There are many different sought out activities in Key West, let alone the Florida Keys, and because of this it can be hard to choose which ones to do while on vacation. In order to help solve this problem we decided to check out one of the more known local attractions, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and see if it’s worth a visit.
What is the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
A slice of tropical lush paradise, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is home to exotic plants, colorful birds and an impressive amount of butterflies seen nowhere else. In fact, there are roughly 50 to 60 different species of butterflies native to Central and South America in the conservatory at once, each sporting a beautiful and unique wing design. Housed in a climate controlled, glass enclosed habitat, these animals flourish alongside colorful fish of all sizes and a few water loving turtles.
Along with the conservatory, you’ll also find a gallery showcasing the works of Sam Trophia, a gift shop overflowing with butterfly themed gifts of all kinds and a learning center housing live caterpillars and more.
It is important to note that none of the butterflies were captured in the wild. Each one was raised at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory and will complete its life cycle at the center. If you’re interested about the breeding process, you can view the different stages through a large glass window next to the enclosure.
Even though the conservatory is on the small side, you’ll find that there are many different highlights. Ours were:
- The large amount of different species of butterflies flying around, landing on flowers and feeding from the various feeding centers found around the enclosure.
- The beautiful little song birds flying overhead. We also saw a few hummingbirds! Also, there are small non-flying birds walking through the plants, which adds a nice little surprise when you turn a corner.
- The gorgeous flowering plants and trees decorating the enclosure, there is even a handful of beautiful orchids on display!
- The gift shop- even though we didn’t buy anything, it was hard to resist! There are so many unique gifts to view, though our favorites were the little glass butterflies that ranged from blue to pink.
- The smiling families- it’s hard not to be happy in such an amazing place but seeing the smiling faces of all the little children running around chasing ‘their’ butterfly is priceless.
What we thought
Not only did we get to see lots of different butterflies fluttering around our faces, but we got the chance to hone our photography skills while using the lens to chase beautiful song birds around. All in all, this was an amazing experience that allowed us to see wildlife we otherwise would have never seen.
On top of the all the life, we were very impressed with how clean and well presented the glass habitat was. The walkways were clear of any fallen leaves, the stream flowing through the center was clean and clear allowing visitors to easily view the brightly colored fish and turtles that called it home. We also noticed that the butterfly feeding centers were kept nice and neat, adding to the beauty of it all.
Staff members were friendly and helpful as well and easy to find if any questions arose. The gift shop was a sight to behold with gifts, souvenirs, books, stickers, jewelry and everything butterfly. If you’re looking for a unique gift to take home, this IS the place to find it.
Admission prices vary on age and military status:
- General admission (adults) $12.00
- Seniors and military $9.00
- Children 4 to 12 $8.50
- Children 3 and under $0.00
Once you pay, you’ll receive a butterfly stamp on the back of your hand. This stamp is good for the whole day, so if you decide to leave and grab some lunch, you’ll be more than welcome to come back after.
Hours and location
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm with the last ticket sold at 4:30pm. Best time to visit is during the week in the morning right after opening. This time of the day is less crowded and thus allows you ample room to explore and view the butterflies. This is also the best time to take people pictures (kids included!) as it’s less likely that you’ll have strangers in the background.
Located at 1316 Duval Street. There is parking down the street (with a fee) as well as free parking behind the conservatory- another reason to get there early.
Phone number: (305) 296-2988