The Butterfly House at the NYS Zoo at Thompson Park Heather A. Freeman Foundation

The Butterfly House at the NYS Zoo at Thompson Park

The Butterfly House at the NYS Zoo at Thompson Park was built in 1997. It was designed by a volunteer botanist, the late Alfred J. Gianfagna, father of Watertown pediatrician Dr. Alfred L. Gianfagna. In early 2008, a blizzard did severe damage to many of the wonderful exhibits at the Zoo, including the Butterfly House. 

Heather loved sunflowers, blue skies and butterflies.

The family and friends of Heather thought it would be a fitting tribute to repair the exhibit and dedicate it to her memory in 2008. In 2011, The Heather A. Freeman Foundation happily took over this yearly endowment. The donated funds are used to purchase live pupae (chrysalises), make improvements, increase staffing, and purchase native plants and flowers to beautify the exhibit. 

The butterfly house is home to numerous free- flying native species of butterflies and allows guests to encounter the insects in an environment that is safe for the butterflies. The exhibit also increases awareness of the natural habitat in which butterflies thrive, the species can be observed engaging in many of their natural behaviors, including feeding on flower nectar or ripe fruit, drinking from puddles and basking in the sunlight. 

With the support of our amazing community, HAFF has been able to contribute $15,000 thus far to the upkeep and beautification of the Heather A. Freeman Butterfly House at the NYS Zoo at Thompson Park. We are committed to keeping the butterfly house a vibrant reflection of Heather’s spirit.

Please visit to learn more about the NYS Zoo at Thompson Park and the The Butterfly House