When I saw this press conference yesterday I was confused about this possible merger, Thanks to SF Bizzo for some clarification;

The Butterfly House & Aquarium and Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History might be joining forces.

The boards of both organizations have approved entering formal discussions to determine whether it makes sense to combine.

A joint exploration committee will be working with a consultant to determine whether to recommend the organizations combine. The process was endorsed by Mayor Paul TenHaken, who held a joint announcement with the organizations today at City Hall.

The mayor can endorse this all he wants, but it is the city council that will have final approval. A city councilor told me today that they were not informed about this consideration until last week. However, I do think it is worth exploring and would be a good match. But I do have some questions.

What is the financial strength of the Butterfly House? Are they just struggling so they saw this as an opportunity for a tax payer bailout? What is the financial strength of the Zoo? How about exploring another option like merging and becoming a private non-profit all together and have the Zoo lease land from the city and let taxpayers off the hook?

I have heard since they terminated Ms. Whalen things haven’t been going as well (though the employees may be happier). Why is it that the first option is the taxpayers bailing both of them out? Why create this monster and take on more Capital Improvement Debt? Also, like the Pavilion and Events Center, while we all subsidize the venues with our 2nd and 3rd pennies, we still have to pay to walk through the doors. What percentage of people who pay taxes in Sioux Falls can afford to pay admission at the zoo or even go there? Should we be subsidizing the place?

While this needs a lot more studying, I suggest the City Council get involved and have the consultant look at them merging and become a Private Non-Profit. It’s time we start spending tax dollars on infrastructure instead of bears and butterflies.

11 Thoughts on “The Zoo & Butterfly House are considering a merger

  1. Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on December 1, 2021 at 8:29 pm said:

    The Butterfly House is currently run on the honor system, but not the Zoo. Which system will both use going forth? #FoodChain

  2. OMICRON on December 2, 2021 at 5:13 am said:

    Why is it you lib’rals are tree huggers, climate change nutjobs, but think it’s OK to cage wild animals? Tear down the zoo and butterfly house as it’s cruel.

    Just like how you want all the criminals to not be sent to jail or get the death sentence, but it’s OK to kill babies. Mind boggling i tells ya

  3. Further Fear & Loathing on December 2, 2021 at 9:18 am said:

    We must cage the animals, else, they will kill our babies. Currently, there are too many jobs available. The criminals need to get to work delivering maybe packages to your door.

  4. D@ily Spin on December 2, 2021 at 12:03 pm said:

    The zoo is more popular. Carrying the butterfly house might not be a good idea. I suspect the joining (in general) going on is a sophisticated method for confusing the accounting. Instead of knowing who’s in trouble this year or next, it’ll be 5 years before financial solvency can be addressed. It’s a Trump move. If you’re bankrupt cover it up with an acquisition or merger. Should someone call themselves elected mayor and take over city hall?

  5. Past volunteer and donor on December 2, 2021 at 5:44 pm said:

    An external audit of the Financials of the Butterfly House and Aquarium would show how the CEO uses Grant money and Donation money for different purposes than directed. This needs to really be looked at. Especially since they have been trying to raise money for expansion. For over 5 years and have lost past donors due to conflicts of interest that have appeared. I would hate to see another 1.5 million dollars in tax payers dollars each year have to be spent on another institution that has shown it cannot operate on its own financially without uses money that is earmarked for one project and it goes into the general fund after the donation check is deposited.

  6. That used to go on at the Pavilion and probably still does. While the Great Hall makes money they have to bail out the science center.

  7. Mike Lee Zitterich on December 3, 2021 at 6:57 am said:

    This is simply informational, it would still have to placed in a future city budget, did we not just approve the 2022 Budget, and would this not have to be voted on by the council IF we wish to place it in a future budget? Would we not be voting to obligate a future city council to money that we wish to spend now, thus tie the hands of a new council in 2024?

    More evidence, that I wish to amend Charter Section 5.04 creating more restrictions on adopting a budget if the council fails to adopt one by September 30th. Currently, if the council does NOT adopt a budget, the MAYOR’s recommended budget goes into effect, I am wishing to place rules in place to restrict that from happening, setting up a period where both sides must pull 10 items for further discussion, and discuss reason why we need to spend the money, IF no joint resolution can be agreed upon, the CITY must resort back to the last known adopted budget.

    We got to stop all this uneccessary spending.

  8. Silverstar?! on December 3, 2021 at 10:38 am said:

    I think if you tear down the Butterfly House, there would be just enough room for a Silverstar there? That area is underserved and could use a nice new red car wash.

    Tear down the zoo and put in a gun shop along with a large indoor gun range, it would be a perfect spot for it. Maybe have the city finance it and let cops use the range to practice and qualify. And, ammo is hard to come by, maybe put in a ammo manufacturing facility as well.

  9. Fearing the Fuhrer & More on December 3, 2021 at 3:24 pm said:

    Until climate change drys out the Sioux, maybe the new Butterfly House Silverstar could just run a hose from the river for water, huh?

    Perhaps, a gun shop and range on Minnesota Avenue would be more appropriate. Maybe you could win free tacos from G’s based on your accuracy.

    Like Cousin Eddie, I prefer the blue ones one the red ones:


  10. D@ily Spin on December 3, 2021 at 9:53 pm said:

    Does anyone know of a full service car wash? I miss they vacuuming and cleaning the inside. Silver Star doesn’t cut it if you’re a senior or disabled.

  11. Sick of Fearing on December 4, 2021 at 10:49 am said:

    That one Silverstar is a time portal. Go in there, and then maybe you’ll find your full service car wash.

    FF 00:33


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