PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Launches Butterflies Alive Mobile App

Keep the magic of Butterflies Alive! in the palm of your hand

SANTA BARBARA, CA ─ Now available through the App Store for iOS operating systems is the Butterflies Alive mobile application by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. The Butterflies Alive app enhances the visitor experience of the Museum’s beloved summertime exhibit Butterflies Alive!, now open at the Museum through September 7, and allows the visitor to keep the magic of Butterflies Alive! in the palm of their hands.

The Butterflies Alive app is an exhibit and identification guide to the Museum’s biennial exhibition Butterflies Alive! During the summer, the show features 1,000 free-flying butterflies from 20 to 30 different species. The app includes a butterfly identification guide with photographs of live butterflies from the exhibit taken by Museum visitors, members, volunteers, docents, and staff. Several butterflies are pictured from different angles to show how their patterns and colors vary depending on the perspective and vantage point.

“Our goal with Butterflies Alive! is to connect visitors to nature and science, and the butterfly is nature’s perfect ambassador to do just that,” said Museum President & CEO Luke Swetland. “And with this new app, whether you are indoors or outdoors, at the Museum or at home, you can see and learn more about this wonderful insect, and appreciate the wonder of nature.”

The app provides the guest with an audio tour of Butterflies Alive! This audio tour starts in the butterfly nursery, also known as the emergence chamber, located in Cartwright Hall, where guests can see butterflies emerging from their chrysalides. From there, guests can continue the audio tour as they follow the Flutter Facts through the Museum along Mission Creek towards the Butterfly Pavilion while they listen and learn about butterfly behavior they will soon see in the Pavilion.

The Butterflies Alive app also encourages visitors to dig deeper with the “Explore” tab, which provides the user with natural history facts about butterfly life cycles, body structure, coloration and more. In addition, users can learn about butterfly habitat loss, and how butterflies are indicators of biodiversity and the health of an ecosystem.

“People can be intimidated by science, imagining complex experiments or a dry research paper,” commented Museum Director of Education and Exhibits Heather Moffat. “But actually, observing nature– like watching a butterfly– is often the first step to doing and understanding science.”

The development of the app was a team effort including Museum staff, docents, and volunteers, all led by Museum Information Systems Technician Ricardo Gamboa. The photographs in the app were provided by Dr. Larry Jon Friesen, Gary Robinson, Kailey Campbell, Neal Fenzi, Juan Minera, and Easter Moorman. The voice of the audio tour is David Moorman, a long-time Museum volunteer and former local DJ.

“I created this app for the Museum because in this digital age, people usually make their first connection with information and an experience through a digital device,” stated Mr. Gamboa. “The Museum recognizes this and wanted to meet its visitors’ needs and encourage visitors to continue their experience with nature beyond the Museum.”

The Butterflies Alive mobile application is now available for iOS operating systems and can be downloaded at the AppStore for free at Free Wi-Fi is also available for visitors to use in the Butterfly Pavilion by connecting to the Bfly-Guest network. The Museum encourages its visitors to be social butterflies and share the magic of their Butterflies Alive! photos and videos on the Museum’s social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For more information about Butterflies Alive! and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, visit

About the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Founded in 1916, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History reconnects more than 150,000 people each year (including its 5,700 members) to nature indoors and outdoors. Uniquely nestled in nature, the Museum is located along Mission Creek in the Mission Canyon area. The Museum has ten indoor exhibit halls focusing on regional natural history including astronomy, birds, insects, geology, mammals, marine life, paleontology, plant life, and the Chumash Indians. In addition, the Museum is home to the only full-dome planetarium on the Central Coast, a research library, and the John & Peggy Maximus Art Gallery.

The Museum’s outdoor exhibit experiences include a nature trail, the Chumash Sukinanik’oy Garden, The Museum Backyard & Nature Club House, the Butterfly Pavilion, and a real 74-foot Blue Whale skeleton. The Museum’s outdoor nature experience continues down to the Pacific Ocean at its Sea Center located on the historic Stearns Wharf. The Sea Center offers nearly 90,000 visitors a window to ocean life in the Santa Barbara Channel through its interactive exhibits and close-up, hands-on encounters with sea creatures.

Beyond exhibitions, the Museum offers science education programs for adults and children, preserves a collection of more than three million specimens and artifacts, and maintains ongoing scientific research. The Museum’s mission is to inspire a thirst for discovery and a passion for the natural world. For more information about the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, please visit

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