Thanksgiving Point Institute
With the new butterfly biosphere opening in 2018, Thanksgiving Point will offer five venues aimed at entertaining and educating families.
LEHI — One of the Thanksgiving Point founders, Karen Ashton, dubbed the event held at the nonprofit’s Water Tower Plaza on Monday as a “sky-breaking,” rather than a groundbreaking, for its newest and fifth family venue.
As butterflies left their paper envelopes and took off to the skies, school children and adults, including Governor Gary Herbert, gasped at their fluttery, ethereal beauty, and the Butterfly Biosphere project was officially on its way to becoming a reality in fall 2018.
Herbert said the work of Thanksgiving Point is positive and uplifting, and this is a good example of a working partnership.
Lehi Mayor Bert Wilson said the vision of Thanksgiving Point is literally coming to life.
The $31.5 million endeavor will include a 8,400 square-foot greenhouse as well as interactive and educational exhibits and displays in the space previously occupied by The Emporium gift shop.
The tropical conservatory will be warm (around 75 degrees throughout the year) and filled with lush greenery and flowering plants. A variety of butterflies will fill the space.
Motivational speaker and philanthropist Barbara Barrington Jones, a major founder of the Butterfly Biosphere, said she wants the space to honor her mother, whom she called “The Butterfly Lady” at the event Monday. During her remarks, she described her mother chasing a monarch butterfly in her car in an effort to show it to her children.
Wearing a butterfly hatband and scarf, Jones said she believes butterflies are celestial creatures full of beauty and peace.
Debbie Bingham, who with her husband is also a donor, said the butterfly biosphere will be a world-class venue, one that schoolchildren will love and enjoy for years to come. She noted that children from Wasatch Peak Academy helped design the biosphere by offering their ideas and suggestions.
“This is the perfect gateway insect,” said Thanksgiving Point CEO Mike Washburn….