About Us

The Butterfly House & Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are the only public saltwater aquarium in the Dakotas and one of only a few butterfly houses nationwide that are open year-round.

Our Mission

Through educational experiences with the smallest and most delicate animals like butterflies, corals, and jellyfish, we fulfill our mission of:
creating connection and inspiring conservation of wild species and spaces.

We strive to strengthen the connection between people and our natural world via: education through experience; conservation through appreciation and action; practices that ensure sustainability; and partnerships that connect people, planet, and profit.

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Spreading Our Wings

Starting as a butterfly conservatory in 2002, the Butterfly House & Aquarium has transformed into a must-see Sioux Falls attraction over the last couple of decades. In 2010, a group of aquarium hobbyists brought forward an idea that would change the Sertoma Butterfly House forever: add aquariums by renovating our old gift shop.

Within a year of opening, the Aquarium had families and classes pouring in to experience a piece of the ocean — right here in South Dakota. Over time, the starter aquariums were gradually replaced by exhibits with interactive elements and a more diverse collection of marine animals. Annual attendance grew from 45,000 when we displayed butterflies alone, to 87,000 guests experiencing both the butterfly and aquarium habitats today.

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Looking to the Future

In September 2022, the board of directors for the Butterfly House & Aquarium and Great Plains Zoo voted unanimously to merge our two organizations. As of January 1, 2023, the merger is in effect as we operate on our two campuses.

Over the next several years, major renovations at the Zoo's current location will give us one consolidated campus, creating a remarkable destination for our community featuring animals from land, sea, and sky.

Sioux Falls Zoo & Aquarium Board of Directors

Alissa Bretsch | JLG Architects
Margaret Carmody
| Washington Pavilion
Tracy Dahl-Webb
(Secretary) | Marsh McLennan Agency
Molly Daniel | Community Volunteer
Becky Dewitz (President/CEO)
Melissa Fossell | American Bank & Trust
Erik Gaikowski
Darin Hage | Journey Group
Ryan Howlett | Friends of SDPB
Jeff Hugunin (Past Chair) | Community Volunteer
Jeannie Iannello | Sammons Financial Group

Don Kearney (Ex Officio) | City of Sioux Falls
De Knudson | Community Volunteer
Jeanelle Lust (Chair) | Community Volunteer
Laura Mitchell | Lawrence & Schiller
George Mollner (Treasurer) | First Dakota National Bank
David O'Hara | Augustana University
Audrey Otto-Pepper (COO)
Mckenzy Raterman | Dorsey & Whitney Trust Co
Andrea Smith (Vice-Chair) | SoDak HVAC
Ryan Tysdal (Mayoral Appointee) | Van Buskirk Companies