Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservancy

With your Key West Vacation Pass, buy one adult ticket and get one free adult ticket

Looking for a fun attraction in Key West? Feeling stressed and in need of a karmic happy moment?  I have the answer - the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservancy. Its a Florida Keys tropical paradise. Even buying the ticket is a cheerful event as the entry ticket is a blue butterfly sticker. So if you see someone with a butterfly sticker on their shoulder wandering around Duval Street, you know why they look so carefree and happy.

The journey begins with the Learning Center, where a short film describes butterflies’ life cycle, anatomy, physiology and feeding habits. The Learning Center explores the world of butterflies with a large map, identifying butterflies and their country of origin. Its fascinating learning about the annual Monarch migration from northern parts of the U.S. south to winter in California and Mexico. There are several glass containers where caterpillars are munching on their favorite plants. From the Learning Center, I head to the conservatory entrance, being sure to close the door quickly and carefully so no butterflies escape.

The 5,000 square foot glass conservatory draws you into a peaceful oasis. From the moment I step foot inside this magical place, butterflies from over 50 species are flittering all around me. I can’t help but giggle as a butterfly checks me out, wondering if my orange shirt is a big flower full of delicious nectar. As it floats away, I happily look around, starting with the ground where a butterfly is resting on the path directly in front of me, to plants and bushes, raising my gaze to the trees and then higher up to the ceiling. While its easy to be distracted, I remember to look where I am walking to avoid stepping on one of these beautiful creatures. I also keep an eye out for the cute little quails - you never know when one will dart out onto the path.

I walk along the path, taking my time to spot many hidden wonders. There is a stream running along the walkway with colorful Koi fish swimming along, cascading waterfalls, tropical flowering plants and trees. All the visitors around me appear to be enjoying the spectacle just as much as I am. The Butterfly Conservatory is a great Key West tour for families as well as couples and singles. Children are enthralled, standing still, waiting to see if a butterfly will land on them. A visitor is all smiles as a butterfly comes along for the ride. He tells me that whenever he is in Key West, he visits the conservatory and every time, butterflies land on him. He must be very sweet!

A crowd favorite is the two pink flamingoes. While I was there, the tropical flamingos were busy digging in the stream looking for food. These flamboyant creatures remind me of animatrons, they never look real. But they are fun to watch!

Walking over the bridge, turtles are hanging out on the stream bank and swimming around, drawing in children who are amused by their antics. Throughout the path, feeding stations of sliced fruit are hanging from trees. I spend a little time at several of the stations watching in anticipation to see what sublime butterfly or bird will come in search of a snack.

In a far corner of the conservatory is a bird feeder which I learn is a good place to view some of the 20+ exotic bird species. These birds seem to cover the range of the color spectrum, decked out in flamboyant orange, vivid blue, bright yellow and all the colors in between.

Nearing the end of the path, I spot the hatching room window where visitors can see chrysalises (hard outer layer of the cocoon, where the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly) hatch into butterflies. After emerging, the butterflies are transferred by containers and released into the conservatory. Its nice to know that these delicate butterflies are not collected from the wild; rather they come from butterfly farms.

I reach the exit door and look myself over to make sure no butterflies are along for ride. The gift shop awaits me with its many fun souvenirs, including inexpensive magnets, fun sandollar Christmas ornaments, educational toys and books on butterflies and my favorite - jewelry!  The jewelry ranges from fun children rings on up to exquisite one of a kind handmade pieces. Even better, I can order many of these wonderful items online for special gifts. Don’t miss artist and co-owner of the conservatory, Sam Trophia’s art gallery, the Wings of Imagination, next to the gift shop and online.

As my moment of zen concludes, I reflect on these beautiful winged creatures and their friends that share this wonderful home. Then its time to return to reality...

Visitor Information:

Conservatory Hours
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily
Last ticket sold 30 minutes before closing

Gift Shop and Gallery Hours
9:00 AM to 5:30 PM daily

General Admission $12.00
Children 4-12 years $8.50
Under 4 years Free
Seniors and Military $9.00

1316 Duval Street
Key West, Florida 33040
tel:(305) 296-2988 | (800) 839-4647

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