Sertoma Butterfly House and Purdy Marine Cove

If you’re visiting Sioux Falls, South Dakota for a few days, or just passing through on I-90, the Sertoma Butterfly House and Purty Marine Cove offer a high-quality and educational stop that won’t break the bank. One of many quality free or cheap attractions for families in Sioux Falls!

Housed on Sioux Falls innovative Outdoor Campus, where local families and visitors can stop in to take other outdoor recreation classes as well as explore the walking trails and playgrounds, the butterfly house take about an hour to explore, and includes an extensive collection of sea animals and corals in addition to butterflies.

butterfly house

Families can choose to start with either exhibit, and can easily split up as interests dictate; the space is small enough to be very family-friendly. In Purty Marine Cove, I expected the shark and sting ray touch tank to draw the biggest crowds, but while popular, it was Purty’s live coral that stole the show. As I told a traveling companion, until you see the ‘real’ thing, you don’t realize just how beautiful bright, live coral can be. The coral makes for a beautiful backdrop to the 2,500 gallon saltwater and freshwater aquariums.

living coral at Sertoma

In the butterfly house, visitors can view over 800 free-flying butterflies from around the world, including Central and South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Kids can watch them form their chrysalises from behind protective glass, and watch the mature butterflies eat at any of the many fruit stations. A nice perk for locals and all-season travelers: the butterfly house always remains at a tropical temperature, making it one of the best hideouts during a South Dakota winter.

Date last visted:

August 2012

Distance from the interstate:

Minutes from I-90.

Admission prices:

Child (3-4): $3.00, Youth (5-12): $5.50, Adult (13-59): $8.50

Hours of operation:

Mon-Sat from 10am to 6 pm, Sun from 1 pm to 5 pm in summer, Mon-Sat from 10 am to 4 pm and Sun from 1 pm to 4 pm in winter.

Food services:

None, though there is a gift shop with candy. The Outdoor Campus has many picnic areas…bring a lunch!


The Outdoor Campus is located at 4500 S. Oxbow, with the butterfly house adjacent. Sertoma Butterfly Garden adjacent at 4320 S. Oxbow.