Lose yourself in a cloud of “flowers of the sky” as you amble along the walkway through this tropical glasshouse. Home to approximately 60 different species of butterflies, the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory is a beautiful experience. The conservatory is often among the most recommended attractions in the city. Families will appreciate the educational areas of the museum, while those wanting to unwind will enjoy sitting beneath tropical trees next to cascading waterfalls.
Start your visit to the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory by learning about the feeding patterns and life cycles of caterpillars. See the intriguing creatures nestling close to their host plants in the Learning Center, an interactive educational facility. Watch as the insects feed on plants and see the various stages that lead up to their transformation into butterflies. There is also information on the fascinating Monarch Migration.
Beneath the high transparent ceilings of the glasshouse you’ll be met with the humid conditions that allow the butterflies to survive and prosper. While not so different from the weather in the Florida Keys for much of the year, the conditions are moderated to ensure the best possible growth for the insects. Watch as hundreds of brightly colored butterflies move between trees and flowers or possibly land on your hand or shoulder. Don’t miss the owl butterfly, with its 6-inch (15-centimeter) wingspan, when it becomes active at dusk.
Stunning flowering plants hang low over the paths, while tropical trees and a tumbling waterfall recreate the natural habitat of the butterflies and prove a beautiful backdrop for you to walk past or take photos. Visit Wings of Imagination, the conservatory gallery, to see stunning preserved butterflies by local artist and conservatory owner, Sam Trophia.
The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory is located on Duval Street, near South Beach. It can be reached on foot from most parts of Key West. There is also ample free parking available in the area. The conservatory is open daily and an admission fee applies. Children, seniors and military visitors pay a reduced fee, while those under 4 years of age enter for free.