and down the Rio Grande River, on a leisurely cruise. This trips is a favorite for birders looking to add species to the Mexico and US lists!  After the cruise, return to our 100-acre preserve and get to know it better, with guides who will take you across the levee to look for butterflies on the wild side. Ever-growing gardens and native habitat expansion invite hundreds of species each year, including U.S. Records and ultra-rarities like the Red-sided Swallowtail and Dusted Spurwing, seen in 2015. The truth is you never know what you’ll see at the NBC! Slow easy walking (unless you’re on the chase) with restrooms and benches on the ‘front 30.’ Picnic under the palapa.

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

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

King Family

This private garden on the banks of an old caliche quarry hosts butterflies, dragonflies and birds a plenty. A ‘best kept secret’ this garden proves plant it and they will come! Paired with the Wm. Jennings Bryant House and the old Valley Botanical Gardens (now the new McAllen Nature Center), this trip offers something old and something new, with lots of room for discovery close to the hustle and bustle of town. One site contains steep inclines; otherwise, easy walking with plenty of shaded seating and restrooms available.

  • Drive time approx. 10 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

GPS Coordinates
26.180243 -98.364973

Thank you to our Sponsors

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Record sightings and "chase butterflies" from recent TBFs:

 trip firsts

What will appear this year?!