The Key West Butterfly Conservatory is the most peaceful place in crazy, clamorous Key West.
Located on Duval Street within a block of the Southernmost Point in the United States, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory immerses you in a tropical garden where butterflies float overhead and flashy finches dart past waterfalls and koi-filled ponds.
Visitors are asked to turn off their cell phones and few sounds except chirping birds are heard over the soft chime-like background music.
You’d call the atmosphere “chill” if it weren’t a constant humid 85 degrees! (Butterflies like it that way.)
The conservatory is quite compact – it’s a 5,000-square-foot Plexiglas structure designed to look like a Victorian greenhouse. It is furnished with butterfly-designed benches where visitors sit and contemplate the beauty while an occasional butterfly lands on them.
There are fountains, ponds and beautiful vegetation filling every space. The air almost vibrates with fluttering wings that are everywhere you look. Fruit platters mixed with the vegetation attract multiple butterflies.
The conservatory is home to 50 to 60 butterfly species from around the world, which are acquired from farms not collected from the wild, and 20 exotic bird species. Little quail march underfoot and small turtles rest along the water’s edge.
A few tips about visiting Key West Butterfly Conservatory:
- Admission for adults is $12, but don’t pay full price. There are $2 coupons on brochures, maps and other promotional materials around town or you can use a AAA discount.
- The butterfly conservatory is not big and if you walk through it without lingering, you’ll be out in 20 minutes (and complaining about the admission price.) Take your time. Sit down. Bring your camera and try to capture the beauty. Soak up the atmosphere.
- The Butterfly Conservatory can get crowded, and that detracts from the atmosphere. If you’re in Key West on a busy weekend, go early in the day. When you visit, you get your hand stamped so you can return at any point during the day.
- The gift shop has a wide range of interesting, unusual nature-themed items and, of course, you can visit the gift shop without paying admission.
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
1316 Duval Street
Admission: Adults $12, children 4 to 12 years $8.50, under 4 years free. Look for maps and brochures widely available with $2 off coupons.
More things to do in the Florida Keys
- Print out this mile marker guide to enhance your road trip to the Florida Keys.
- Eight Key West restaurants for authentic local flavor
- Hogfish Grill: Where Key West residents go for fresh fish
- Best beaches in the Florida Keys
- All about those Key West chickens
- Audubon House, a lovely refuge in Key West
- Historic Key West Cemetery is full of stories
- Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park: Hidden gem in Key West
- Florida Keys wildlife: Places to see animals
- Florida Rambler guide to the Lower Keys
- Feed the tarpon at Robbie’s Marina
- Tiki bars: Soak up the Keys atmosphere
- Biking or walking the Old Seven Mile Bridge
- Visit historic Pigeon Key in Marathon
- Kayak or canoe to historic Indian Key
- No Name Pub worth finding on Big Pine Key
Camping and lodging
Updated December 2016