The Butterfly House opened its doors to the public on September 18, 1998 and provides educational opportunities to a diverse visitorship. In 2000 the outdoor area known as the Butterfly Garden was dedicated. The Butterfly House offers education programs, special events, lectures and, of course, the chance to witness butterflies in two habitats, one native and one tropical.
In July, 2001, the Butterfly House became a division of the Missouri Botanical Garden, a leader in horticultural displays, research and education. The following year, 2002, the second expansion of the facility opened and was designated the "Emerson Lakeside Terrace". This plaza area is the site for many special events, both public and private. The same year, the Butterfly House began participating with Butterfly Conservation Initiative, BFCI, of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the next year it was accredited by the AZA becoming the only dedicated insect facility in this organization.