Oh my God. If ever a place was built to make my daughter happy, it's the Butterfly Conservatory in Key West. Butterflies are Sara's new passion, and the conservatory has an incredible indoor butterfly garden and oasis, just brimming with all sorts of exotic beauty. Talk about a peaceful place to spend some time.
I personally am not that "into" butterflies, but I found it both uplifting and calming...and the nice cool climate inside the sanctuary was nice, too. We had a chance to speak with some of the butterfly "handlers", too. Very interesting to learn of all the different steps in setting up such an undertaking.
As a sideline, the owners of the conservatory make some incredibly beautiful art and plexiglass displays of various butterflies. Mind you, no cruelty is happening here...the butterflies have a life span of about 2 weeks, and every day, they go through several times to pick up the beauties who's time's run out. The ones with bodies in good shape are given to the butterfly artist/taxidermist and voila...magical creations. I know it doesn't particularly sound great to talk about butterfly art, but trust me, you'd be amazed at the talent of the artist and the grace and beauty of his subjects.
Oh, one other thing...in addition to butterflies, the conservatory's garden also has a nice collection of beautiful and color birds to blend in with their butterfly color. They all seem to get on nicely, I didn't see any of the "employees" eating one another.
Like everything in Key West, it costs $10 per adult...but we did find some coupons that saved us a few dollars. And, once you've bought a ticket, you're welcome to revisit as often as you'd wish for that day. It comes in handy when you're maybe a little hot and tired. Go back into the cool conservatory and sit on the benches for a bit. (See photo of me and Sara below) The conservatory is open daily from 9:00 am until 5:30 pm.
I hesitated to come here - we have been to other butterfly places in Costa Rica and Belize, so I thought this would be more of the same, but it turned out to be the best one of the bunch. In the first room there are exhibits with live caterpillars munching away, and also a 15 minute video tape about the life cycle of butterflies.
Then you go into a very warm and humid glass conservatory with a multitude of flowering plants, and also some birds - no hummingbirds like they had in Costa Rica - that was a much bigger place. But they had some yellow and orange finch type birds (not insect eaters), and some little quail, a turtle, and big fancy finned koi in a pond. Plus of course all the kinds and colors of butterflies that you could imagine.
Right away, a butterfly came and sat on Bob's shirt (which was red), and one lighted on his head later. They have a mirrored room on the exit so you can check to see if there are any hitchhiking butterflies. I got almost 20 good close-up digital photos of the butterflies
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
Children 4-12 years $7.50
Under 4 years Free
Seniors and Military $8.50
"Take a stroll through tropical gardens filled with hundreds of butterflies." That is what the brochure says. So of course you think to yourself "whatever, hundreds must just be an advertising word, there may be a few"......but NO I am telling you there are THOUSANDS in there!!! You walk through that door and bam! you are hit with the awe of the place. Butterflys are everywhere, little birds are singing and hopping around (watch your step), glowing fish and turtles in the ponds, wonderful tropical plants; it truely is amazing and a must see.
Operating Hours are from 9am to 5:30 pm.
**discount coupons available in many brochures**
We enjoyed going to the Butterfly Conservatory as a diversion from all of the eating/drinking/sun burning. The staff was friendly and the flitterbyes did not disappoint. My favorite were the ones that look like moths until the spread their wings, and you see the electric blue color.
Unfortunately, I am not a quick shot photographer and they hardly open their wings when landed. Do not expect this to be a place to cool off though, they keep it quite warm for their tropical friends.
Some of the displays in the gift shop were really amazing as well!
Overall, I would recommend this to anyone that has never been to a butterfly house before. It is a nice way to kill a little time before lunch!
Before we cruised to Key West, I had done a lot of research about what to see. I fell in love online with the Key West Butterfly Conservatory. It was our first stop in Key West (CityView Trolley dropped us right at the front door). First, the gift shop is amazing! You could spend an hour just putzing around in there. Once you finally cut yourself loose from that, you pay and enter the Conservatory. We had a coupon from the Trolley but the OPR (old person rate) was cheaper - $9 if I remember correctly. There's an education area and then you step into the rainforest - or that's what it feels like. It's very warm, very humid and very, very beautiful. It is astonishing to see all of the birds and butterflies at ease in their home. They just go about their business and leave you sighing in delight as they flit by you. There are feeding stations throughout to tempt them to land (and to, well, feed them) and a myriad of tropical flowers to tempt them, too. We spent a lot of time - lost track of how much - just trying to get a really good picture of the irridescent blue ones!! They are really fast and when they stop, they fold up their wings and the wings are brown on the outside -- disappointing but oh, so much safer for them, I'm sure!
This place did not at all disappoint. All the hype was right-on for me. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but if you are a tree-hugging nature lover like me - you'll get a kick out of it!
One negative to me. I'd been pining for the 'butterfly in a crystal ball' Christmas ornament and had even posted pictures on Cruise Critic for others to see and get excited about. Guess what? They only carry them at Christmas...I was denied the $45 Christmas ornament (probably just as well). And, yes, I can order online - but it's not the same thing. Haven't shop owners in cruise ports figured out that Chritmas ornaments are a big deal as souvenirs? Small, inexpensive (mostly), easy to transport, lightweight...just saying.
butterflies everywhere - on your clothes and in your hair; impressive collection of flowering plants, cascading waterfalls and trees with little birds perching;i50 to 60 different species from around the world; climate controlled, glass enclosed habitat
If you love small animals and butterflys you will come into close contact with them at the conservatory. When you enter the conservatory you must do so very carefully because the butterflys might fly out. You have to walk slow and be careful where you step because there are quails walking around and butterflys everywhere in a beautiful garden setting. A perfect place to take pictures. Unfotunately we saw that someone had stepped on one of the poor butterflys (I hope he is ok). I was waiting for one of them to land on me but none did but there were so many beautiful colors.
Have you ever walked among 1200 flying flowers? With many birds singing? With a wonderful spiritual feeling of peace and serenity? Try visiting the Key West Butterfly & Nature conservatory!! 13 16 Duval Street, away from the t-shirt shops and into a wonderful flying world!!
Key West was a port on a recent cruise, and that night at dinner, I heard several people talking about the butterfly sanctuary, and how much fun it was. I knew I was coming back to Key West in the Spring, so I decided I would check it out.
SO glad I did! It was great! The waiting area to get in was quite crowded, but once inside the conservatory, you had ample room to walk around and take pictures. It was so cool, seeing the butterflies flying freely. My husband had one land on him and I was able to get a photo - to my knowledge, none landed on me... :-(
The conservatory is beautiful, filled with tropical plants, feeding stations, a little stream with a bridge over it. You can spend as much time as you like in the area, and when you leave there is a small room with floor-to-ceiling mirrors so you can check your clothing for "stowaways". :-)
The tourist booklets offer $1 off admission ($12/adults). They have a really nice gift shop too, and the prices were reasonable. I really enjoyed visiting here and would recommend it.
This conservatory is nice and a great place to take kids in Key West. We spent over an hour in there because we were trying to get a butterfly to land on us and take a pic of it. Never happened. They do land on you, but not when you are expecting it. There are so many butterflies and the area is calming. The price is somewhat reasonable. There is a gift shop and parking available behind the building, but it is sparse.
Adults - $12
Child (4-12) - $8.50
Under 4 - Free
Seniors and military - $9
Conservatory Hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily. Last ticket sold 30 minutes before closing.
A really neat place. A greenhouse - like room with hundreds and hundreds of exotic butterflys from all over the world. A photographer's dream and also very relaxing if it's not too hot.